Posts Tagged ‘Cosmic Inflation’

Can Space Be Faster Than Light?

October 30, 2015

Is space faster than light? The question may sound weird, like comparing apples and red herrings. Yet, it is being asked by serious cosmologists.

Here is Sean Carrol, a famous professional cosmologist from Caltech in his essay: “The Universe Never Expands Faster Than the Speed of Light”: That is intriguing, because it was alleged, long ago that so-called Cosmic Inflation, precisely, allowed the Universe to “expand faster than light”. Carrol:

…”here to get a little nitpick off my chest: the claim that during inflation, the universe “expanded faster than the speed of light.” It’s extraordinarily common, if utterly and hopelessly incorrect. (I just noticed it in this otherwise generally excellent post by Fraser Cain.) A Google search for “inflation superluminal expansion” reveals over 100,000 hits, although happily a few of the first ones are brave attempts to squelch the misconception. I can recommend this nice article by Tamara Davis and Charlie Lineweaver, which tries to address this and several other cosmological misconceptions.”

Notice How Big Bang Expansion Accelerates, Slows Down, Then Re-Accelerate. Twist & Turn?

Notice How Big Bang Expansion Accelerates, Slows Down, Then Re-Accelerate. Twist & Turn?

Well. The varying speed of light model was proposed by Jean-Pierre Petit in 1988 (and copied by John Moffat in 1992, Albrecht and João Magueijo in 1999). Instead of superluminal expansion of space, the speed of light was proposed to be 60 orders of magnitude faster than its current value solving the horizon and homogeneity problems in the early universe…

Even for those who are not interested by cosmological physics and relativity, this is fascinating, because it means that most cosmologists had no idea of what they are talking about, or what other cosmologists are talking about…. Over the last few decades, that their collective cosmological wisdom got sold in tenths of millions of books on the subject.

This means that the making of “science” is considerably less obvious and appealing than the making of sausage. It also means that we have no idea what space, time, and even light, mean.

The reason many of these physicists do not understand, what they are talking about, is that they did not use the more advanced mathematics I will introduce later in an essay.

In “Expanding Confusion: common misconceptions of cosmological horizons and the superluminal expansion of the Universe”, Tamara and Charlie claim that:

“We use standard general relativity to illustrate and clarify several common misconceptions about the expansion of the Universe. To show the abundance of these misconceptions we cite numerous misleading, or easily misinterpreted, statements in the literature. In the context of the new standard Lambda-CDM cosmology we point out confusions regarding the particle horizon, the event horizon, the “observable universe” and the Hubble sphere (distance at which recession velocity = c). We show that we can observe galaxies that have, and always have had, recession velocities greater than the speed of light. We explain why this does not violate special relativity and we link these concepts to observational tests. Attempts to restrict recession velocities to less than the speed of light require a special relativistic interpretation of cosmological redshifts. We analyze apparent magnitudes of supernovae and observationally rule out the special relativistic Doppler interpretation of cosmological redshifts at a confidence level of 23 sigma.”

Before I expose my more advanced mathematics, let me point out this: the Big Bang created this problem, Cosmological Inflation. Cosmological Inflation, if admitted is a huge problem: why did it start? Why did it stop? (Guth himself views the lack of even a glimpse of an explanation here as a problem.) Why is it all over the place? (Physicists such as Linde, an ex-Russian at Stanford, believe in “chaotic inflation”, with inflation all over the place: completely silly? Well maybe not: I have a re-interpretation with Quantum Entanglement!)

A solution to solve the Cosmic Inflation problem is to decapitate the Big Bang. That’s what I do with my proposal of Eternal Dark Energy, the “100 billion years old universe”.

On the face of it, it’s obvious: why to imagine one which makes no sense, when we already have one, for sure, which makes no sense either?

Some things are obvious. Some car makers claimed that their “hybrid” cars went one hundred kilometers on 1.2 liters. A French magazine went out, and measured. It was found hybrid car fuel usage was three times higher than officially announced.

Surprising? No.

Obvious.

Why would a hybrid car going in a straight line at uniform speed use less fuel? Witchcraft? In uniform motion, only the gasoline engine works. The electric engine(s) get dragged along. In truth, the hybrid machinery is heavy and, if anything, the car should use more fuel, no less. As found.

Simple: basic logic is a killer, if no obvious evidence to the contrary.

Patrice Ayme’  

Plutocracy’s Tentacles All Over Physics

October 19, 2014

There is a lot of politics in theoretical physics. Why? Because physics makes people dream, and tells them how to think. Thus, if one wants to make people in advanced countries dream and think wrong, one has to start with physics. Also there is an increasing gap between what technology allows and what legislation forbids, as tech goes ever faster. The crooks work the gap hard. See the Bitcoin story (and the hate mail that goes with it).

That’s how the drug trade was made possible: ultimately all the money has to be laundered. And only the banks can do this. But there were no laws sending bankers to slammers for that, plus lax enforcement. So, in the end a criminal activity, drugs, was rendered possible by another branch of government, banking (dim wits say banks are not part of government).

What lessons can be learned from the presentation of the gravitational-waves story? Ponders Nature (October 14, 2014).

Well, much: the much publicized discovery of Cosmic Inflation was scientific fraud, and it has bit the dust. Yet, it keeps on going. It’s even more than scientific fraud, it’s tax payer fraud: most advanced science, including the prizes (such as Milner prize, see below) is financed by the public (directly or not; so are the plutocratic universities).

Says Nature: “The (welcome) rise of the science blogger has fuelled this navel-gazing. Some bloggers seem to spend most of their time criticizing other science writers, or at least debunking examples of what they regard as inferior science writing. But they do lots of good stuff too. Although traditionalists lament the decline of science coverage in the mainstream press, a terrific amount of analysis and comment, much of it very technical, is happening online under their noses.”

Make no mistakes: it’s not because there are no equations, that it is not technical. An equation, after all, is just a sentence saying that two things that look different are actually the same.

I am notoriously against the Cosmic Inflation Theory (that the universe blew up at 10^10 the speed of light, or so; that is ten billion times faster than c, or more). My reasons are solidly scientifico-philosophical, and have been detailed in many essays previously.

As the evidence for Cosmic Inflation bit the dust, as I had expected, my comments were censored on Quanta Magazine. Silly comments were allowed, so it’s not like the standards are too high.

So I enquired about this bias. I found a possible source quickly. Quanta is financed by the Simons Foundation. (Of course Quanta says they are independent; just like the hand which feeds the pigeon is independent of the pigeon, I guess.)

Jim Simons is a multibillionaire mathematician who built a more than 100 BILLION (yes, with a B, as in billion) dollars business in high frequency trading. Basically Simons has the fastest computers, and employs the brightest mathematicians and physicists. When one has faster computers, and programs, one can make sure money.

This what the best and brightest do these days. Stealing from others, and the faster, the better. A case of degenerating civilization.

It is difficult to explain what the high frequency trading crooks do: their job is exploiting all the loopholes between technique and ethics. They can leverage tremendously some derivative trades (say in the futures market). They can also simultaneously take direct positions extremely fast. The combination is sure profits, by leading the markets where they want them to go, beyond the sight of legislators (who are very happy to be fed caviar by high frequency traders).

In other words, high frequency trading and related derivative activities make the world’s most lucrative organized crime. Except it’s not officially a crime.

The whole thing ought to be unlawful. Just as slavery is unlawful, and for the same reason (because it puts too much power in the hands of too few, making them increasingly vicious, until people really own people as if they were bananas).

Only now, in 2014, American legislators are starting to smell the roses (Simons is a major donor to the Democratic Party). (See note.)

Similarly, the “Double Irish” so many enormous plutocratic corporations use to avoid taxation all together is not an official crime, just a real one.

Simons also worked with his adviser Chern who also created ST Yau. (Together they worked on the Chern-Simons Class; BTW, I also knew Chern.)

It will be interesting to see if I keep on being systematically censored there. The age of computers is also that of unethical behavior rendered particularly easy to implement (see how Mr. Simons made his fortune, although he probably envision himself as a saint, because he gave money to some scientists, tax deductible, of course).

So who is this Natalie W who censored me?

Could she be a chick paid by plutocrats in more ways than one? (As one way is clearly established, through Jim Simons, much respected in scientific circles, because he has trop beaucoup bucks; if you want to be hated and despised in scientific circle, criticize Jim Simons).

Could there be a conspiracy? I quickly found this:

People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say

By Natalie Wolchover, Life’s Little Mysteries Staff Writer, February 28, 2012.

Natalie says: “The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.

The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.

As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, “very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries.”

The most incompetent among us serve as canaries in the coal mine signifying a larger quandary in the concept of democracy; truly ignorant people may be the worst judges of candidates and ideas, Dunning said, but we all suffer from a degree of blindness from our own personal lack of expertise.”

Otherwise said, only plutocrats know who the experts are.

This argument was already used by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Aristotle thought his friends, lovers and executors, Antipater and Craterus were the best and brightest, they established literal plutocracy in Athens.

Natalie writes nice articles. She knows who is smart. Certainly not those who esteem democracy. Conspirare is breathing together, no need for a plot: conspiracy is better, because impossible to prove (she sat with some of my comments for weeks before rejecting them, no doubt consulting with higher-ups).

A few years back, a Silicon Valley multibillionaire of Russian oligarchic origin, Yuri Milner, funded a three million dollar prize for crazy pseudo-physics, the “Fundamental Physics Prize”. Pseudo-physics has become most of what the public knows as physics. (The Nobel committee revolted against this by giving the prize to a very practical and real invention, blue LEDs.)

“Physics” means “Nature”, and Milner has his own notion of nature. The more un-natural, the better (as one would expect from someone who made his fortune under Yeltsin, after a stint at the World Bank; Milner, like Simons, but not as much, is also a scientist, physics).

Most of the recipients of the Milner prize did not discover anything, they are just experts at self-advertising, and the “discoveries” they made (Cosmic Inflation, The Multiverse, String Theory, all sorts of weird and obscure mathematical, or pseudo-mathematical techniques) actually, well, did not happen indeed. At least not in natural nature.

When Einstein (helped to) elaborate a slightly more sophisticated theory of gravitation than the one co-discovered by Newton, at least he started from a fact of nature: the advance of the perihelion of Mercury, which the “Newtonian” theory could not explain at all (the advance comes from the fact time runs slow next to the Sun).

Most of Milner’s prize “discoveries” are not yet discoveries, and probably never will be.

I am certain though that fabulous prizes were attributed in the Roman Empire for the epicycles theory.

Why am I so sure? The richest intellectuals ever, lived in the Second Century of the fascist plutocracy known as the Roman empire. They were, at best, all mediocre thinkers. Plutocracy can survive only if mediocre thinking triumphs, because plutocracy is mediocre thinking personified.

During plutocracy, a degree of magical and superstitious thinking is entertained. Much modern physics, such as String Theory, Cosmic Inflation, is complete superstition: it stands totally above the world, there is no proof for it whatsoever, it stretches reason beyond words, and it’s not even the first thing to think of in fundamental physics.

Thus it is perfect, because pseudo-physics is a killing field for reason. And that’s why plutocrats love it.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Note on American legislators discovering fraud from Simons and the like: Both Milner (Russia) and Simons are politically connected (& Simons worked for NSA). On July 22, 2014, Simons was condemned by the U.S. Senate for the use of complex barrier options to disguise short term trading (subject to higher ordinary income tax rates) as long-term capital gains. “Renaissance Technologies was able to avoid paying more than $6 billion in taxes by disguising its day-to-day stock trades as long term investments,” said Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), the committee’s ranking Republican, in his opening statement. “Two banks and a handful of hedge funds developed a complex financial structure to engage in highly profitable trades while claiming an unjustified lower tax rate and avoiding limits on trading with borrowed money,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) in his prepared remarks. Nice wake-up, guys! Were you playing sleeping beauty before?

Is Simons going to jail for stealing 6 billion dollars? Don’t hold your breath. Just expect my scientific comments to Quanta to keep on being censored.

Versing Into Multiverse

June 2, 2014

Louis XIV was a famous mass butcher of people he insulted as “heretics“, a great destroyer of Europe, let alone France. A direct descendant of Louis XIV, the “king” of Spain, has just abdicated, so that his son can also become plutocrat-in-chief (Rey, Roy, King, Koenig).

People love to follow. The Spanish herd, in a further act of humiliation, is supposed to bleat its approval. When the dying king of Spain named the grandson of Louis XIV king of Spain, the fanatical Guillaume of Orange from the Netherlands, who had just conquered England, according to his plan of attack of Louis XIV, had a pretext to organize a world coalition against France-Spain.

The resulting folly, the “War of the Spanish Succession” killed millions over 13 years.

Minds Are Multiverses. Yet, That's It.

Minds Are Multiverses. Yet, That’s It.

