A Cyclical Universe?

December 30, 2010 | By | 7 Replies More

I like the proverbial “outside the box” thinking, and you don’t get much more outside the box than this interpretation of patterns found in the cosmic background radiation.

The beauty of science is that it is a well-constructed box we’re trying to get outside of, and it is logical plausible thinking that gets us there. The math behind theories like this involves tensors and the like that my courses in partial differential equations touched on so many years ago, and that I was forced to play with on a graduate level in fluid dynamics somewhat later, but still also so many years ago. I neither remember any of it, nor knew it well at the time. Amazing stuff, this theoretical physics.

Science does have all the answers. We just don’t have all the science.

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Category: Astronomy, Science

About the Author ()

Jim is a husband of more than 27 years, father of four home-schooled sons (26, 23, 16 and 14), engineer delighting in virtually all things technical, with more than a passing interest in history, religions, arts, most sciences (particularly physics) and skepticism.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Jim: As you can see from my many postings regarding science at this site, I rely heavily and often on good rigorous peer-reviewed science. Although science is always provisional, it inevitably wins out where it conflicts with superstition. Or at least that is my general rule.

    I do wonder, however, whether science could ever really have ALL of the answers. Science is great at drawing correlations among the phenomena. Scientists have developed breath-takingly beautiful and fruitfully elegant explanations.

    But here's one thing that I think is beyond the reach of science: Why is there anything rather than nothing? Why is there a universe (or, at least, a multi-verse)? I don't see how there would ever be a way to discern an answer to this question in a rigorous testable way.

    And for those who might be tempted to suggest that we thus "need" religion to answer this question, I would suggest that "God" is not any sort of explanation. "God" is a word, a story, and a big bucket of speculation. Inserting "God" into a scientific inquiry ends meaningful inquiry. It never begets any further scientific research or findings.

    Perhaps the best we're ever going to do regarding my question is to say "I don't know." Though many people can't bear to live with that, I can.

    In a series of posts I titled "Mending Fences" I go further to suggest that there are many things that skeptics believe that they can't prove, and will not ever be able to prove. See here: http://dangerousintersection.org/2010/07/14/mendi….

    Thank you for your post. I'm only taking issue with one short sentence: "Science does have all the answers." I'm not yet sold on that with regard to some questions. Maybe we will never know some things.

    I also think it possible that perhaps we just don't know how to ask some questions. Maybe some of our questions are incoherent, despite apparent syntactical and grammatical precision.

  2. Jim Razinha says:

    Sometimes the "answer" is that we cannot know. And that is still an answer that science can provide.

    The theoreticians can create a model of what they think happened just millionths of a second after the bang, but math fails on the other side of the singularity. That falls into the "we cannot know" category. Hawking's assertion this past year that our universe could have come into being without some external force took out the supernatural factor while retaining congruence with the "we cannot know" what happened before, but we need not know for all this to be.

    This theory of a cyclical universe is not without critics (nor not peer reviewed) and necessitates all the scientific guns coming to bear on it to see if it can withstand a rigorous treatment.

    As for not knowing how to ask questions, well, yes! That is part of not having all the science.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Thanks, Jim. It sounds that we are on the same page.

  4. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Erich,

    Science can provide us with all the answers.

    The problem is that we don't have all the questions… yet.

  5. Hi Jim

    You might like the alternative (evolutionary) take on the nature of nature in my recent book "The Goldilocks Effect".

    The E-book version is now available for free download at the "Unusual Perspectives" website:

    Cheers

    Pete

  6. Jim Razinha says:

    Peter, thanks! I DL'd both to check them out.

  7. Dan Klarmann says:

    There are many wacky ideas on the edge of our understanding of the universe and anything within. Eventually, some of them will prove true.

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