Infinity and falsification of the Big Bang Theory

PSI Blog 20211108 Infinity and falsification of the Big Bang Theory


Here is another great question from Abhishek Chakravartty:


“In PSI Blog 20211025, you wrote that the discovery of elderly galaxies at the limits of observation falsifies the hypothesized 13.8-billion-year age of the universe. So, we can hypothesize another age of the universe older than 13.8 billion years. So, in order to falsify that hypothesized age of the universe, we will need to find something even older than that age. But the universe is infinite and so it is impossible for human beings to have access to all regions of the universe. So even if there is something older than that hypothesized age of the universe, human beings will not be able to discover it if it exists in a region of the universe which is not accessible to human beings. Is that the reason you say that infinity prevents us from falsifying fundamental assumptions, whether they be scientific or religious and also agree with David Galston's statement that if there is no chance to prove something false, then there is no way to say that it’s true?”


[GB: Abhi: Thanks so much for your wonderful explanation of the relationship between infinity and falsification. In 1934 Popper wrote a whole book on the impossibility of producing a complete, finite proof of any scientific claim. But it was not until the 1959 English edition that he used the word “infinity” (“New Appendix vi).[1]  Even then, he used it on only 8 pages of his 513-page tome, giving it only as an agnostical alternative to finity. A later publication indicates Popper was an indeterminist[2]. Nonetheless, Popper’s little touch on infinity produced a big row among regressive philosophers of science.


Your statement that “if there is no chance to prove something false, then there is no way to say that it’s true” sums up their conundrum. The “logical positivists” attacked by Popper were the most concerned. They held fast to “classical determinism,” which, like classical mechanics, assumed finity. According to them, each effect should have a finite number of causes. That was consupponible with Einstein’s creationistic assumption of perfectly empty space. With the Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions), however, no experiment can be performed in the absence of the aether denied by Einstein. Thus, with aether permeating everything the results are always different each time an experiment is performed. Strict absolutists might be inclined to see falsification in each tiny variation. Bench scientists, however, tend to ignore such mis-applied “scientific” philosophy. Instead, they quantify the variation, most often presenting a + or – for every measurement. Measurements that are not reproducible, whether they are attempts at confirmation or falsification are discarded.


You, Galston, and Collingwood are correct that fundamental assumptions cannot be falsified or proven. That is because they are all-inclusive in the same way we can never completely prove “there are material causes for all effects.” Because infinity obtains, we only can test specific claims (secondary assumptions or hypotheses) derived from fundamental assumptions. Successful predictions only provide support for the “truth” of a theory while a single failure implies it is false. Falsifying specific claims so far has not been enough for cosmogonists[3] to discard the Big Bang Theory. Here is an example from Assis and Neves (1995) concerning the “temperature of the universe”[4]:


“As we have seen in this paper, Gamow and collaborators obtained from T » 5 K to T = 50 K in monotonic order (5 K, ³ 5 K, 7 K and 50 K)... These are quite poor predictions compared with Guillaume, Eddington, Regener and Nernst, McKellar and Herzberg, Finlay-Freundlich and Max Born, who arrived at, respectively: 5K < T < 6 K, T = 3.1 K, T = 2.8 K, T = 2.3 K, 1.9 K <T < 6.0 K! All of these authors obtained these values from measurement and or theoretical calculations, but none of them utilized the Big Bang. This means that the discovery of Penzias and Wilson cannot be considered decisive evidence in favour of the Big Bang. Quite the contrary, as the models of a Universe in dynamical equilibrium predicted its value before Gamow and with better accuracy.”[5]


As usual, ad hocs and recalculations solved that little problem.[6] I expect the same when the new James Webb Space Telescope eventually leads to the discovery of still more “elderly galaxies” at the limit of its observation, as predicted by Infinite Universe Theory.[7] The currently accepted “13.8-billion-year age of the universe” will have been falsified by an advance in technology just like the 3-billion-year age proclaimed by Gamow in 1949.[8] Will that lead to the collapse of the Big Bang Theory? Don’t hold your breath. The BBT is the last creation theory. Its connection to religion is clear.[9]]

[1] Popper, Karl, 2010, The logic of scientific discovery: London, Routledge, 513 p.


[2] Popper, Karl, 2016, OPEN UNIVERSE: an argument for indeterminism from the postscript to the logic of scientific ... discovery: [Place of publication not identified], ROUTLEDGE


[3] Those who assume the universe had a beginning.


[4] Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (Penzias, A. A., and Wilson, R. W., 1965, A Measurement of Excess Antenna Temperature at 4080 Mc/s: The Astrophysical Journal, v. 142, p. 419. [https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1965ApJ...142..419P].


[5] Assis, A.K.T., and Neves, M.C.D., 1995, History of the 2.7 K Temperature Prior to Penzias and Wilson: Apeiron, v. 2, no. 3, p. 79-84. [Courtesy Louis Marmet]


[6] According to Wikipedia, the currently accepted temperature is 2.72548±0.00057oK


[7] Borchardt, Glenn, 2017, Infinite Universe Theory: Berkeley, California, Progressive Science Institute, 337 p. [http://go.glennborchardt.com/IUTebook].


Borchardt, Glenn, 2019, Théorie de l'univers infini (French Edition translated by Pierre Berrigan]: Berkeley, California, Progressive Science Institute, 420 p. [https://go.glennborchardt.com/IUT-French].


[8] Gamow, George, 1949, Universe 3 billion years old: Vassar Chronicle, v. VI, p. 3, 4, 7. [http://newspaperarchives.vassar.edu/cgi-bin/vassar?a=d&d=vcchro19490514-01.2.16].


[9] Borchardt, Glenn, 2020, Religious Roots of Relativity: Berkeley, California, Progressive Science Institute, 160 p. [https://go.glennborchardt.com/RRR-ebk].





1 comment:

Bligh said...

Infinity does not rule out determinism, howver,it does prevent one from proving it.
Where would science be without determinism, or Invariance as Nozick called it.