[Versing into multiverses that are too far away, implies versing into folly.]

The mania of crowds is a great thing to watch. In the Middle Ages, those viewed as the wisest and most knowledgeable pondered the number of angels on a pin. Their modern alter egos, are much more advanced; instead of wondering about how many angels, they answer: an infinity of universes. What could go wrong?

Alexi Helligar, a participant on this site kindly provided is with a video of a celebrity physicist from Harvard, talking at Oxford. Thank.

The video disappeared for a while! Here it is:

It looks like physics, just as climate science financed by the Koch brothers looks like science. Alexi told me I was “naive” to believe that there was any conspiracy involved. Yet that was after telling me that the celebrity physicist was a genius of our time. He is, thanks to a conspiracy. For short, we call him “the Celebrity”.

The Celebrity is financed to the tune of several million dollars by one hedge fund plutocrat. That’s while true science is starving in the USA.

But of course the Celebrity, now a fabricated genius, is, by his very existence, a testimony to the glory of the hedge fund “industry”. Expect him to sing its praises. His very behavior breathes the self assurance of a hedge-fund manager. Maybe Wall Street ought to be give him a Nobel, as he did nothing but talk pretty, just as Obama.

You see, physics has several entangled problems.

The Big Bang theory needs “Cosmic Inflation” and inflation of space happening at a speed I call “TAU”, around ten billion times the speed of light.

Why?

Because the Universe is just way too big, to be the result of just the Big bang without Inflation.

However, Inflation theory, as it stands, creates universes all over the place.

Why? Because the Inflation scenario, as envisioned, arises from Quantum fluctuations, and creates a universe without energy expenditure. If it can create one universe that way, it can create zillions.

So how come we see just one universe, the Universe? Inflationistas tells us that we have to be somewhere.

Yes, sure. But then it turns out, in this universe full of universes, that a universe with us is exceedingly rare. Universes with “zombie brains” would be more likely.

It’s all, of course, sheer insanity. And it’s easy to spot: just as inflationistas which kind of particles existed during Inflation. Well, they didn’t even think about it.

Recently, some of those space fantasy authors suggested that one needed an “observer” to have particles, ergo, there were now particles during inflation, only Inflatons (the excitation of the Inflation filed, neither of which have been observed).

Presto, no more zombie brains! That “breakthrough” was applauded in Harvard, MIT and Oxford. At least it makes comic reading.

Arkani-Hamed, to name the Celebrity, has been saying  for a decade, that the Large Hadron Collider compels us to believe that the small value of the Higgs mass (in Planck units) indicates “fine-tuning” that can only have an anthropocentric explanation.

In that case, we live in a multiverse, with physics determined by something like the string theory landscape. About this whole conceptual framework, he says the “ideas are so poorly defined, not clear if they make any kind of mathematical sense”, and it’s “not clear progress will happen anytime soon” but, no need to worry or get discouraged, since this is an “attractive problem”. (David Gross, a physics Nobel called that “giving up”).

Philosophically, to expect that man gives rise to the universe is beyond absurd. Instead of believing that there is a god creating the universe, now it’s man who is god, and creates the universe. That the problem originated with Niels Bohr and company is no excuse.

It’s the angel-on-a-pin absurdity again, made worse, once again. Those people don’t even have the excuse of living in the Middle Ages.

This clash between self-assurance and completely fishy ideas, is giving physics a bad name.

As I have explained in “100 billion years old Universe”, the Big Bang is not needed anymore: Dark Energy can do it all. The entire expansion, that is.

Dark Energy is serious physics, based on facts, not wishful fantasy. It was guessed way back, from carefully going through the experimental and logical evidence (I. Segal, etc.). Similarly for Dark Matter. Today’s physics explain neither. Standard high energy theorists were busy denying either were worthy of interest.

However, today’s new, experimental, evidential physics present potential explanations for other aspects that only the Big Bang was supposed to explain.

In particular, Black Holes in the center of galaxies generate huge amount of localized energy: as matter falls into them, it heats up enormously. I suggested this would prevent serious life to arise in the center of galaxies.

Could that be used to generate elements such as Helium? We don’t know.

But that deserves to be studied. That’s serious physics.

When there is so much to do, “extrapolations on top of extrapolations on top of extrapolations”, as the Celebrity physicist himself recognizes, is certainly a way to invent new physics. But, when it is presented as what physics say the world is, it’s no way to impress the fragile minds of some members of the public, who can’t tell an equation from a degeneration. To forcefully present to the public deranged fantasy as if it were physics, is just encouraged the gullibility of crowds, and the madness of the herd (no wonder hedge funds managers fund that to give critique a new foundation!).

Meanwhile, stand reassured, you who attach worth to sanity: there is just one universe out there. It’s much bigger, much older than Celebrity physicists have it. And it is NOT girl watching that creates it. To believe that human gaze creates all, is just a collective Freudian slip of thousands of physicists who cannot really believe that the Universe makes sense, as their PhD theses surely do not.

Patrice Aymé

Which Parts of the Big Bang Theory are Reliable, and Why?

March 26, 2014

I long held that there was no proof whatsoever that the universe was 13.7 billion year old, as all too many Big Bang theorists have long claimed, all over the Main Stream Media that they have exclusive access to.

Now I am happy to report that a main stream physicist, the very honorable professor Matt Strassler, supports this point of view in an excellent article:

http://profmattstrassler.com/2014/03/26/which-parts-of-the-big-bang-theory-are-reliable/

Professor Strassler’s broad reasoning is exactly the one I long put forward: the equations and the experiments we have break down at very high energies, so we cannot use them to extrapolate logic at such energies (something similar happens with gravitation: we have no proof that this force as usually described holds beyond the Solar System… and some hints that it does not).

To be doubtful about the simplistic Big Bang model holds, even in light of the interpretation of the latest data, which supposedly shows gravitational wave ripples consecutive to cosmic inflation. Yet, as professor Strassler says: “BICEP2 can really only tell us about the late stage and exit from inflation”.

I sent a comment: I guess I will have to get more subtle with my own, much older “Universe: 100-billion years old?”. After this allusion of dubious taste, for someone who is not officially one of the great priests of physics, I proceeded to thank professor Strassler:

“In any case, thank you for this detailed analysis on how certain we are of the various elements of the concept of Big Bang. This is the sort of subtlety that needs to be taught to the public: that there are degrees of certainty in science. And even in physics.

By preaching the Big Bang as if it were a religion, as many scientists have done in popular shows (latest on “Cosmos”, complete with multiverse, presented as part of our “address”!) one did a disservice to science, or even to reason itself… And there could be a backlash, if the public discovers that they were lied to. So the earlier the subtleties are taught, the better.”

Here is professor Strassler’s excellent post, which demonstrates, in fascinating detail, the broad point I made previously, as an iconoclast philosopher:

Of Particular Significance

Familiar throughout our international culture, the “Big Bang” is well-known as the theory that scientists use to describe and explain the history of the universe. But the theory is not a single conceptual unit, and there are parts that are more reliable than others.

It’s important to understand that the theory — a set of equations describing how the universe (more precisely, the observable patch of our universe, which may be a tiny fraction of the universe) changes over time, and leading to sometimes precise predictions for what should, if the theory is right, be observed by humans in the sky — actually consists of different periods, some of which are far more speculative than others.  In the more speculative early periods, we must use equations in which we have limited confidence at best; moreover, data relevant to these periods, from observations of the cosmos and from particle physics experiments…

View original post 3,319 more words

100 BILLION YEAR OLD UNIVERSE?

December 19, 2013

Abstract: Dark Energy is a fact. Dark Energy is not an extrapolation such as the Big Bang, or an extrapolation of extrapolations, such as Cosmic Inflation. Dark Energy enables a completely different cosmology. Taking Dark Energy seriously renders Cosmic Inflation and the Big Bang superfluous… And make the universe much older than usually considered.

The basic reasoning establishing the Big Bang is of primary school level. And yet, from recent observations, it is probably erroneous. I propose that the universe is rather of the order of 100 billion years old, rather than the official 13.8 billion [sic!]. Why do I think the universe is much bigger, and much older than most accredited, professional cosmologists do? Why would celebrity physicists be misinforming the public?

Galaxies To Infinity. 100 Billion Years Old, I Say.

Galaxies To Infinity. 100 Billion Years Old, I Say.

[One photon a minute to get this picture!]

Boldly averaging observations of red shifts in our neighborhood, it has been artistically found that galaxies located 3.2 million light years away recede at 72 kilometers per second (that art was involved is obvious when one gets in the detail… And why Hubble got the numbers wrong by a factor of two initially).

Divide that inter-galactic distance by that speed, and that should tell a primary school student when the universe started. The good news: physicists understand this. The bad news: it’s all too simple, reality seems to disagree.

Let’s do the computation in detail.

(We will use the notation “^” to indicate powers; so 10^2 is (10) (10), 10^4 is 10,000, etc.)

Light covers (3) (10^5) kilometers in one second, and there are around 100,000 = 10^5 seconds in a day. So light covers (3) (10^10) ( 3) (10^2) ~ 10^13 kilometers in a year (=10,000 billion kilometers). Multiply that by (3) (10^6), the distance to that receding galaxy, to get:

(3) 10^19) kilometers (3 times ten billion billion kilometers). Divide by 70 kilometers per second, to find how many seconds it took for galaxies to separate 3.2 million light years: that’s ½ (10^18) seconds. Now there are around (3) (10^5)(10^2) seconds in a year. One gets roughly 14 billion years.

14 billion years ago, or so, the material of that 3.2 million light year away galaxy was next door.

From, there, applying the Principle of Homogeneity (PH: that everything is everywhere roughly the same), one deduces that all those things that became galaxies were next to each other. Notice that this recourse to PH is a philosophical jump: it seems likely, because it is the simplest we can think of, but it’s not a sure thing.

The only way this could have happened is if this expansion all started in the same place… in time (not space!). Presto, you have the result that the history of the universe is that of a Big Bang that started 14 billion years ago. So far, so good.

Notice a second philosophical jump occurred: to get to the conclusion that there was a Big Bang, we assumed that the expansion happened at the same rate, all along. That sounded like the easiest hypothesis, 80 years ago (or when the Big Bang was explicitly formulated, around 60 years ago). But there was NO proof, that the expansion had been at that rate all along, and some observers of things cosmological, or theoreticians, begged to differ (even during the 1960s).

I certainly did not agree with the certainty that the preceding reasoning was a sure thing, because it was not. I do not trust concept that are viewed as sure things, when obviously they are not. I view in them probable examples of herd effects.

However, in the last ten years, it turned out that, to everyone’s amazement, a fact unanticipated by the majority of cosmologists emerged. The rate of expansion was found to be increasing noticeably.

A force expanded the fabric of space ever more. It was called “Dark Energy” (energy, because that’s what one needs to expand space, dark, because the force vector itself could be not be seen; also there already was one problem, called “Dark Matter”, mass distributed all over, dwarfing the visible mass).

I Propose Doing Away With Weird Stuff On Left Side Of the Sketch (Explosion, Cosmic Inflation, etc.)

I Propose Doing Away With Weird Stuff On Left Side Of the Sketch (Explosion, Cosmic Inflation, etc.)

The very existence of “Dark Energy” immediately busted the “universe is 14 billion years old” conclusion. Indeed, one cannot assume the expansion was 71 kilometers per second, all along, when we see that this expansion is now accelerating. It’s changing: get it? C H A N G E… It’s changing now, so it should have been changing in the past.

It’s more logical to suppose the expansion was always there, and accelerated all along, that the expansion accelerated in the past as it does now. So as the expansion of the universe is NOT linear now, it’s only simpler, logically, to suppose that it was NOT linear in the past. Instead, it looks as if, in first approximation,the expansion of the universe was some sort of exponential tapering fading in the past.

(In other words, since its rate is accelerating now, we may as well suppose it accelerated similarly, all along! Instead the extrapolated Big Bang + extrapolated Cosmic Inflation + Observed Dark Energy implies that the rate of acceleration of the Universe varied enormously in the past: first accelerating gigantically, then slowing down, then coming to a standstill, then re-accelerating… Weird!)

On the back of an envelope, considering the present rate of acceleration of the expansion, and extrapolating that acceleration in the past, your generous servant can determine the universe ought to be 100 billion years old, rather than 14 billion years.

Some will whine: and what of the Cosmological Background Radiation? Well I have a Quantum answer to that. There are also other explanations available such as Olbers Paradox, and Tired Light.

The 100 billion year old universe is philosophically, axiomatically, simpler. (It also gives a lot of time to explain enormous large scale structures such as bubbles and walls of galactic clusters, which looked too organized to have evolved in a mere 14 billion years.)

