Has Physics Gotten Something Really Important Really Wrong?
Blog 20160706 Has Physics Gotten Something Really Important Really Wrong?
Thanks to Reid and George for the heads up on the latest attempt to reform the Big Bang Theory (BBT). Ten years ago, Lee Smolin wrote a well-received book questioning some aspects of regressive physics:
Smolin, Lee, 2006, The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next: New York, NY, Mariner Books; Reprint edition (September 4, 2007), 416 p.
That one was easy, what with intellectual giants, such as Roger Penrose also pointing out that string theory is an extra-Euclidean dead end. Many others recognize that string theory has no chance of achieving experimental verification. There is no there there.
Now, with philosopher Roberto Unger, Smolin has written another mainstream attempt at reform:
Unger, Roberto Mangabeira, and Smolin, Lee, 2015, The singular universe and the reality of time: A proposal in natural philosophy: New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 566 p.
Of course, all such well-meant labors by “reformists” are doomed to failure. That is because the problems with both physics and cosmology are systemic. The contradictions will remain as long as those theories are based on incorrect assumptions. In the latest salvo, Unger and Smolin simply point out that the recent efforts to patch up the BBT are oxymoronic. There is only one universe. That is what we mean by the prefix “uni.” Duh? The multiverse and parallel universe add-ons are vacuous.
Anyone who accepts the BBT, however, must accept extra-Euclidean dimensions. Without Einstein’s “spacetime,” the BBT is dead. However, reformists, by definition, are reluctant to propose a wholesale dismissal of relativity. Despite his objection to the use of a surplus of dimensions in string theory, Smolin remains fast in the BBT camp. That is the crux of reformism: accept one part of the theoretical mess, but reject another.
That is not especially unique. We do that all the time when doing “ordinary” science. But these are revolutionary times, which becomes obvious when theoretical claims become absurd. Like the “multiverse” idea, each patch on the edifice makes it so ridiculous that even mainstream folks cannot ignore it. Nonetheless, these patches cannot be dismissed as easy as Smolin implies. No matter how outrageous, there are reasons for each of them. One is the discovery by Kashlinsky and others that galaxy clusters have a preferred direction of motion. This means that there must be, in the usual parlance, a “great attractor” outside the observed universe. In our book on the infinite hierarchal universe, we speculated that this observation might be evidence for the “Local Mega Vortex” around which the observed universe is rotating.
The explosion of the universe out of nothing may not be absurd to cosmogonists, religious folks, and those who believe everything in the newspaper. But the rest of us are not so sure. Instead, some of us feel more comfortable with the Fifth Assumption of Science, conservation (Matter and the motion of matter can be neither created nor destroyed). That stark contradiction of the BBT feeds our doubt and seems to be part of the inspiration for the compromise suggested by the multiverse folks. Like Smolin’s critique, that small step out of the BBT box is hopeful. We will see more and more such reformist attempts in the coming decades. According to de Climont, there are already 8,000 dissidents who do not accept certain aspects of relativity and quantum mechanics. At least 550 of these have theories that use aether. It will seem as though the BBT is being nibbled to death by ducks.
Nevertheless, my prediction is that none of these reform attempts will have much effect. The whole edifice must be replaced by Infinite Universe Theory, which eschews finity, relativity, and aether denial.
 Blog title courtesy of Adam Frank in his review of the latest attempt at reforming the unreformable: [ http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/06/28/483805061/has-physics-gotten-something-really-important-really-wrong?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20160629&utm_campaign=npr_email_a_friend&utm_term=storyshare ]
 It got 4.4 of 5 stars on Amazon out of 240 reviewers. But check out the 9 critical 1- star reviews from diehard regressives to see just how nasty the emperors can get when their foolishness is called out by gentle opponents lacking significant crankiness.
 Penrose, Roger, 2005, The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe: New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1099 p. [ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0679454438/ref=dp_proddesc_0/102-0621284-3916918?%5Fencoding=UTF8&n=283155
 Kuhn, T.S., 1996, The structure of scientific revolutions (3rd edition): Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 212 p.
 Kashlinsky, A., Atrio-Barandela, F., Kocevski, D., and Ebeling, H., 2008, A measurement of large-scale peculiar velocities of clusters of galaxies: Results and cosmological implications: The Astrophysical Journal, v. 686, p. L49–L52.
 Puetz, Stephen J., and Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Universal cycle theory: Neomechanics of the hierarchically infinite universe: Denver, Outskirts Press, 626 p. [ http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/
 de Climont, Jean, 2016, The worldwide list of dissident scientists [ https://books.google.fr/books?id=KnzBDjnGIgYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=climont+dissident&hl=fr&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=climont%20dissident&f=true