Hossenfelder: “[O]nce you insist that the ratio was actually one, you have to come up with a mechanism for how it ended up not being one. And then you can publish papers with all kinds of complicated solutions to the problem which you just created. ” Isn’t she overlooking something?
Hossenfelder: Inside a neutron and proton there aren’t just three quarks. There’s really a soup of particles that holds the quarks together, and some of the particles in the soup are anti-particles. Why don’t those anti-particles annihilate? They do. They are created and annihilate all the time. We therefore call them “virtual particles.” But they still make a substantial contribution to the gravitational mass of neutrons and protons.
Sabine Hossenfelder admits that “The problem has kept her up at night for decades, she says, and it appears we are no closer to an answer”
The difficulties inherent in the idea of terraforming Mars are a good argument for the Privileged Planet Hypothesis regarding Earth. Earth is indeed special.
Sheldon: Even though I agree with Sabine about the fine tuning argument, I disagree strongly with her about the significance of the design we see in the world. “It just is” is not an explanation.
Hossenfelder: “And some crazy ideas in the end turn out to be correct.” Yes, and it could be worse than that. Given the complexity of life, there should be no surprise if dimwits played by fanatics and grifters – Establishment or otherwise – are fronting poorly supported ideas and trying to stamp out more correct ideas as “pseudoscience” because the poorly supported ideas are convenient, comforting, and profitable. Anyone who doubts that factor either hasn’t been around long or has not been paying attention.
Siegel: “It is time to take seriously the idea that dark energy might simply be a property inherent to the very fabric of space. Until we learn how to calculate the zero-point energy of empty space itself, or gain some bizarre, surprising, and unanticipated evidence, this will remain one of the biggest existential questions in all the universe.” So this is existentialism for physicists, right? Even Sabine Hossenfelder sounds sort of existential on this one.
Hossenfelder: There are two warnings I have to add when it comes to the “Big Bang”. First, I don’t know anybody who actually believes that this singularity is physically real. It probably just means that Einstein’s equations break down and must be replaced by something else.
Hossenfelder has stumbled on a telling fact about science journalism. Often, the genuinely puzzling problem is ignored in favour of some a big whoop de do about an incidental find that doesn’t amount to much and may prove an artifact of data collection.
Sheldon: “… dark matter and dark energy (aka Λ) have become science fantasy with no shortage of storytellers. It’s time to tell everybody the party’s over.”
Hossenfelder: “… the evidence is mounting that the cosmological principle is a bad assumption to develop a model for the entire universe and it probably has to go. It increasingly looks like we live in a region in the universe that happens to have a significantly lower density than the average in the visible universe.”
These specialty controversies are an interesting backdrop to the current war on math. Sabine Hossenfelder and Rob Sheldon would likely agree that 2 + 2 = 4. But survey the vast degreed hordes for whom such a statement is an instance of white supremacy and colonialism and we will see the real problem facing our civilization: Far too many people have degrees (and grievances!) but no insight into what knowledge is.
Part of a physics seminar series called “Golden Webinars.”
It’s not just theists who have problems with the multiverse. Sabine Hossenfelder explains her reservations.
Hossenfelder: The physicists who believe in this argue that unobservable universes are real because they are in their math. But just because you have math for something doesn’t mean it’s real. You can just assume it’s real, but this is unnecessary to describe what we observe and therefore unscientific.