Why is it that physicists are presenting the date of 13.7 billion years for the age of the universe with so much certainty? Because smug, god like certainty, is what sells. To know things that only an oligarchy knows, especially if this esoteric knowledge violates common sense, can only make one famous, thus powerful. Hence well fed, the pelt lustrous and the mien proud.

Some do not require more than this: they are simple apes, greed is their event horizon. Real thinkers are made of nobler stuff. Meanwhile, the universe is out there: let’s look carefully, but emotionally, at the picture above: millions of galaxies, as far as we can see. One cannot avoid the feeling that this universe is much older than simply thrice the age of the Earth.

And now that’s what the simplest logic, clinging to the established facts, embraces.

Patrice Aymé

Deflating BIG BANG’s Inflation.

March 25, 2012

A BIG NOISE DOES NOT BIG SCIENCE MAKE.

Abstract: The Big Bang cosmological model is possibly completely false. It depends alarmingly upon the speed of expansion of the universe, assuming that, for reason and mechanism unknown, it was, at some point, for some convenient duration, trillions of trillions of times the speed of light. Or maybe not.

I give also a few other reasons to throw cold water on the Big Bang.

Geometrically the Big Bang assumes that it is “turtles all the way down”. Yet, Quantum Physics, properly interpreted, gives us reasons to think otherwise. Especially after integrating the latest experimental results on the apparent singularization of Quantum waves (2011). (If that gets confirmed, singularization is the greatest discovery in Quantum Physics since 1924: Louis De Broglie would be right, and Niels Bohr, wrong. I have always believed in singularization.)

It is unfortunate that this activity, Big Bang physics, has been all too much celebrated as the greatest success of the human spirit, and scientific rigor. I will try to show below that it is closer to mythology than to proper science. Although my reasons below are deep and cogent, it is clear that even the masses have some intuitive doubts about scientists who seem all too sure about the grandest scheme of things. Having Hawking telling us about “A Short History of Time“, when nobody knows what time is, is not conducive to respect.

No wonder that, with such a model as the Big Bang brandished all the time as science much to admire, and presumably to emulate, all too many people feel that with science, anything goes. And thus, as often found in the USA, in a further identification, that anything goes is science. So to each its own. And next thing you know, fundamentalists pop up in every backyard.

On the positive side, Big Bang madness gives an opportunity to illustrate the fact that the topology of the space of all theories is not connected (if a single one of a few hypotheses Big Bangists make casually, is false, the Big Bang theory will completely implode into the nothingness it claims the universe arises from!)

[The essay is technical in parts; readers are invited to imitate Big Bang physicists, and jump over any part they don’t understand, to get a feeling for the overall message, which is that Big Bang physics is not science according to the most exacting standards of science… Paradoxically enough for an area with such pretense!]

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A physicist relates in “Turtles all The Way Down?” that he got an interesting email about the Big Bang. Basically the writer said it was obvious mythology, and the physicist insisted it was not so: “The writer said she didn’t see how you could make something out of nothing. She collects creation myths and thought that, no matter how you sliced it, it’s always “turtles all the way down.” This is a reference to creation myths where the world is poised on top of a turtle, which is itself poised on top of something else, but raises the issue: Is there any firm ground?

This is worth addressing because it illustrates the gulf between the understandings in people’s minds about the Big Bang on one hand, and how physicists deal with it on the other. To be clear – we have a wealth of observations that support the Big Bang, but you have to be careful. We can only look back into the universe to a moment 300,000 years after the ‘start,’ as best we can discern it. At this early moment, the universe went from being opaque to transparent… The remnant photons from this time are seen as the so-called cosmic microwave radiation “

The later pontificating affirmation depends upon the common wisdom interpretation of the 3 degree Kelvin Cosmic Microwave Radiation as photons from the Big Bang explosion. Well, that’s mostly an hypothesis. For example, if photons, just as neutrinos (long thought to be massless), turn out to have a non zero rest mass, that hypothesis will be out of the window.

Those cosmic microwave photons are supposed to be cosmically distended, and thus weakened, by the expansion of their wave packets from the cosmic expansion of space, the later itself depending upon the Big Bang model. This is just a supposition, albeit a crucial one. In other words, the Big Bang model is eerily reminiscent of a house of cards of mutually supporting assertions: turtles all the way down in a mutually supporting circle.

I will argue that it looks all too much as a vicious circle to be used as a way to illustrate what science is. Science is about establishing iron clad proofs, not wishful thinking with proofs depending upon what they want to demonstrate (which is all what the interpretation of cosmic photons as big bangers is).

Reconciling models with data sounds reasonable. That is what is done in most of science. However it is not scientific, if the models have nothing to do with reality to start with. If the model is angels on a pinhead, no amount of tweaking of the model, will get it right.

This is related to a much more general problem, that of the distance between systems of thought (which is all what “models” are). If models are too far from each other, they cannot morphed into each other.

When Darwinian style models were unable to explain ultra fast adaptative evolution, epigenetics had to be invented.

The greatest discovery in cosmology since the discovery of the expansion has been the fact that it proceeded at an accelerating pace. That was not predicted by the main stream cosmology.

It was pointed out by De Sitter (1917), Friedman (1924) and Lemaître (1927) that the Einstein gravity equation described an expanding universe (none of these scientists were American).

The work of a number of astronomers, culminating with Hubble, confirmed the expansion later: the visible universe was dynamic. As an homage to American hegemony, Lemaître’s law came to be known as Hubble Law. Never mind that Hubble himself as late as 1936, did not believe in the Big Bang finding weird the “anomaly of a curiously small and dense and… suspiciously young universe”. Besides the injustice, it introduces a flaw in the logical flow of discovery.

When it became obviously confirmed that distant galaxies were receding, and the further, the faster, Einstein proclaimed his “greatest blunder”, that of having introduced a “Cosmological Constant”, precisely to imply a static universe.

The Einstein gravity field equation was built to reflect Riemann’s 1854 idea on the nature of force. That came out of his  Habilitationsschrift entitled Über die Hypothesen welche der Geometrie zu Grunde liegen (“On the hypotheses which underlie geometry“), a remarkable essay that contained just one equation (if that). Riemann observed that acceleration could be described by geodesics behavior, whether they came together, or separated. Thus force could be so described.

Basically, applied to gravity, that meant the gravity equation ought to be: curvature of spacetime = mass-energy of spacetime.

However Quantum Physics was discovered meanwhile. It says that energy travels in packets (Planck 1900-Einstein 1905). Yet, those packets are computed by waves (De Broglie 1923).

In other words, it was not turtles all the way down. At some point, the turtles turn into waves.

Einstein’s gravity equations did not incorporate matter, in a detailed way, that is, Quantum Physics. When some Quantum Field Theory ideas were introduced a bit (Zeldovich, before 1973, “Hawking radiation“, 1974), it turned out that, after all, Black Holes evaporated (contrarily to what Michell (1784) and Laplace (1796), discoverers of the idea of Black Holes would have expected to be ever possible in the slightest way).

But much more needs to be done: except when wave packets have collapsed, matter is all waves. The exact nature of these waves is unknown. Recent Quantum experiments, using “weak measurements” apparently exhibit waves-with-singularities, the picture De Broglie himself had proposed to go further than the Copenhagen Interpretation of de Broglie’s work.

Should something like the Big Bang make sense, the exact mathematical nature of the matter waves, and how to accommodate those singularities would have to become paramount. (As the purported  confirmation of the singularities was published on June 2, 2011 in Science magazine, the depth of these considerations will take some time to reach the society of cosmologists… After all it took more than 40 years to realize that the time-energy uncertainty implied Black Hole evaporation, which should have been immediately obvious!)

Back to our cosmological theory timeline. Time passed. Gamow made fun of the notion of everything coming out of a point, calling it the “Big Bang“. However, the Cosmological Cosmic Background was found at 3 Kelvin, a remnant, it was suggested of said explosion.

That ruled out the Steady State Cosmology, it seemed.

Yet, when regions distant by more than light can travel, they were found to be the same, as if the universe had always been there.

So some physicists postulated that the universe had expanded faster than light by an enormous factor. That was called inflation, caused by a non observedinflaton field“.

Indecipherable reasonings were rolled out to claim that the mass-energy uncertainty inequality could be made to fabricate matter and energy, as needed. Indecipherable: indeed, a point of infinite density does not make sense in Quantum Physics (which basically insists that there are no points). And never mind that the new Big Bang, cosmological inflation looked exactly like Hoyle’s Steady State theory, after all (as Hoyle himself pointed out to a frosty reception in 1994).

The Big Bang reasonings are full of major assumptions whose proofs are justified by the end, namely the Big Bang, truly a beginning (as found in the Bible?).

For example, how do we know that cosmological photons do not, in some sense, simply age, producing thus the 3 Kelvin background? How do we know that, if the universe can expand so incredibly fast at some point, it could not expand incredibly slow, at some other point? Or even shrink for a while, in a recession, before resuming inflation?

For that matter we do not know why, at this point, the universe is expanding ever faster. Or is it just here?

And what is the evidence that a universe can be created out of nothing? Stanford’ s professor Linde, one of the originator of the inflation cosmology, has been writing articles where he creates universes all over, all the time. There is zero evidence for that.

(There was a whole school of Soviet physicists who, for philosophical reasons, were highly critical of “General Relativity”, starting, correctly with its absurd name; they followed Vladimir Fock 1955 book… which I own. Zeldovich and Linde were among them, they basically discovered much of what was attributed later to Western physicists, to emphasize the glory of plutocratically connected universities!)

Big bang specialists will snarl that I did not mentioned that GUTs (Grand Unified Theories)fit the Big Bang like a glove, so my objection that the Quantum is not integrated in the Big Bang is uninformed.

However, we talk of different things, at different scales. The Big Bang ultimately makes assertions, unsupported assertions, I added, about what is called the Trans-Planckian scale, where Quantum Field Theory breaks down. Conventional Big Bang theory uses basically Riemann’s mathematics from 1854 CE that ignores the waves-with-singularities that the universe is probably made of. That’s fine as a classroom project, it’s not fine as an example of what science can do, or, a fortiori, of what science is.

Big Bang cosmology is not science in the usual meaning of the term. It’s not molecular biology, geology, or material science. Nor mathematics. It’s all too much a bunch of assumptions piled up on top of each other, covered up by ironclad naïve certainty, a contagious illness probably contacted from the Standard Model of particle physics.

Real science demonstrates why Sea Lions and Seals, although they look the same, at first sight, are actually very different, since they evolved from very different ancestors. That illustrates well convergent evolution, when the same mathematics in the environment lead to the same solutions.

Real science demonstrates how stars evolve, going through many stages according to their masses and the nature of the various successive thermonuclear reactions in their core.

Real science explains why life is carbon based, thanks to the wealth of complexities carbon chemistry lends itself to.

Real science explains what happens to cause a tsunami (confirming what Greek philosophers suspected it was, 25 centuries ago).

Big Bang cosmology uses all too finely tuned reasonings unsupported by firm logic or experimental certainty, all over its theoretical landscape. Possibly, it’s completely false. It is unfortunate that this possible complete falsehood is depicted by physicists eager for cheap fame or book sales as the ultimate in science. In its present state, it is the best creation mythology we have, or an amusing project, but little more than that.

Inflated science is poetry, or metaphor. It is not science. Real science is truth. Real science is what’s left when everything else has been exposed as lies. In the case of the Big Bang, among other things, all other possibilities besides the common interpretation of Cosmic Microwave Background, have not been examined in detail, and thus

Real science is what allows planes to fly, not a bunch of lies and exaggerations held together by the thin veneer of self glorification. Scientific poetry, such as the Big Bang, is closer to science fiction, or mythology.

John Huth concludes his essay reasonably with: “We [Big bang cosmologists]fully realize that our models will extrapolate to conditions that raise difficult issues, like infinite densities. More often than not, the difficult conditions are something we avoid talking about, because, largely, we cannot really test or measure these. If it is inaccessible, it is inaccessible. The work can be perhaps more likened to the work of explorers. Our job is to map new territories, and, if anything, we can only report on territories we’ve explored. What lies beyond the horizon is a matter of speculation.
Responses? Questions? Contact me on Twitter @John Huth”

One would wish cosmologists would be that reasonable, all the time, for all to read and hear. How well one has explored, that is the question. For the longest time, explorers reported the strangest things and monsters they had absolutely seen (an exasperated Aristotle dispatched students to go out and faithfully report on all the biology they could rigorously observe). To claim one has seen light from a big boom may be true, but it is not scientifically demonstrated. Yet.

(And that photons do not age seems unlikely to me for reasons I have mentioned in older essays of mine. I am happy to report that Feynman, no less, approved of my considerations when I evoked them.)

