Move over Big Bang Theory, there's a new kid in town

I shall simply have to plead ignorance on this one, but I was surprised nevertheless that I hadn't seen a competing explanation of the universe quite like this before. "How can it be that I've not heard a peep about something so ostensibly groundbreaking?" I wondered. Well, I haven't yet busied myself with reading any sort of refutation of this theory, and it's even harder yet to find follow up on the massive potential of such a description of the universe as this. As it stands, however, I can't help but predict that it was unable catch a lot of traction with cosmologists, but I'm wondering if anyone out there is/was familiar with this and can provide further information?

As an aside, what do we think about this idea, metaphorical plot holes and all? Clearly it doesn't address some of the protracted and lingering complexities that the BBT does, and yet it explains other core issues that the BBT does not. My interest has been piqued, but as much as I'd love to see big bang cosmology fall to the superfluous wayside - thus silencing men like William Lane Craig momentarily - I don't think I'll get too excited just yet.

Tags: Bang, Big, Cosmology, Theory

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So Penrose's theorem is not predicting a singularity when a star collapses into a black hole,

Strictly speaking that is exactly what the theorem does say and that is why the theorems are called the Penrose-Hawking Singularity Theorems, but they are speaking of the purely mathematical results from general relativity. Hawking in his joint lectures with Penrose puts the point this way:

The prediction of singularities means that classical general relativity is not a complete theory. Because the singular points have to be cut out of the spacetime manifold one cannot define the field equations there and can not predict what will come out of a singularity. With the singularity in the past the only way to deal with this problem seems to be to appeal to quantum gravity. I shall return to this in my third lecture. But the singularities that are predicted in the future seem to have a property that Penrose has called, Cosmic Censorship. That is they conveniently occur in places like black holes that are hidden from external observers. So any break down of predictability that may occur at these singularities won’t affect what happens in the outside world, at least not according to classical theory.


But it is all still changing and being redone.

Strictly speaking that is exactly what the theorem does say and that is why the theorems are called the Penrose-Hawking Singularity Theorems, but they are speaking of the purely mathematical results from general relativity.

What I was saying is that when you include quantum mechanics (as a complete physics theory has to) the singularity theorem isn't predicting a singularity - but rather that the curvature tensor has to be large enough so one is in the quantum gravity regime, at some spacetime point. 

So when you include quantum effects, the singularity is replaced by an area of spacetime where quantum gravity effects are important. 

So when you include quantum effects, the singularity is replaced by an area of spacetime where quantum gravity effects are important.

That is quite likely the case for the singularity in the past as the above quote from Hawking shows, but whether it is the case for the singularity predicted in the gravitational collapse of stars is a different question entirely. With the big bang singularity the small initial scale requires quantum gravity, but in the case of stars there is no similar requirement—hence "cosmic censorship." Does that conceal a new and different physics?

With the big bang singularity the small initial scale requires quantum gravity, but in the case of stars there is no similar requirement

Why do you think that?  There would be a region of spacetime where quantum gravity effects are important, in a black hole. 

When a star collapses into a black hole, the curvature of spacetime gets very large at the "singularity". 

In GR this singularity is a point.  But with quantum effects, there is unknown quantum gravity  physics taking place at or near the "singularity".

Sorry, head is fuzzball due to allergies :(

That's what I presume Hawking intends when he writes:

With the singularity in the past the only way to deal with this problem seems to be to
appeal to quantum gravity. I shall return to this in my third lecture. But the singularities
that are predicted in the future seem to have a property that Penrose has called, Cosmic Censorship. That is they conveniently occur in places like black holes that are hidden from external observers.
Penrose does suggest that quantum gravity may be required to explain what goes on in the neightborhood of a singularity inside a black hole, but he seems to stop short of absolute certainty.

Well, if "quantum" effects are whatever happens at very very small length scales and GR is whatever happens in strong gravitational fields, then what happens at the singularity (or very near it) is quantum gravity.  It might be something that doesn't look like either quantum theory as we know it or GR as we know it, but it has to integrate with them. 

True you would never get a signal from the "singularity" in the black hole, but physics can perhaps deduce what is going on. 

And yes there's a possibility that a rotating black hole might be a window to another universe.  A rotating black hole would still have a singularity, but it would be a ring rather than a point.  Very near to the ring the curvature tensor would get very large so there would be quantum gravity effects.
Actually you would eventually get a signal from the singularity inside the black hole when after gigantic eons, the black hole evaporates. 

There are lots of proposals around for new theories such as loop quantum gravity and in some very recent applications to black holes there is no singularity inside. It will be interesting to see how it all falls out.

So often, early explanations of the natural world arise from anthropocentrism.

Euclid, for instance, built his geometry on a flat, unbounded plane, an abstraction of what he saw.

About 2K years later, his followers wanted to hurl Riemann and Lobachevsky from the profession.

Their offense? They built geometries on surfaces on which parallel lines are not everywhere equidistant.

In the June 2013 Scientific American, an article on Quantum Bayesianism opens with:

In the quantum realm, particles seem to be in two places at once, information appears to travel faster than the speed of light, and cats can be dead and alive at the same time.

Here is perhaps the shortest of all possible summaries: collapsed wave functions and Schrodinger's living and dead cat are figments of physicists' imaginations.

Readers here know my opinion of the BBT; it too is a figment.

About 2K years later, his followers wanted to hurl Riemann and Lobachevsky from the profession.

Their offense? They built geometries on surfaces on which parallel lines are not everywhere equidistant.

The full story is actually more interesting.The objections to non-euclidean geometry came from philosophers, not from mathematicians. Euclid's fifth postulate—the parallel postulate— had been viewed with suspicion for hundreds of years by mathematicians—not that they considered it false, but rather it was suspected of not being independent of the other postulates. Many vain attempts were made to derive it from the other four postulates.

Eventually in the nineteenth century it was realized that there are three possibilities:

1) given a line and a point not on the line there is one and only one line through the point which does not intersect the given line (euclidean geometry);

2) given a line and a point not on the line there is no line through the point which does not intersect the given line (elliptic geometry);

3) given a line and a point not on the line there are infinitely many lines through the point which do not intersect the given line (hyperbolic geometry).

The reason philosophers found non-euclidean geometries objectionable was Kant's thesis that euclidean notions of space and time are innate ideas in the human mind and therefore the most secure form of knowledge. The validity of alternate geometries challenged this fundamental premise and diminished euclidean geometry as the ideal of intellectual achievement. Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov famously equated the discovery of non-euclidean geometry with evil.

Neither Lobachevsky nor Riemann suffered at the hands of fellow mathematicians. Lobachevsky did lose his university position as a result of political issues. The work of Bolyai, Lobachevsky, and Riemann on non-euclidean geometries was published in their lifetimes and they were well respected by colleagues. The controversy was entirely philosophical.

Dr. Clark, thanx for adding to my few words.

I dimly remember reading the story in Eric Bell's 1950-ish multi-volume history of math, titled as I recall, Mathematics, the Queen and Servant of Science.

BTW, I think elliptic geometry is valid on oblate spheroids too.

Kant's thesis that euclidean notions ... are innate ideas in the human mind.

Anthropocentrism, anthropocentrism. All is anthropocentrism.

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