Noting that some have been making great claims for Einstein’s theory of general relativity (greater, perhaps, than the ones he himself would have made), like “The reward for harnessing Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity is nothing less than the key to understanding the universe, the origin of time, and the evolution of all the stars and galaxies in the cosmos”:
General relativity (GR) is no more the key to the origin of time than Newtonian Mechanics or Thermodynamics. It reminds me of a paper by historian of science Stephen Brush, who taught at UMd when I was in grad school. Brush noted that the “Bose-Einstein” condensation was Bose’s work, Einstein merely translated it into German for the Zietschrift fur Physik when the Royal Society rejected the paper. So why does Einstein get the credit? Brush called it “The Matthew Effect”, citing Matt 25:29, and it now has its own Wikipedia page. In Jesus’ parable, the rich ruler comes back from his journey and takes away the 1 talent and gives it to the man with 5 talents. “To those who have, will more be given”.
This is true in my area of space physics, where the name “Alfven” is attributed to things Hannes Alfven knew nothing about–and in his own lifetime, asked why they were named for him. I think the theorist who is promoting it, hopes that a famous name will lend credence to his ideas, even if they aren’t named for him.
And that is certainly true of cosmology. Very little of the era of “precision” cosmology is actually precise. What it amounts to, is the fitting of arbitrary polynomials to the data more and more precisely. The polynomials, on the other hand, are pulled out of a hat and attributed to Einstein when in fact, he would likely have disowned these metaphysically messy objects. It is time for “critical probing” indeed.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology) for obstacles to any such probing.
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