One interest of science is to teach how the faith we have in models can be reconciled with evidence. That the distance between models can be insurmountable is an important lesson in the history of thought. No amount of tweaking could bring the geocentric theory close to the correct one, the heliocentric theory. One had to shatter the faith, to realize that yes, quite possibly, planets were turning around the sun: that is what Buridan and his students concluded around 1300 CE, after rolling over Aristotle’s erroneous physics, and introducing the concept of inertia. However, of course, they added perfidiously, ‘scripture‘ said the sun turned around the Earth, so we may as well believe that, since we cannot tell at this point, for sure.

If the distance between models with scientific pretense can be insurmountable, so can it be, for the distances between mentalities (and, in particular, civilizations). That is the core justification of the crackdown secularism had to implement upon murderous superstitions. (The obvious example being the outlawing of the Celtic or Carthagenese religions, to put it intemporally, not wanting to allude to anything having to do with the sects of Abraham… At least today.)

It’s not turtles all the way down, or turtles everywhere. Genuinely different thought systems and mentalities exist. And the way to explore that is by excluding all other possibilities, the way real science does, and the way that, precisely cosmology of the origins does, and cannot do.

Some will cynically argue that, to get funding to launch satellites and other big science projects, one needs pretty stories to charm the infantile minds of politicians. But I will not go down that slippery slope.

The main interest of science is to teach to the obscure masses how to learn to distinguish  truth from fiction. Everything else, however useful, is secondary. To pass a charming fiction such as the Big Bang for a certainty is just the sort of masquerade of the scientific method that genuine scientist will want to eschew.

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Patrice Ayme

AUTHORITY FALLACY: From Physics & History.

April 24, 2011

 

FANTASY & CREDULITY HELP AUTHORITY ESTABLISH FASCISM. Examples From Religion & POPULAR PHYSICS:

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Main ideas: Oligarchies control the vast multitudes they subjugate by disintegrating their minds. They use the principle of authority to do so.

The Principle Of Authority Says That The Powers That Be Determine The Truth. There Is No Truth But Authority, And Authority Is Its Prophet. 

Make the wrong drawing, say the wrong word, you die. (Riddle of the day: do you know a great superstition still that way nowadays?) 

Minds fragmented by non sense, conditioned by the authority of appearances, and power, lack ability for the sharp logic, keen observation and self confidence necessary for  subversion and revolution.

To extinguish all and any revolt, oligarchies train the public to accept authority, even when it makes no sense, especially if it makes no sense. The love and expectation of authority is perfectly honed by training to obey it, at its most absurd, just for the heck of it. The best dictatorships rule by aura.  Get on your knees five times a day for starters, and dig your forehead in the dirt. That serves your masters well.

When absurdities are presented as facts by some of the best physicists, absurdity is taught, and that comforts authority, and thus the oligarchy. And it is taugght from up high, so it is extolled as The Way.

The same critique can be made against the philosophy of the absurd: it was comforting for the oligarchies to see a philosopher such as Sartre defending the notion that life made no sense, and ultimately, embracing the absurdity of Maoism. An absurd would-be revolution does not worry authority. Authority rules with change you can believe. So it makes the rest unbelievable.

Christ’s ardent viciousness is also exhibited. But so great was the control by politico-religious authority, that Christ was made the definition of love, while the Bible provided with the roaring fires of hell below, for those harboring some doubts. I put that sort of lack of integrity in the context of control by oligarchies.

Fascism without intellectual fascism would ruin the plutocracy, authority is its savior.

Alpha baboons lead the troop, because they acquired Authority. Authority makes the minds of the many into the one, the mind of the Authority. This is best for the military operations baboons conduct at least twice a day. When they have to drink. However the instinctual awe for, and love of, Authority (“intellectual fascism“) occults the creativity of intelligence.

Military operations ought to be abated nowadays, while the dictators (“commanders in chief”) which go with them, ought to be phased out. Miraculously, the rise of the Internet arrives just in time to eschew Authority, and, maybe, to bring up enough intelligence for primates to survive the increasing power of Means of Mass Destruction. (CO2 poisoning being the number one MMD exhibit, followed by the WMD such as nuclear weapons…)

Authority owns not just the physical property of the world, but its intellectual property, which it has instrumentalized as the ultimate weapon. Authority owns the minds. The most infamous example is how plutocracy made the world pay for plutocracy in the recent 2008 plutocratic crisis. Twice. even George Orwell did not think of that one, because it was too absurd. Unsurprisingly plutocracy has made it into a world religion that the cult of Authority pervades the planet.

Science ought to demonstrate, not just what is, but how intelligence got to know what it knows (that’s the difference between physics and engineering). There is a meta-message attached to the reality science depicts. The same is true for philosophy.

Authority loves to practice hiding absurdities in plain view, and making the children chase hose eggs. Nothing like doing it in physics. If you can do it in physics, you can do it anywhere. You can do it in finance.

Naivety can be taught, as any other mood, or method. So it is no accident that some widely advertized pieces of today’s physics are made of clay. Most of the justification they have is Authority. Therein their meta-message and importance. Truly what they teach is Authority: love it, and understand. Don’t love it, and be condemned as ignorant. I will try to demonstrate all that below.

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Abstract: The dictators had it easy in the past. By controlling a few individuals, heading a few organizations, they controlled the Main Stream Media (MSM).

For decades, the Assad dictatorship in Syria easily controlled all radio, TV, and newspapers. But now the Internet is becoming the MSM, and the smallest phone shoots video, allowing us to see fascism live, and in full.

This system extended in a worldwide plutocracy, where all was entangled, from universities to energy, health, military and finance companies. Bush destroyed Hussein, because he knew too much, and was not a player. Gaddafi re-affirmed his plutocratic credential as a player in the worldwide system, and was re-instated by the same Bush. (Bush, by the way, was not just a servant of plutocracy, such as Clinton, or Reagan, but is a full member of it, as was his father, and the one before that,  a manager of the industrial system that Auschwitz served.)

Smart phones would have stopped Auschwitz in its tracks, as even common Germans would have had to face their personal responsibility. They would have been unable to keep on hiding behind their deliberate, intricately constructed, ignorance buttressed by mental rigidity.

Thus, the Chinese dictatorship makes herculean efforts to control the Internet, employing at least 35,000 to do that. Type “Sarkozy” there, and you find nothing: Sarkozy, viewed from China, is a dangerous revolutionary.

The Chinese dictatorship can’t hide its hiding. In the USA control is achieved by direct plutocratic ownership of mass media, would-be dissidents get bought of, or ignored, or put in the world’s most extensive prison system (fundamentally, that’s not very different with the Chinese system, that’s why they are friends). The nature of information provided to the masses, and the mood with which it is served, is a refined art. Often the mood imposed through the media is more important than the hard data.

However, the rise of the Internet is now allowing knowledge to circulate directly without Authority’s authorization.

The Authority Principle says that authority knows best. There is no Authority but Authority, and Authority is its prophet. 

Authority is its own main message. In authoritative societies, the Authority Principle reigns supreme, and is best embodied by the concept of “god”, a creature defined as the ultimate authority, and that everybody has to respect all day long, to stay in good standing… relative, to, well, the authorities. And don’t insult god: it’s a great religion. If you do insult that great religion, the authorities, or their faithful dogs, will have you burned, lapidated, torn to pieces…

“Authority” comes from the Latin “auctoritas”, from “auctor “master, leader, author. The author becomesthe master. If there is just one author, there is only one master.  therein how intellectual fascism works.

Instead of letting the Authority stay the main message, the Internet makes the message itself the main interlocutor.

This is a fundamental change in the way in which to apprehend information. Instead of depending upon Big Brother for knowledge, and its moods, we are back to the precivilizational stage, when there was no Big Brother. In prehistory, individuals talked directly to individuals, and pointed at facts themselves.

Much of the advancement of civilization consist into succeeding to re-create many traits, and environmental circumstances, that millions of years of prehistory have bequeathed to us.

The Internet allows civilization to recoup in a good way, a precivilizational trait it had lost, when small human groups formed giant cities. That trait is mind to mind communications about things themselves, without going through the censorship and manipulation of Big Brother. Rousseau would have been proud.

Those chains Rousseau spoke of, were, indeed, first, mental. They exploited the fascist instinct, the abject thrill found in surrendering to a leader and joining the masses in frantic adulation, becoming one giant monster that nothing and nobody can resist. Power at last!

 

Fascism is known to the Germans as the Führerprinzip (venerated in Gaddafi, even in 2011!). Hitler, an avid reader of the occult, may have found it in the Qur’an, where it is explicitly stated in one efficient sentence, as  Qur’an S 4, v59,

The madness in these religions (Nazism was a religion, with millions of martyrs!) originated with the hyper violent Jesus Christ,  Jesus did not just invent anti-Judaism.

The mythical originator of Christianity. Christ is the one who started the fashion of burning those who believed differently: see for example the Bible, New Testament. John: 15:6: “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

 

Well, OK, not really. Christ had predecessors. The Celts burned non Celts with gusto, and it is said that do did the Carthaginian plutocracy with the eldest sons (in tough times). The Roman republic outlawed both religions. 310 years after the plutocratic theocracy of the Druids was finally snuffed out by the legions off the welsh coast, the dictators of Rome found Christ’s injunction to burn people most convenient, and it was applied to books first.

Burning miscreants was the ultimate moral authority of Christianity.

During the Crusades, the Franks, professional soldiers with a ragged sense of humor, interpreted that order of Christ as a call to the culinary arts, and, respectfully abiding by a literal reading of Christ to eat the flesh of man (or god, whatever), they roasted and ate the natives. For some reason, the Muslims, who view Christ as a prophet, came to resent that logical application of Christian authority. Maybe they should do like the Franks did, and make Christ and other prophets an object of derision.

The Carolingian Franks legislated mandatory secular education by the all and any religious establishments, to the great rage of the Church authorities back in Rome. The oversight of superstitious authority by secular authority was the huge difference between the Merovingian Franks and the late, degenerated Romans.

Five centuries after the imposition of mandatory secular schooling by the Church, the European university system grew out of the “Cathedral schools”. The states (including the Carolingian created Vatican) entangled  themselves with the universities, as the Church disentangled itself.

Thereafter the professors were agents of innovation, occasionally, but, mostly, agents of the state, hiding below a veneer of independence.

This is why most of the innovative great thinkers, in the following centuries, were not university professors, but amateurs (from the word “amor”).

Thanks to the Internet, we are back in a situation where great thinking go directly from people to people, without being filtered profitably by the Authority of the state.

The servants of the state know many pernicious ways: after all, they got up high because they had smarts (hereditary smarts in the case of the children of Assad or the children of Qaddafi, or the late Hussein).

Respect for Authority is why, when they evoke the Mideast and North Africa, the American authorities, those servants of American plutocracy, never fail to sing the praises of Islam (and that means implicitly the praises of Salafism, as found in the friendly Saudi Arabian, or Yemeni governments). If it’s such a great religion, why don’t they have it at home, in the USA, too, ruling things? (As Hitler wished would have happened in Germany!)

Science ought to be the celebration of the ultimate triumphs of reason. As science crushes the ignorance of the past, it exemplifies the rule of stupidity, how unjustified it was, and how good it is to throw it down. Thus progress in science is the enemy of authority, and intellectual fascism.

Thus science in full, just as philosophy in full, or thinking in full, is the enemy of the established order, oligarchies, and plutocracy. Science, philosophy and thinking are the friends of revolution, and mental explosions.

To bring reason down to manageable size, Authority loves to confuse the public about what is science, and what is fantasy.  If people conflate one with the other, they will not know how to reason correctly, and the authorities can coral their thoughts like sheep.

Here I focus on three examples given as hard core science, although they are nothing but.: “The First Three Minutes”, “Cosmic Inflation”, and the so called “Multiverse”, the latter previously known as the Many-Worlds Interpretation Of Quantum Mechanics are soft science fantasy.

When those pseudo scientific noises will be found to be false and naïve, the public will have less respect for science, than they otherwise would have. Authority and the attached plutocracy will love that.

A related tactic was followed to make the public believe that there was no problem with the rising levels of CO2 and CO2 equivalent gases. Agents of the fossil fuel industries made it so that scientist were believed to be manipulating liars.

In the case of “The First Three Minutes”, “Cosmic Inflation”, and the so called “Multiverse”, physicists do it to themselves. That, of course makes those big fables wildly popular with Authority.

 

Respect for authority is in total contrast with the irreverent attitude of Richard Feynman. Feynman found ideas (“sum over histories”, “Feynman diagrams“) which have proven very deep (don’t let the fact that Feynman had to share his Nobel prize fool you).

Feynman carried with him a total lack of respect for Authority (in private conversation, Feynman did not take  “The First Three Minutes”, “Cosmic Inflation”, and the “Multiverse” seriously; he is not the only one that way: so did Zumino, a founder of SUSY, who marveled at the naivety of Weinberg and other Nobel level physicist writing books of fables). Irreverence is precisely why Feynman was able to be so deep.

