Science faction

The Scientific Curmudgeon ponders whether theoretical physics is going soft:

Roger Penrose and V. G. Gurzadyan recently proposed that minute ripples in the cosmic microwave background- the afterglow of the big bang- originated from the collision of monster black holes in another universe that preceded our cosmos, and may have spawned it; moreover, our universe might be just one of an infinite series spawned by such cataclysms.

My reaction to reading about this idea was: Far out! Penrose, one of the most famous, creative physicists in the world, along with Gurzadyan had dusted off the old oscillating universe theory of the cosmos, which I always liked. But not for a nanosecond did I think their proposal was true. The proposal is literally too far out; it can never be confirmed in the way that the existence of quarks has been confirmed or the big bang itself.

This is the problem I’ve always had with the various proposed “theories” of the multiverse: if a proposal can’t be confirmed, it’s not science.

Physics is at a real crossroads with the multiverse. If the majority of physicists accept it as science, the field of physics is doomed; if the majority relegate it to speculation, physics will continue on the path of genuine science.

Stay tuned for a mega-post on the multiverse in the coming months.

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5 thoughts on “Science faction

  1. If your “idea” sounds like something that came out of a late night college bull session (maybe aided by something a little extra passed around), maybe you should rethink your idea!

  2. Heh.

    At the brainstorming stage of science, nothing should be off limits. But when it’s time to develop a serious model and the one you’ve come up with is incapable of making predictions that can be rigorously tested, yeah, it’s time to rethink.

  3. Sure, at the brainstorming stage that’s when one can toss out whatever.

    But one shouldn’t do that in public, and it’s even worse when two do it.

    Penrose and Gurzadyan should have kept it out of the public sphere until they could make predictions that can be rigorously tested.

    As it stands, it weakens their credibility.

  4. It weakens their credibility when they make such proposals under the banner of science. If they were to say, hey, these are just some fun, crazy ideas we’re tossing out, then I think it’s okay to do that publicly.

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