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article imageOp-Ed: Big Bang to End in Big Rip?

By Paul Wallis     Oct 22, 2007 in Science
The theory is that dark matter will engulf the universe. Or maybe not. Maybe there’ll be a Big Crunch, or a Big Freeze. Or not. Maybe proton decay will set in when all matter is locked up in black holes and dead stars. They’re a happy lot, physicists.
APOD has a series of links to the various theories, and it’s fun to read, because you can argue with practically all of it.
I have a basic rule: when someone says a force or energy will attain infinity, they’re wrong, mathematically, to start with. No finite set of integers can produce infinity, or anything that deserves to be called infinity. That kills off an awful lot of theories.
There's no lack of theories about the end of the universe.
There's also no indication whatever that any of them are right. Apparently setting criteria for standards of proof has gone out of fashion. How odd.
“Dead” matter isn’t actually dead. Nor are “dead stars.” They interact with matter around them, and generate activity. One glaringly obvious thing about cosmic physics is that it’s long on theory but extremely short on successful theories.
They’ve recently seen ancient galaxies, the first, in the Ultra Deep Field. From that mill pond of matter came the ferocious universe we now see, colliding galaxies by the thousand, and a universe which looks like a piece of fiery steel wool. A huge hole, comprised of almost literally nothing, was found recently, and that wasn’t in the script, either.
I could go on forever, but a better idea would be if people keep track of these theories, and see how long they last.
There were a lot of omniscient people in the 1980s who have since been proven entirely, cosmically, wrong. Pronouncements were made, Einstein was fearlessly agreed with, and everyone then went off and applauded themselves.
This was pre-Mandelbrot, pre-Hubble, pre-Chandra, pre-Grace, pre-SOHO, and almost pre-computers.
Pre modern science and mathematics, in many ways.
Scientific result, zero. You can find the theories at garage sales in Third World countries, but not being taught any more.
What a surprise. Almost as if they didn't have a clue in the first place.
This particular racket, which gets more space in news articles than it deserves, has been going on for a while. Answers there are, provided you're not tactless enough to ask any meaningful ones.
I'm tactless enough...
Here’s a few questions:
The eternally expanding universe seems to be crashing into itself with an obsessive regularity. Expanding where, exactly? If it’s expanding, why is it crashing into itself? Or is it just possible we don’t know what we’re talking about, because we haven’t found a working principle?
Black holes “won’t even let light escape”, yet most of them have jets of energy light years long streaming from them and seem to act like turbines, generating a lot of gravity and energy as the galaxies swirl around them.
The difference in mass between the original, Ultra Deep Field universe and the present is billions to one. Where did the extra mass and energy come from? Newton didn’t say anything about not adding energies, he just said energies were conserved, and not lost.
So if you add energy, don’t you get more energy which can convert into mass, like that nice guy from the Swiss Patent Office mentioned?
How do you get either an “open” or “closed” universe out of any of the above? Why would either be the natural result? Open or closed relative to what?
The universe as we know it is comprised of electromagnetic energies in three dimensions. We weren’t even aware of the non-visible energies until relatively recently, and some of them, like gamma rays, we barely understand. How did we suddenly become omniscient, and why do we believe there’s not more to be learned, before we start writing off the universe?
We’re now including “phantom energies” to make up what we don’t know and try to produce theories. This equates to making a wedding cake using a friendly teddy bear and a lot of good intentions as the ingredients. Astronomy has to get out of the habit of assuming something explains everything.
Anything can be used as an explanation for anything, but what use is it, if it’s the wrong explanation?
Does the theory, "Duck + washing machine = universe" mean very much?
The scientific arguments are a bit infantile in some respects. Apparently if there are two sides to an argument, one of them must be right. So the Moon is either made of green cheese, or Gruyere, no other options.
Just to add a bit of interest, quantum physics don’t work on the same laws. Nor has anyone yet done much about including them in the thinking about the universe. There is one theory, but that’s one, solitary thought, among tens of thousands of scientists.
This isn’t science. It’s astrology and attention getting. Facts are needed, not dribble with footnotes.
There’s also a certain bitchiness which isn’t a great character reference to the state of the debate. I’m not a professional astronomer. I can write something like this because I can’t be professionally bullied and ostracized by pseudo-academics and have my career threatened by cosmic hacks.
A real astronomer would be taking quite a risk, particularly about the "infinite integer" which underpins so much lousy mathematics. People actually build careers on this garbage. it's their claim to fame.
Facts first, egos last.
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