Those who are truly for the advancement of thinking will rejoice that the Internet now allows to short circuit, and hopefully fry, Authority itself. Irreverence is not a luxury anymore, and only irreverence will save us all.

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THE AUTHORITY FALLACY, OR THE VALIDATION OF IDEAS BY POWER:

Some theories often brandished in the public eye as facts are truly deranged. And not just in finance and economics. At least. there, it is obvious that plutocracy has interest to make people believe in lies, so that they can be fleece. Careful propaganda has made all Europeans and Americans into sheep that way. They overlooked Iceland, though, and that may turn into their Achilles’ heel.

But why would plutocracy have interest to make propaganda for physics which is not truly physics? Because plutocracy  is more subtle than those it rules. It knows quite well that it is easier to rule over the stupid, and hard to overrule the intelligent.

So it is important to teach naivety and credulity, and the way to do that is to teach absurdities, and make people learn to take them for the truth. Now, of course, one can do so by unreal “reality shows”. But that is for the rabble. The case of the upper middle class has still to be addressed. Fables passing as physics is best for those.

Some will object that here I lend more credence to the intelligence of plutocracy than it has. Well, yes and no. Any conscious plot is preceded by conspiracies inside the mind itself, where parts of the mind talk to others through feelings, and that happens with groups of minds too (Carl Jung studied this sort of things).

Hence the popularity of absurdities. They go from deep idiocy, such as with the “Multiverse Theory“, a contradictio in adjecto, to milder forms such as the “First Three Minutes“, or “Cosmic Inflation“. Those theories are worse than selling the proverbial snake oil. After all, snakes exist. Whereas the preceding three concepts, generally presented as established facts, are as far removed from facts as can be. The “Multiverse Theory“, the “First Three Minutes“, and “Cosmic Inflation“, are blatant fantasies about things which not only do not exist, but are  of the self contradictory type, as I will show.

Science should be the high temple of reason, and conflating it with the great unwashed is pretty dirty.

The conflation of insanity and reality in physics is a particularly egregious abuse of the Authority Fallacy. The Authority Fallacy consists into accepting that the pedigree of those who present an idea, or the pedigree of an idea, is more important than the idea itself. (Pedigree comes from the French “pied de grue”, a long stem with a widespread branching at the foot.) For example, whatever Christ says, it’s got to be good and true. Because Christ said it, and Christ, by definition is the Authority in matters of good and true. Or whatever a Nobel prize says, it’s got to be true, because he got the Nobel. More subtly, this extends to behaviors, and ideas themselves. For example, because the wise is cool, an authoritative behavior, to be cool is wise. Thus the president of the USA stays cool while reactionary idiots walk all over him, and feels wisdom pervading.

The economic establishment has authority, except in Iceland, and thus Icelanders have seen that they should not pay for others. Whereas in cities where financiers show their expensive suits, the public has been so impressed by this exhibition of wealth, that they find normal to give money to the richest.

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MULTIVERSE & INFLATION:  SPONTANEOUS CREATION OF ALL, ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE:

The fundamental questions in physics are: what happened, what could happen? We have the same questions in many other fields of thought, such as history, economics, finance, politics, sociology, etc. Physics though concentrates on the most fundamental processes of nature, so it is foundations to the rest, in all sorts of ways. Get that one wrong, and one will tend to get the rest wrong. For example the multiverse theory says that, for any version of the universe, there is another one were the same is not the same. Accept this, and nothing is the matter.

The most fundamental theory of physics is Quantum Mechanics (QM). The foundations of QM have been a riddle ever since Max Planck got it started in 1900 CE. Planck was very cautious, Einstein, five years later, much bolder (see the note on Einstein and the Photon).

For a number of reasons, some of which are below, QM looked so much out of this world that desperate attempts have been made to make sense of it.

A proposed “solution” to the riddle of QM is the so called multiverse (aka multi-universe interpretation of QM). That was dreamed up by a student of Wheeler, Everett (Feynman was also a student of Wheeler).

The multiverse answer is that, whatever it is, it happened in one universe, and it did not happen, in another universe. Yes, that sounds crazy, and it is. You read that crazy sentence correctly: whatever it is, it is not too, somewhere else. Big advance. Sounds like American politics: nothing is real, anything goes.

And this non-existent existence is not always a matter of finite choice. In a 2 slit experiment, the most perplexing experiment in physics, an infinity of universes will be created, according to the multiverse mania, each time a photon, or any particle, goes through. As particles interfere all the time, all over the place, universes are created all the time, all over..

In other words, if one wants a proof of the insanity of some of today’s physicists, the multiverse is all we need. According to this spasm of the mind, during every single, smallest amount of time imaginable,  an uncountable infinity of universes appear. Creation of universes is all over, everywhere, all the time. Even at the height of the craziness of the craziest during the hallucinogenic 1960s, nobody lost it that bad, short of going to the slammer.

OK, the inflationary universe has the same problem, and thus is about as insane.  The idea of inflation is an ad hoc field (thus force) to reconcile the intuition of the “Big Bang” with observed facts (without inflation, the observed universe is too big, and too smooth, to have expanded in 14 billion years). The drawback is that, just as with the multiverse hypothesis, the inflation hypothesis makes universes appear out of nowhere, any time, anyhow. Like the Chinese and American plutocracies, that’s why these theories love each other.

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SILLINESS MASQUERADING AS SCIENCE

Science is inspirational, not just because it is knowledge, but because it also leads to new models of thought. That works best when it is real science (although science fiction, or history fiction can work a bit that way).

Conversely, the love of authority, naivety, credulity, and general lack of mental seriousness can be also be taught, by conditioning people to believe the unbelievable. It is no coincidence that a particular American sense of humor belittles reason, and the self as author (thus reinforcing Big Brother as author).

Some science fantasy masquerading as science emanates from some of the very best (Weinberg, Hawking, Guth, etc.) Worse: some “real” science rests on it!

That conflation of fantasy and reality was alien to the prolific writer Isaac Asimov, a university professor of chemist who was very careful to distinguish science from his (excellent) science-fiction.

Confusing fantasy and reality can only have a deleterious effect on the popular imagination, let alone common sense. The hysteria against nuclear energy while burning 450 million years of radioactive, heavy metal laced, atmosphere devouring coal is an effect of this inability to think in an organized manner (an hysteria that crafty nuclear and coal operators have abused).

***

IN THE BEGINNING, THERE COULD HAVE BEEN NO TIME:

A case in point is “The First Three Minutes”. Somehow, those “minutes” have become central to elementary particles physics, aka, Grand Unified Theory, aka Quantum Field Theory. The whole field will suffer a set-back in popular esteem when people realize that, after all, in the beginning, nobody could have been there to keep time. Indeed, how does one keep time, when there is no time keeper?

In the abstract, one keeps time with a light clock. This is the conceptual instant where space and time get mixed: one measures time by using light, and distance. Here is Special Relativity in its conceptual nutshell!

In a light clock, light bounces between two mirrors, and one counts the bounces. That time comes from light clocks is why time slows down in a high gravitational field: orient the clock so that light is parallel to the gravitational field: when light climbs up in the field, it will go ever more slowly as the gravitational field gets stronger (if the field is so strong that light cannot get up, you have got a black hole).

But of course to have a light clock, one needs mirrors, that is matter of some sort. But, early in the universe, that Big Bang theorists describe, there were no baryons, thus no walls. There were also no atoms and particles, so one cannot take refuge behind some spontaneous decay to measure time. 

As there was no way to measure time, I say there was no time. Exit “The First Three Minutes”.

***

AUTHORITATIVE PHYSICISTS, GOD, & PARTICLE?

A number of physics Nobel Prize winners wrote about a “God Particle”. Maybe  they take themselves for god. After all, that is what god is for (under Gaddafi, god reigns in Libya too).

There is only one problem: not only has nobody has seen god, but neither has anybody seen “his” particle. The gentlemen physicist were actually alluding to the so called “Higgs” particle, which is supposed to somehow confer mass to particles, sometimes after the Big Bang. OK, some Nobel guys were just trying to sell books.

In 2008, Professor Hawking suggested that it would be “more exciting” if the experiment at CERN did not find the “God particle”.

That will show something is wrong, and we will need to think again.”

Professor Higgs, one of six who postulated the existence of the particle 47 years ago, reacted with irritation. (hey, there would his Nobel go!): “I have to confess I haven’t read the paper in which Stephen Hawking makes this claim. But I have read one he wrote, which I think is the basis for the kind of calculation he does. And frankly I don’t think the way he does it is good enough… he puts together theories in particle physics with gravity . . . in a way which no theoretical particle physicist would believe is the correct theory. From a particle physics, quantum theory point of view, you have to put a lot more than just gravity into the theory to have a consistent theory and I don’t think Stephen has done that. I am very doubtful about his calculations.

The truth is that physicists are at sea. Nothing wrong with that, as long as they admit it. Many do. Feynman was good at admitting ignorance, especially if all shared it with him.

Those who don’t admit their ignorance, are only fooling the public (which finance them). They deliberately confuse fantasy, and, or, wild guesses with science, a serious ethical breach. In turn it implies a cognitive dissonance in the masses. If one has accepted that an infinity of universes is created in a split instant, then one is certainly ready to believe that the fractional private-public reserve system enriches the public.

Hawking’s fame is from one simple, strong idea nobody thought of before. That’s good, that’s the best (as the super mathematician David Hilbert pointed out in mathematics).

Here is Hawking’s main idea. Quantum Field Theory more or less knows experimentally to some extent, and then postulates generally, that the vacuum is teeming with particle-anti-particle pairs. Hawking observed that if one element of a pair fell into a Black Hole, the other would become a real particle and escape, and that would show up as radiation. So Black Holes would radiate (and small ones evaporate with a bang).

Simple ideas are strong. Over-complex ideas expose themselves to fallacy, because if one link in the logical chains they constitute fail, so do they.

Science is not just amazing, it is the essence of our society. Our society will grow, live, and die with our science. Science is harder to escape than a Black Hole. however, if we take good care of our science, it will go on forever, and so will intelligent life from Earth.

There is enough real science out there to not need to conflate it with fantasy. Abusing the public with non sense is no way to instill long term awe for reason.

***

ANY MULTIVERSE IS A UNIVERSE (oops):

The multiverse is particularly galling, as the ultimate outrage to the principle of not adding superfluous hypotheses (that principle is called “Occam’s Razor”, although Occam was far from the first to brandish it). Civilization class physicists such as Newton (“I don’t find hypotheses”) and Laplace (“I don’t need that hypothesis”… speaking of god), would have been baffled by the absurdity of the multiverse, and that proclaimed top thinkers worship it like others the Golden Calf.

The multiverse hypothesis adds universes, and even a continuum of superfluous universes, in each instance of the most fundamental process.  Basically the multiverse says that anything goes, that one keeps one’s cake intact, as long as one eats it. Thinkers of the Middle Ages would have sneered. The medieval thinkers used to worry a lot about general questions, of the type god was supposed to worry about. They would have had the following objection:

A moment of philosophical reflection shows how self contradicting this multiverse is. Indeed, the union of all multiverses itself constitute a universe. What the naïve partisans of the multiverse are then saying is that all and any fundamental process has all potential consequences, for real.

***

HOW QUANTUM MECHANICS MADE SOME PHYSICISTS SCHIZOPHRENIC:

Schizophrenia means “splitting of the mind”. The multiverse theory splits not just minds, but universe, as needed, and that is for each and any fundamental process. The multiverse is the ultimate schizophrenia.

So, if it is sheer insanity of the ultimate type, why are there partisans of the multiverse? And why are they so desperate? Out of hubris. Denied. Extreme hubris. Extremely denied. On the face of it, it is clear that Quantum mechanics is incomplete, as I am going to show. Instead of admitting that, and moving on modestly, conventional theoretical physicists have maintained that Quantum Mechanics is the one and only best Mechanics possible. Why? Because they are all-knowing. even rigorous mathematicians got ruined by the same madness: Von Neumann produced a bogus proof that: “Only QM is QM, and QM is its prophet.”  (Namely only QM could explain QM.) It should have been seen as obviously false, as de Broglie had a competitive theory, and as the EPR thought experiment showed that QM conflicted with locality. Instead it was seen as deep.

Why is Quantum mechanics incomplete?

1) Although Quantum Mechanics is the most precise theory, it seems observer dependent. This is embodied by the Schrodinger Cat thought experiment (truly an original idea of Einstein in correspondence with Schrodinger; a lot of De Broglie’s work was also attributed to Schrodinger).

