The death of heat death

Blog 20160330 The death of heat death

Rick Dutkiewicz

I just read the New Scientist article "When will the universe end? Not for at least 2.8 billion years".

The article is a "Reader's Digest" adaptation (I like to say "short-attention-span version") of a paper that can be found in the General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology section of the Cornell University Library, "Observational support for approaching cosmic doomsday". [ http://arxiv.org/abs/1602.06211v1 ]

I encourage everyone to take a quick scan of that paper. It shows how many of these popular woo-woo science articles come from conclusions drawn from a study of groups of models. Groups of models that are based on mathematical conjectures built upon the assumptions of The Big Bang narrative; a reality born of an immense explosion caused by "random fluctuations", followed by an "Inflationary Period", continuing with an "Expanding Universe" which consists of a 4-or-more-dimensional space/time "fabric", populated mostly by dark matter and dark energy, along with a little baryonic matter which is no more than the sub-atomic particles that pop in and out of existence at the quantum level, held together by fields of attractive force. Isn't that the overall picture we are asked to accept?

Drawing heavily on Bayesian probability theory, this paper brings together a group of cosmological models and draws conclusions after assigning probability values to each specific model. But, but, ... 

The very idea of "heat death" contradicts the law of conservation of matter and just about every other "law of nature" that we can articulate. That's why scientists who discuss black holes, big bangs, quantum randomness, dark matter & dark energy, string theories, multi-universes, etc. always have to say "this is where the laws of physics break down". Oh really?

The ridiculousness of this kind of thinking is paralleled in many parts of modern cosmology (and religion of course). Einstein explained gravity with the idea of "gravity wells" created by the curvature of space. A more massive object attracts a smaller object because it bends the space/time "fabric" downward to create a 3-dimensional "well" that the smaller object is sucked "down" into. How is that not explaining gravity with gravity? Your doctor might be very smart, but if you hear him say, "your skin is inflamed because you have Inflamed Skin Syndrome", you better ask some more questions.  

You haven't explained anything if you use a word or concept to define itself. It's the old "tortoises all the way down" fantasy. You think you are being logical because of all your beautiful mathematical formulae scribbled across multiple chalkboards, but you are kidding yourself. Just because you can make great observations and calculations, that doesn't mean you have a grasp of reality. Ptolemy proved that you can have a beautifully complex and even largely workable model of reality that is completely wrong. His beautiful conceptualization was just a house of cards waiting to fall as soon as reality tapped him on the shoulder.

Mathematics (along with its study of statistical logic and probability theory) only becomes useful when your terms can be correlated to matter or the motion of matter. When you use a "random" variable in your equation, that doesn't translate to a "causeless" event in reality. When your equation puts out negative numbers or irrational numbers, it's a good hint that you are no longer correlating to real matter or motion. For example, when I have 40 apples in a basket, and I subtract 40 apples, the answer to that simple arithmetic is Zero. But, just because the 40 apples were real and the motion of removing the 40 apples was real, that doesn't mean that there is such a thing as "zero apples". Zero is a very useful concept, but it is not a real thing or action.

When physicists take real observations of matter and motion, and put them together to create a mathematical model that results in "heat death", that doesn't mean "heat death" has to be a real thing or a possible event.

What ingredients go into these "Heat Death" computer models? Models that predict events that will happen billions and billions of years from now, and that will encompass the entire Big Bang universe?

Each model recipe includes:

• 2 cups Empirical Data (finely diced with plus and minus margins of errors)
• 1 bunch of statistical probability formulae (to taste)
• 1/2 cup crumbled assumptions (the more inner contradictions, the better)
• 2 Tablespoons (heaping) of random fluctuations
• Grease the pan with "a family of cosmological models featuring future singularities".
• Lightly flour the pan with your choice of statistical probability philosophy.
• Serve cold to friends hungry for reinforcement of their assumptions of indeterminism and finity.

"Does probability measure the real, physical tendency of something to occur or is it a measure of how strongly one believes it will occur?"

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