Ethan Siegel has a genius for encapsulating what is wrong in science today.
But doesn’t seem to have a ticket. So a mechanism that caused the Universe to come into existence with these properties already in place? But then what caused that mechanism? If a mechanism caused that mechanism, what in turn caused the previous mechanism? Siegel obviously wants to get past the idea of an actual beginning but orthodox science does not seem to allow that. Some religious propositions might suffice, of course, but he does not want to go there. Advice from readers?
Siegel doesn’t really explain why we can be sure that space, time, and the laws of physics preexisted the Big Bang; the idea that they pre-existed has the effect of untethering them from the tiresome demand for evidence. But might that be part of the charm of the idea?
Siegel makes an interesting comparison with, say, Sabine Hossenfelder. He does great graphics but to say that he is not a deep thinker is to shower him with imprudent praise. By contrast, we go on listening to Hossenfelder with great interest, whether the graphics are good or not.
Not only is Ethan’s profession about to get a major readjustment, but his attitude needs a readjustment as well. No longer can he and his colleagues hide in their ivory tower telling the world that we must leave the hard thinking to them. As many have already commented, the woke mobs are already at the gates.
Ethan Siegel: Why does empty space have the properties that it does? Why is the zero-point energy of the fabric of the Universe a positive, non-zero value? And why does dark energy have the behavior we observe it to have, rather than any other?
Siegel: In order for inflation to end, that energy has to get converted into matter and radiation. The evidence strongly points to that happening some 13.8 billion years ago.
Ethan Siegel: Even the most successful scientific theories imaginable will, by their very nature, have a limited range of validity. But we can theorize whatever we like, and when a new theory meets the following three criteria…
But don’t fret that a better understanding of the universe will leave entertaining crackpots out in the cold. Won’t happen. Can’t. Ethan Siegel explains why, in part.
It’s quite clear that Siegel’s objection to the idea of a beginning to the universe is philosophical. Most of the nonsense one hears, generally, can be traced to unwillingness to admit that.
Absent the Principle, says astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, “most horrifically, carbon-based organic compounds — the building blocks of all life as we know it — would be an impossibility for us.”
But wait! There might be an infinity of multiverses in which you are not unique. This is the only one in which your head has not exploded.
An astrophysicist dismisses the concerns as “ideologically-driven diatribes.”
So here’s where it stands: They’re compelled to stumble and make up nonsense and the rest of us are compelled to support them, cheer them on, and accept the dismal outcome, forever if need be.
He goes through the usual potted history of life on Earth, omitting (they always do) to notice that the human mind is a quite different sort of development than, say, sexual reproduction or flight. It’s the mind that prompts us to even ask questions about ET, yet no one has any idea what consciousness even is.