From the point of view of an observer outside of the cat box, the Quantum mechanical description is a mixture of dead and live cat. Intuitively though, even an educated peasant from Middle Age Russia knows that cats are either dead or alive, and not a mix, so Quantum mechanics is incomplete. However, a moment’s reflection shows that, from outside the box, the cat is neither dead or alive. We just don’t know what it is. So the dependency of QM upon context is not that mysterious. That’s fine. But to claim that it is the best knowledge possible, as many QM specialists are wont to do, is absurd.

2) In truth, QM is geometrical-context dependent (the geometry being from functional analysis, not just the usual n-dimensional spaces the public is familiar with). Somehow, fundamental processes are able to apprehend the cosmic immensity at their disposal through space and time (that’s best depicted by Feynman’s “Sum Over Histories”).

How this happens is not under-stood. Not at all understood (although I have my own theory, glimpses of which are found in my various essays). Many physicists got ‘headaches’  from the situation (as a well known physicist told me once).

Quantum Computer engineers don’t have the luxury to indulge in headaches, and they are trying to master the subject. Standard physics was found way short of the needed precisions; suddenly the obscure, sometimes metaphysical debate on the nature of Quantum Mechanics held in 1920s and 1930s, have become very practical.

Quantum engineers had to re-label some of the classical terms: the “collapse of the wave packet” has became “decoherence”, for example. The notion of “Collapse” was all too attached to the foundational quarrels of the 1920s to 1950s, which ended with some name calling of Einstein and the like. Moreover, we “decoherence” is highly practical, and a more general notion than “collapse”. Stray photons have been found to be a major source of collapse.  Penrose and (now) Hawking have advertized a theory of a trio of Italians, that gravitation causes collapse. [In my own theory collapse can be caused by all the preceding, obviously, but also by entanglement collapse, of course, and stray matter fields. Moreover, the collapse is not instantaneous, but proceeds at an extremely high speed (more than ten billion times c).]

3) How fundamental processes go from the “in flight” Quantum Mechanical description of entangled time evolving probability waves to the end result of the process, a definite state (mathematically a “eigenstate”), is not part of Quantum Mechanics. This “collapse of the wave packet” is part of nothing at all. So here we have a physical theory which goes from something all over the place, to something else completely different in one (often tiny) locale, refusing to imagine anything in between, while claiming to be the final say. It leaves one queasy, all the more since theories such as De Broglie (-Bohm) or mine are readily imaginable.

Now remember many physicists want to be all-knowing. Therein the power.

The multiverse approach “solves” one problem of QM by saying there is no collapse, because all possibilities (“eigenstates”) occur in universes, one universe for all and each eigenstate. It sweeps the collapse under a countable or uncountable infinity of universes.

the absurdity of it all is colossal. Suppose you drive through town at 200 km/h. I doubt that the judge will be impressed if a physicist grandly declares that she was in a parallel universe. On the other hand, I must admit, high finance is definitively in a parallel universe, and all too many people accept that.

***

THE CREDIBILITY OF CREDULITY WITH AUTHORITY:

Much is made by Authority, and various oligarchies, with the credibility of credentials. Since it is Authority which attributes credentials, it is  tidy arrangement. For example the Federal Reserve bank is full of people with a high degree of credibility, and high credentials. That allows to give lend trillions to crooks, no questions asked. The survival of ATMs was at stake, they say, and people accepted that incredibly stupid statement, because big governments have big Authority.

In Iceland, the government is not big, and close to the 230,000 voters. So the (corrupt, as they all are) government was unable to hypnotize taxpayers into paying for plutocrats they have never met, never had any business with, and they owed absolutely nothing to. Remarkably this common sense has escaped most Europeans and Americans so far, and those serfs keep on serving plutocrats they have never met, never had any business with, and they owe absolutely nothing to, and are richer than ever. This apparently will go on, and people will work to make plutocrats ever more powerful. Until the plutocrats capture the last civil liberties.

Being sure that the universe was created out of nothing is an absurdity similar to being sure that the economy was created by plutocrats, and they have to be saved, and served, lest the economic universe collapses.

***

BIG BANG REASONING, PLAYING ALL TOO FAST WITH FACTS:

Here is an example of what I am talking about. I listened to the Hawking’s presentation as found in “Learning From Dogs”. (Hawking is admirable, be it only in the tenacity with which his indomitable spirit fights his terrible disease, a form of ALS; I met him a few times, long ago, and I was already awed by his courage… He has the world’s survival record for ALS. maybe the spirit of curiosity sustains him, a good lesson for those who claim that curiosity has no survival value!)

I agree with Hawking’s observations about life, and civilization, in the last two parts of that speech. It’s clear life started very fast on Earth, as he says. (It’s all the more remarkable because the collision which created the Moon happened after 50 million years or so, and would have melted the Earth. Because of this and the cooling from the outside, it seems likely, at this point, that Earth’s life started on… Mars. Ejecta can reach Earth, staying mild enough inside for even (some) bacterial survival.)

The first part of Hawking talk about the evolution of the universe is well done, and much of what he says is known to be correct. However, hidden inside Hawking’s authoritative delivery, are invented assertions presented as facts. The fact that they are commonly made does not excuse them.

Hawking claims that we know the laws of evolution of the universe, and he evokes Maxwell (that is electromagnetic theory, known to be 100% correct under known conditions, which include QED), and Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation (ETG, aka GR). The latter works splendidly in Low Earth Orbit (GPS). But that proves nothing, because its success in LEO is attributable to bits and pieces of GR, not the whole thing. Those bits and pieces have more to do with energy conservation, and are pretty certain, and not implied by the controversial parts, which they therefore do not prove in any sense.

The evolution of the universe is supposedly guided by the Einstein equation, gravitationally speaking. That is partly derived from first principles, such as “Newton’s” gravitational law (in turn deduced first in an analogy with light, by a French priest… As Newton himself declared).

A serious problem is that the Einstein equation is determined only up to the so called “Cosmological Constant”, which cannot be guessed from first principles (the Cosmological Constant drove Einstein a bit nuts; first he used it to make a static universe; then, as the universe was revealed non static by Hubble and his colleagues, Einstein called the CC his “greatest blunder“… And had he lived until recently, he would no doubt have changed his mind again!)

What invalidates Hawking’s certainty about the evolution of the universe is that the CC is turning out to be non zero. If we don’t know the evolution equation, how can we know the evolution? This is an argument that anybody can understand, as long as they are not paid to not understand it.

The speed of expansion of the universe is apparently increasing. Nobody knows why. This casts a doubt even on the 15 billion years universe: if the universe can accelerate, why could not it brake?  Just insinuating…

Another thing Hawking does not insist on is that it is QFT, Quantum Field Theory, or more exactly its specialization known as the “Standard Model“, which drives the theory of the early universe.

To say that it is only electromagnetism and gravitation which drive the universe is to hark back to the 1920s (by the 1930s, QED had appeared, and physicists decided Einstein was a pet dinosaur, as Einstein himself observed!) But the SM is clearly a work in progress, which may pretty well collapse soon if the LHC in Geneva does not find the so called “Higgs”, soon. Hawking knows well that there are huge problems with the SM (see above!) But “The Brief History of Time” depends upon ignoring these problems. Otherwise it would become the “Obscure History Of Time”, and it won’t sell as many books.

“Cosmic Inflation” rests on another imaginary particle, the inflaton”. That imaginary thing is why Hawking claims to be sure that the universe is created out of nothing. Sure to have made it up, I agree. I guess that, if the “Higgs” is not found, even standard physicists are going to have doubts about many of their certainties, and their cosmic cognition will deflate. They will acquire a negative cosmological constant of known origin…

Another point: Hawking claims that time acts like space in extreme conditions. As far as I know, that’s another fast one. QFT physicists make computations that way, and the results fit observation, but that does not prove that this mathematical artifice (“imaginary time”) rests on anything real. It is philosophically unacceptable: it forcefully turns spacetime, a Finsler manifold, into a Riemannian manifold, just because the mathematics of the former are unmanageable (it reminds me of drunks searching for keys only where they can see).

Hawking conflate what is known for sure (say about life) and the great unknown (all that Big bang stuff).

We know that life started very fast on Earth, but we do not know what was going on 15 billion years ago, or what drove it. We don’t even know if Newton’s law of gravitation is correct, in first order, at a large scale, right now (apparently, it’s not, since the CC seems non zero!)

In truth we know all too little to speak authoritatively about the Big Bang. We don’t even know the dimensionality of the universe. (A problem string theory has advertized, but which is all over fundamental physics; for all we know, the universe could have dynamic, irrational dimensions)

We don’t even know the TOPOLOGY of the universe! All of conventional mathematics rest on what is known as Hausdorff spaces, spaces where points are separated. Our real number system is like that. However, so far, Quantum Mechanics describes a dynamic NON Hausdorff universe (that is a way to interpret the EPR experiment, non locality).

Thus, Hawking certainty about space is, to say the least, premature. And he is not the only one. Thousands of Big Bangists out there are even more sure.

***

ROTTED BY THE HEAD:

There is plenty of room for fantasy and wild guesses in physics. Imagination is  necessary to progress. Simply, flights of fancy, and wishful thinking should be presented as such. One of the interests of studying science and broadcasting it, OUGHT TO BE teaching how to learn to discern the difference between fantasy and reality. This is a skill society needs to become much better at. it is the opposite of the authority principle.

How come those famous people can get away with presenting as facts somewhat insane ideas? We have a paradigm here: Some (previously) very respected physics Nobel prizes not only got their Nobel prizes well before Einstein, but they were member of the Nazi party before Hitler. Their top accreditations did not make their physics any less insane. (Lenard denounced “Jewish physics”.)

Egomania is not reserved to Donald Trump. Nor is it only profitable to him.

Ever since civilization exist, a priestly class has always tended to rule, in collaboration with the military and the wealthy.  (This observation was made earlier by Nietzsche, the French Revolution of 1789, Henry VIII, and the Franks themselves; the practice of state religion was enforced by Theodosius, and earlier, Constantine, following earlier, and just as fierce practices by the Roman republic, and Athens; Socrates was initially prosecuted on the charge of calumny against (the) god(s).) 

In India, the Brahmin class ruled for 35 centuries, knew how valuable the class system was, and imparted that notion on the rabble. (The much revered Gandhi himself embraced it, although he did not agree about the Untouchables.)

Who are the priests? Those who know. As knowledge has grown, the scientists themselves were drafted by the established order into the priesthood, as long as they thought correctly. By denaturing the harshness of the scientific inquiry, scientists, like the priests, teach submission. Let me give a few examples.

***

HELIOCENTRISM WAS OBVIOUS, THUS SUBVERSIVE:

Aristarchus of Samos suggested, around 300 BCE, that the sun turned around the earth. That’s what Archimedes said. Some objections were raised, but they would have been easy to overrule. The reasoning of Aristarchus was not preserved  (why would the fascists preserve revolutionary thoughts?)

However, it’s easy to guess what Aristarchus thought. The Greeks had computed the size of the Earth (very precisely). By the angles the sun made at noon in different places in Egypt and Greece. From this, observing the shadow of the earth on the moon, they computed the  distance of the moon. Then, observing the angle of the (terminus of the) sunlight on the moon, when the moon was at the same distance to the sun, as the earth, they got a lower bound of the distance of the sun. That angle is hard to observe, so they underestimated the distance of the sun. however, it was clear that the sun was enormous. one could then argue that it would make more sense that the Earth turned around itself at 1,000 miles an hour, than the sun around the Earth at 20 million miles an hour. (It’s known that rotation speeds were invoked.)

So how come the heliocentric theory was not developed? Well, around 320 BCE, freedom was collapsing: the Athenian plutocracy allied itself with the Macedonian dictatorship, while Rome took over Syracuse (killing Archimedes in passing).

After this, it was pretty much plutocracy uninterrupted until the USA became independent, and the Terror reigned over France. OK, there were times when the plutocracies got beaten back. And plutocracy was sometimes self consciously favorable to the advancement of knowledge (the Franks were this way, from the 6C onwards, through queen Bathilde, Charlemagne, king and emperor Charles The Bald.)  

Researching, debating and establishing the heliocentric theory would have been too revolutionary for the political powers that be, in Macedonia, Rome, Ptolemaic Egypt,  and, a fortiori fanatical Catholic Rome. Maybe some youth got the idea… But it was certainly not encouraged by their professors. In antiquity, professors were entangled with power. (That was even worse in China.)

By contrast, the empire of the Franks was deeply revolutionary. It imposed a lot of notions which became common place later: mandatory education, the secularly, state controlled Church, nationalization thereof, outlawing slavery. Moreover Roman notions such as universal citizenship, ethnic and religious tolerance were reinstated.

When the Church went for its second power grab, after the First Crusade, top intellectuals of the Franks’ works were outlawed (= “put at the index“)by the Vatican (=”Papal States”), and the dark conspiracy that extended it, the inquisition..  

***

 

REVOLUTIONARIES DO NOT GET SUBSIDIZED OFTEN:

Under the Franks, top intellectuals were brought from all over Europe (including Britain: Alcuin!), and paid by the court, in a desperate effort to relaunch civilization. In a way, Rome had started this, and so it was in China. The difference was that the thinkers at the center of empire of the Franks were revolutionary, whereas in rome and China, they just reinforced the authority of the state, or, more exactly, of the plutocracy.

(Although the leaders of the Franks were very wealthy, with properties all around Europe, the equalitarian succession laws of the Franks insured that the wealth was spread around; this has been misunderstood by historian as a state of degeneracy, because no strong man owned the whole thing. Even Charlemagne lived very modestly for a Roman emperor of nearly all of Europe. No emperor, ever, in the history of humanity, spent as much time at the head of his army, on the battlefield. even more than Genghis Khan!) 

Most top thinkers of the scientific revolution in the 17C were not respected tenured professors at the university (although Galileo and Newton were, not so for Kepler, Bruno, Descartes, Fermat, Pascal, Leibnitz…). The pattern was renewed in the 18 C, and 19C (although by then more were university professors, Nietzsche, judged too extreme, was asked to resigned).

Direct, or indirect patronage by enlightened plutocrats was often present. Thus Huyghens was financed by Louis XIV through the French Academy, Descartes by the Queen of Sweden, Voltaire by Frederik of Prussia (and Nietzsche by a wealthy widow).

We have no historical distanciation to judge what’s going on now, and find out if deep thought is thriving, or everybody is getting big banged, by superficial thinking where it matters most. Indeed, most of science, although progressing quickly, is on automatic, as the singularity approaches….

***

INTELLECTUAL AUTHORITY IN ROME:

Under the Antonine emperors, in the Second Century of the Roman Principate, which Gibbons saw, erroneously, as the summum of civilization, intellectuals of the right type stood on a pinnacle of money and power. The intellectual establishment, mostly Greek, had been captured by Greco-Roman plutocracy. Intellectuals could get immensely rich, and it would run in families. In exchange, when they gave their expensive talks, they exalted the strong medicine of Greco-Roman imperial plutocratic ideology. Their basic message was that Rome was the best of all possible worlds

Intellectuals then  were the equivalent of Bill Clinton today: immensely respected, corrupt to the core. Some will say: not so, where is the emperor? But a refined knowledge of the Roman empire showed that it was truly a plutocracy. The richest would meet, the emperors among them, and, generally, the atmosphere was collegial at dinner: the plutocrats would speak about “us”. And one of these “us” was the emperor, the “Princeps”, the “First”, the plutocracy’s president, so to speak. Seeing Rome in this light, it sounds like a prototype of the system we have today, complete with the daughter of the future Chinese dictator president at Harvard, protected by the secret services.

Aelius Aristides’s begged to differ discreetly, in front of the whole imperial court. he observed something felt wrong, but he could not tell what. By then the plutocracy was so strong that even the emperor, M. Aurelius, could not find enough funds to fight a war on the Danube which was a matter of survival for Rome. The rich was refusing taxation. It was a rotten situation, but intellectuals, instead of observing, and denouncing, were careful not to say much, and they milked the system like hedge fund managers, making billions.

The oligarchies are now entangled in such a manner that only Icelanders have not been properly vetted. Elsewhere, it’s all about credentials.

***

CREDENTIALS AS COMMAND AND CONTROL:

As far as accreditation system is concerned, I will refer to the PhDs of Qaddafi’s eight children, and the numerous professors at Harvard on Qaddafi’s payroll. Does that mean that Harvard was accredited by Qaddafi? And the London School of economics too? Where does it stop?

Speaking of Harvard, what about Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations”, of an incredibly low scholarly level? (In it, Huntington evokes the Sino-Muslim civilization, a grotesque concept for whom know either!)

 The movie “Ghostwriter” sums it well. There Harvard is presented as churning well programmed heads of states. Surely a joke, isn’t?

I am quite familiar with academia, and I think too much credit is given, quite often.

QM, however impressive, is no deal. Authority does not like this about QM. The multiverse theory is a desperate attempt to make Quantum mechanics into an authoritative, complete discourse, like the Bible, or the Qur’an. It is a scheme to eschew the mystery of the non existence of a detailed mechanism of wave packet collapse. [Ironically I was once punished on a “philosophy” site for saying that QM was a live subject of research; I never went back to that site, which has academic pretentions: they told me that they checked with physics professors that QM was a done deal, and therefore I was ignorant…]

***

CONCLUSION: AUTHORITY COMMANDS, HOWEVER,COMMANDING IS NOT THINKING:

The Authority Fallacy  is that thinking is validated by Authority. But Authority is no ersatz for the truth. In truth, thinking is only validated by the truth. The truth is what’s left, after the rest has been proven to be false.

The truth is only reached through debate. Truth is not god given, that is, authority given. Accepting authority as valid thinking is the essence of intellectual fascism; a few ideas lead, and all follows. No thought but repetition, and authority is its prophet. the analogy with some well known superstition is no coincidence.

Thinking creatively is fundamentally about disobedience, about breaking pre-existing order. Humans have to learn to expect thoughts to stand on their own, independently of Authority. Some rebels in Libya have hit on that idea:”Don’t try to define us, we do not know who we are!”

Science is knowledge, but science is also a set of methods to acquire knowledge, and that should include the admission of what we don’t know, also known as rational humility.

The history of science shows that the best minds come short, and we need more than them. We need the truth, and only the many, thinking deep, and vigorously, can bring that, thanks to withering critique.

Democracy is not just necessary to achieve fairness, but also to reach superior intelligence. And both will improve through the democratic debate (isegoria).

Indeed, full democracy is not just one man, one vote. Full democracy includes isegoria, the right to equal speech. for the first time since the Athenian national assembly, the Internet allows this, now for the billions out there.

For oligarchic, and technological reasons, civilization had lost isegoria in the last 24 centuries. But it can be regained now. thanks to the Internet.

Deep debates can now happen on a planetary basis, without the filtering of plutocratic authority. And not just in philosophy, politics, and economics, but also in engineering and, more generally, all over science.

A god example is the Fukushima nuclear disaster; a democratic debate could easily have avoided it. The natural question would have been: what would happen if a 42 meters tsunami hit it? Obvious answer: at the very least, evacuation of Tokyo. Forever. Fortunately the wave was only 15 meters at Fukushima, and 42 meters somewhere else.   (Looking forward one can question what would happen if oil got in the cooling system of a nuclear plant; just like at Fukushima, easy counter-measures can be taken, but have they?)

More generally dangers from technological choices ought to be vigorously debated: many vulnerable regions are awfully ill prepared for quakes. Looming over it all, the unparallel catastrophe of CO2 planetary engineering, has been completely turned off by the plutocracy in the USA (huge money was spent in creating fake authorities which imposed the view that there was no CO2 problem, and most Americans, and even Europeans, came to believe that in the last two years!)

Not only, most scientists are directly financed by the public, but, whether we like it or not, or civilization is a giant science experiment. And the only sure thing is that if we let it run its course unsupervised, it will blow up…

The time has definitively come to leave the way of life, and thought, of the baboons, well behind.

It is not going to be easy: group thinking is a deep instinct. The authority principle and intellectual, or group fascism are just aspects of it. So is hostility to those who do not belong.

Careful recent studies on monkeys exhibit the instinct of forming a group, and hating the rest. Don’t hate monkeys, our ancestors; their was no other way they could have been, that’s the Dark Side of natural selection. This aggressive group instinct was necessary because monkeys are so good, and would have been otherwise defenseless.

 

That violent and nasty group instinct is both the cause (with the mathematics of capital), and the mechanism which leads to plutocracy, and often to racism and war, as it is best implemented with its specialization, the fascist instinct  (the instinct to focus the mind of the many on combat as one).

We cannot just do like Chinese philosophers of old, and decree that man is good, or that man is bad, and that there is nothing to do, but obey Authority. Authority is not bright enough. And badness starts with thinking wrong.

In his latest book (2010), in a major change, Stephen Hawking recognizes tentatively that it does not make sense to speak of time in the early universe (so he diverged from his old, and still widely accepted official sing-song). He does not give detailed reasons as I do above, though.

Progress in intellectual honesty ought to be encouraged, so I congratulate him. Science has to show the way of basic integrity. Nothing else can do it as well, short of a parent’s love for a child

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Note on the photoelectric effect: Einstein, a non-authority before 1906, became a supreme authority after British scientists verified that the sun grazing light was deviated by twice what Newton’s theory predicted. Thus Einstein’s reasoning about the existence of the Photon is beyond any suspicion (all the more since Einstein got the Nobel Prize for the Photon in 1921).

Waxing lyrical on the photoelectric effect, Einstein had proclaimed “heuristically” the concept of “photon”, which became the paradigm of conceptual particle creation, thereafter. Einstein observed that it look as if electromagnetic energy was not just emitted in lumps, but also received in lumps, thus, travelled as a lump; beautiful logic, but Plank, who was Einstein’s door to fame, was unimpressed on that point. Einstein’s jumped to the implicit conclusion, that the photon is a lump. That authoritative opinion was repeated ever since, as there is no physics, but physics, and Einstein is its prophet. This is well in keeping with the opinion that physics is local, an opinion justified before QM, but false ever since. I am personally guessing that the Photon does not travel as a lump, but as what space is made of.

***

QM is the most precise theory we have, but it’s most certainly false or crazy as Newton basically said about his own theory of gravitation, and pretty much for the same reasons…

In any case QM got no traction with the Quantum computer, so far. To say the least, many questions have been found to not be answered… 

Heuristically yours.

COSMIC MODESTY REQUIRED

November 17, 2010

 

THE UNIVERSE TEACHES AWE AND HUMILITY:

Theme: Is there extraterrestrial life? Extraterrestrial intelligence? A related question: how big is the universe? On all these subjects considerable and very surprising progress is in the making. I describe some of the new ideas and facts in plain language, from Plate Tectonics to Cosmic Inflation.

Facing the enormity of it all, honest minds will find honor and pleasure in telling the truth, and nothing but the truth (carefully distinguishing it from hope we can believe in). Some physicists, searching for the limelight, have presented some science fiction, or some science fantasy, or let’s say scientific working hypotheses, philosophically grounded, as real, established science. This is misleading and dangerous: science is truth, and that is why the public supports it. Let’s keep it that way.

Sometimes all that science does, but that is fundamental, is to find new uncertainties we did not previously suspect. A basic humility that needs to be taught to people and politicians is that knowledge is not just about learning what we know, but also about learning that there are new dimensions to what we don’t know.

One certainty: our Earth is rare and fragile. Earth was a primordial deity of the Greeks, Gaia, viewed as female, nourishing humankind. Gaia is an on-going miracle, of self regulation, with extremely complicated biology and physics entangled. The more we observe the cosmos, the more we see that’s hell out there. Gaia is a rare deity, Pluto is the rule. Here are some inklings.

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ALIEN SOLAR SYSTEMS EVERYWHERE:

Many planets have been discovered around many stars. Solar systems (= several planets orbiting the same star) have also been discovered. In one of these systems three planets around a dwarf red star are all in the inhabitable zone (= neither too cold nor too hot, so that liquid water exists on a planet there). One of them is smack in the middle of the balmy zone. It seems clear that most stars will be found to have planets (we are above 30%, and our present detection methods are very crude).

Still there does not seem to be many civilizations out there. As Enrico Fermi put it:”Where is everybody?”

Far enough from the dangerous galactic center, with its zooming stars, high radiation, and gigantic black hole, but not far enough to miss the full wealth of the periodic table, with its many elements, there is a narrow band all around the galaxy, the inhabitable zone, with at least 50 billion suns (within the trillion suns of the Milky Way).

Everything indicates that there are billions of colonizable planets in the inhabitable zone of our galaxy: colonialism has a great future (once we find how to get there). Life could have started on many of these planets. But on most of these, it was quickly annihilated: hellish, incandescent “super-earths” (rocky planet with masses up to 10 times Earth) ready to fall into their star, abound.

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INGREDIENTS FOR LIFE: MAGNETOSPHERE, TECTONICS, MOON…

The obvious candidate for the start of life is next door. It is Mars (Venus may have qualified too, the early Sun being 25% weaker; but Venus has long turned into hell, destroying all biological remnants). Everything indicates that life started on Mars. It would be very surprising that it did not.

Probably even OUR life started there. Impacts of asteroids and comets would have thrown living material from Mars to Earth. Mars meteorites have been found in Antarctica, lying on the ice. It has been observed that the temperatures within a Mars meteorite could stay very low: no more than around 40 Celsius, during the entire Mars-Earth transfer.

The Earth stayed too hot for life much longer than Mars, due to its much greater thermal inertia, large, intense radioactive core, greater number of impacts, and having thoroughly melted after the giant impact which created our life fostering Moon.

But then, after an auspicious start, Mars lost most of most of its atmosphere (probably within a billion years or so). Why? Mars is a bit small, its gravitational attraction is weaker than Earth (it’s only 40%). But, mostly, Mars has not enough a magnetic field. During Coronal Mass Ejections, CMEs, the Sun can throw out billions of tons of material at speeds up to and above 3200 kilometers per seconds. It’s mostly electrons and protons, but helium, oxygen and even iron can be in the mix.

The worst CME known happened during the Nineteenth Century, before the rise of the electromagnetic civilization we presently enjoy. Should one such ejection reoccur now, the electromagnetic aspect of our civilization would be wiped out. It goes without saying that we are totally unprepared, and would be very surprised. Among other things, all transformers would blow up, and they take months to rebuild. we would be left with old books in paper, the old fashion way. A CME can rush to Earth in just one day. (Fortunately the Sun seems to be quieting down presently, a bit as it did during the Little Ice Age.)

When a CME strikes a planet, the upper atmosphere is hit by a giant shotgun blast. Except a shotgun blast goes around 300 meters per second, 10,000 times slower than a CME. So, per unit of mass, the kinetic energy of a powerful CME is at least ten billion times more powerful than a shotgun blast. Since the liberation speed is going to be around ten kilometers per second, on an average life supporting planet, to be hit by projectiles going at 3,000 kilometers per second is going to knock all too much of the upper air atoms into space. That’s how Mars lost most of its atmosphere. And thus its ocean and much of its greenhouse. So now Mars is desperately airless, dry, and cold.

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A cluster of new stars forming in the Serpens South cloud

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Both Mars and Venus are at the limit of the inhabitable zone. But Venus does not have a magnetic field worth this name. Thus Venus lost a lot of its hydrogen (hence water; the rest is tied up in sulfuric acid, H2SO4).

It is known that the Earth’s strong magnetic field originates from the motion of huge masses of liquid metal within.

So a solar wind shield, a magnetosphere, is tied to the plate tectonic of a very dynamical planet with a powerful nuclear reactor deep inside. Whereas Venus and Mars are tectonically inert, at least, most of the time; maybe they wake up every half a billion years or so, for a big eruption. If Mars and Venus had been very tectonically active planets, may be they would be teeming with life (but that depends upon the distribution of heavy radioactive nuclei in a gathering solar system, an unknown subject, obviously non trivial, since Earth got them, and not the other two).

In any case the Earth’s magnetic shield protects life from the worst abuse of the Sun, as it deflects most of the CMEs out and around (they sneak back meekly as Aurora Borealis).

Another factor in the stable environment Earth provides for life is the Moon. The Earth-Moon system divides its angular momentum, between each other and the orbital motion of the Moon. This prevents the Earth to lay its rotation axis on its side: such a wobbling could not be compensated by the rest of the system. So it does not happen.

Mars, though, not being so impaired, wobbles between 15 and 35 degrees (causing weird, pronounced super-seasonal variations).

In any case, everything indicates that extremely primitive life appears quickly. But complex life needs time, lots of time, to evolve. Animal life and intelligence needs even more time. However, what strikes me in the new solar systems discovered so far, is how alien and unstable they are (this is partly a bias of the present detection methods).

Many of these systems have huge Jupiter styles planets in low orbit around their stars. It’s pretty clear that they fell down there, destroying the entire inner system in their path.

Other notions threaten life; gamma ray explosions, supernovas, and simply passing next to another star, throwing a solar system into chaos, and some Jupiters down into a fatal spiral. Our Sun, though, is pretty much cruising far from any star, in a cosmic void right now, perhaps left by a supernova explosion. Maybe we have been lucky for 4 billion years.

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COSMIC GRANDEUR VERSUS MONKEY BUSINESS:

Many a physicist, or cosmologist, talks about the beginning of time, and other various notions pertaining to the grandest imagined machinery of the universe, as if they had found God, and it was themselves they were looking for (as Obama would put it). They claim to know their garden, the universe, pretty well (having apparently being there, at the moment of creation).

Verily, what we know for sure is what we see in pictures, and that’s plenty:

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Hubble Ultra Deep Field: 10,000 galaxies. How many men?

Notions such as the “edge of the universe” are much less scientifically robust than some scientists claim. When some talk about the “First Three Minutes”, one can only laugh, even if countless Nobel Prizes in physics subscribe to the notion. Physics is relative, the search for glory, absolute. At least so do monkeys behave.

The concept of time in Quantum Mechanics and Relativity are in complete contradiction. One is absolute, the other relative. So nobody knows for sure what time is, and what is truly its relation to space (nor do we know what space is, much beyond the pretty pictures given by the telescopes). Speaking of the history of time is completely meaningless, except as poetry. Or scientific sounding poetry. Too many holes in the logic.

Even using standard science to buttress one’s reflection, the size of the universe could well be at least a 1,000 bigger than the 14 billion light year piece that we presently observe. In truth, we have literally no idea. Even when sticking to conventional theory, which predicts only one thing in that respect, namely that the universe is bigger than what we see (it predicts it by requiring it actually, see below).

Another thing is sure: it’s incredibly immense out there, and not just in physical size, but also in conceptual size. We know lower bounds for the universe in size and complexity, but have no idea whatsoever about the upper bounds. Dark Energy is a perfect example. Fifteen years ago, Dark Energy was unknown. Now it makes up 74% of the mass of the universe.

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PRESENTING SCIENTIFIC PHILOSOPHY AS SCIENCE IS NOT WISE:

It is not a good thing when highly uncertain science is presented as certain, just as much as really true parts of science. It is not just immodest. It undermines, and threatens, science deeply.

Because presenting as certain what is not so is just a lie. But science is truth, and that is why society supports it.

To present as true what is not so ridiculizes the notion of certainty. When, ultimately, the ineluctable collapse of immodest pseudo-certainty occurs, all of science gets slashed with doubt. American witches can run as republican candidates for the US Senate on completely crazed platforms, mumbling about mice with human brains (this happened in the last USA election). Scientists ought not to make craziness respectable by leveraging it themselves. Crazy is crazy, especially when a scientist does it. It’s craziness squared.

Make no mistake: speculation is central to science and even more to philosophy. Just speculation ought to be labeled as such. When I talk about my own TOW theory, I do not present it as fact and certitude.

Most of recent (last 120 years) physics was totally unexpected. A lot of it is true, no doubt, in some sense. Some of it is completely false, too, most probably, in the most fundamental sense. The more fundamental science gets, the more it gets subjected to representations which can be misleading. Thus when some physiology or solid state physics gets established, it will not be shattered. Not so for Quantum Field Theory (most of which being an extrapolation over an energy domain where it has not been tested).

Science, like philosophy, is not just a body of knowledge, but also a method. Both have to use common sense as much as possible. Philosophy uses the external edge of knowledge, the first inklings, the first warnings, the smallest indices, the irreproducible experiments. Thus any scientist searching for really shattering new science will pass through the philosophical method, as a mandatory passage to greater certainty.

When science is proclaimed, it has to be certain. Science is truth in which one can have faith. A lot of the most glitzy cosmology comes short of that. (Thus the adventures of the alleged Big Bang should not be used as an argument to fund expensive accelerators: there are enough good reasons to fund them, not to use the bad ones!) The surest part of cosmology is actually its pretty pictures.

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INFLATE OUR CLAIMS, IF THE OLD ONES DID NOT WORK OUT:

All of recent conventional cosmology’s biggest and noisiest concepts rest on something called the Inflaton Field. One could say that it is just as much a rabbit out of a hat as in the best circus acts. There is no justification for it, except to explain what we see: something very big, very homogeneous, apparently contradicting relativity. The universe in its entirity.

The mystery that Cosmic Inflation tries to explain was this: as new regions of the universe come into view (at the speed of light!), it is observed that the new regions are exactly as the region we already know; same aspect, same background temperature, etc. How did they know how to look the same? They could not have talked to each other! Light did not have time to go from one to the other!

According to standard Einsteinian relativity, our region, and those regions, some on the opposite side of the universe from each other, have no common history! (Those new regions which appear are NOT within our past light cone… To use relativity lingo.)

In the USSR, Einstein’s work was criticized in minutia, for ideological reasons (Note1). So the great astrophysicist Zeldovitch came up in 1965 with the idea of inflation (the discovery is attributed to Guth, 1980, in the USA, because the USA buried the USSR, and America is a super power blessed by God, as the resident of the White House reminds his flock every day).

Einstein’s Relativity speaks of the speed of light within space, but not of the speed of space (so to speak). Speed of light is limited within space, speed of space is not limited. So it was breezingly supposed space had inflated at a gigantic speed, before slowing down. So the new regions coming into view had a sort of common history, after all.

From a philosophical perspective, to invent an explanation to explain a specific effect is called an ad hoc hypothesis. It can be a correct way to advance science, if it has predictive power (But differently from the neutrino, or the W, or the Higgs, how do you check for it? Finding the Inflaton particle? The Inflaton is supposed to have given birth to most other particles). In the meantime, it provides some hand waving to explai away an otherwise obvious contradiction with Relativity.

But it is not enough that some of the best theories in physics are weird, with the logical consistency of gruyere.

The apparent discovery of Dark Matter and especially Dark Energy, have brought a new twist. Dark Energy is completely unexplainable.

Dark Energy attracted attention to the fact that Quantum field theory is both the most precise and the most false theory ever contemplated (QFT is off in its prediction of vacuum energy by a factor of ten to the power 120, or so, the greatest mistake in theory, in the entire history of hominids… it would make even baboons scream in dismay.)

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Billions of galaxies can be seen when we look as far as we can see. Here is a tiny detail, as far as we can see, without using a gravitational lens. [NASA-ESA Hubble]. Baffling. We are going to need a bigger imagination.

It’s hard for me to escape the feeling that the universe is much older than what standard cosmology believes, as I look at these very ancient, but very diverse galaxies in a piece of sky (Note 2).

Dark energy was discovered when it was realized, in super novae studies, that the universe’s expansion was accelerating (so energy is injected).

A natural question, though is this:”If, as it turned out, the expansion is accelerating now, maybe it was at standstill much earlier?” Then the universe, even the small piece we can see, would be older and bigger than we have imagined so far. Don’t be afraid of the simple questions. Einstein asked himself at 16 what would happen if he looked at a mirror when going at the speed of light (Note 1).

Time will tell, as long as astronomy gets massively funded. Astronomy (astrophysics, cosmology, etc.) is one of the fields of science where fabulous progress is certain if it gets funded enough (the breakthroughs it made and will make in basic technology, to design the new instruments are very useful to the rest of society too).

In any case, the national debt is secure: it has a long way to go, before it can fill up the entire universe…

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Patrice Ayme

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Note 1: Einstein’s views on space and time came under the label “Theory of Relativity”. That incorporated Lorentz’s work on the correct space-time transformation group compatible with Maxwell equations.

That is why looking at a mirror will not work, at the speed of light, if the conventional addition of speed used by Galileo was really true, because light could not catch up: light could not be seen at the speed of light (just as sound cannot be heard if one goes away from it at the speed of sound). So Galilean Relativity did not work (the first scientists who pointed that out were not Einstein, but Lorentz, Fitzgerald, and Poincare’, among others; Lorentz got the Nobel Prize for it).

Soviet scientists were irritated by the exaggeratedly sounding “Relativity” (since only Marx was absolute). They pointed out that the “Theory of General Relativity” should be called the “Theory of Gravitation”, and then they made more pointed critiques.

Ideology is important in science. The “multiverse” theory, a support of string theory, is a case in point. The multiverse ideology exists, because string theory has nothing to say about the measurement process, so it sweeps that inconvenient truth below an infinity of rugs. The multiverse cannot be fought scientifically, because it is not science. But it is philosophically grotesque, since it consists in claiming that all lies are true, somewhere else.

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Note 2: The oldest galaxy was detected by Europeans at the Very Large Telescope in the high Chilean desert, in 2004, using a galactic super cluster as a lens (giving the VLT an aperture between 40 and 80 meters), had a redshift of 10, with an apparent age of more than 13 billion years.

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Note on the notes: What did Einstein do in Relativity? He used an axiomatic method, with two axioms only (Principle of modern Relativity and Constancy of Light Speed).

Both axioms had been proclaimed by Poincare’, as Einstein knew, but Poincare’ had not realized that, with these two axioms only, all the known formulas could be derived in a few pages, as Einstein did (after doing away with the “Ether”, the substance in which waves were supposed to be waving). Einstein said he was influenced by empiricist philosophy from Hume and Mach.

The final story has not been written yet: and if the waves made the space? (TOW.)