The Washington Post had an article in their science section a few days ago announcing “Scientists are baffled: What’s up with the universe?” It is a welcome relief to see mainstream reporting paying some attention to the massive problems that absolutely dog contemporary gravitational cosmology. One more frequently encounters a breathless declaration that this or that latest “discovery” “confirms” the Standard Model of Gravitational Cosmology (“SMGC”),i yet which then goes on to announce that we’ll need a “whole new physics” to make sense of this new data. (This article from The Guardian is slightly more balanced than many of the sources that later picked up the same story.) But the deeply problematic nature of SMGC is not really news, nor are the issues mentioned in the WaPo article even the most directly pressing matters. An extensive review of many of these problems may be found in the newsletters of the A(lternative) Cosmology Group. While a serious measure of background in mathematics and physics is required to read the listed and cited papers at any level of comprehension, a person with a basic background in these topics will be able to follow the newsletter discussions themselves and gain a modest acquaintance with the issues.
There are yet other issues that appear where SMGC intersects with micro-physics, in the realm of quantum mechanics. Part of the problem is that the mathematical bases of these two realms of inquiry – which, in the case of SMGC, is Einstein’s general theory of relativity (“GR”) – are built around radically different and largely incompatible kinds of mathematical structures: quantum mechanics, for all of its peculiarities, is linear in nature, while GR is fundamentally non-linear. This unification of the macro and the micro levels continues to defy serious scientific efforts, but the emphasis here is most definitely on “serious.” Unserious – because blatantly unscientific – efforts have given us the “string theory” nonsense which, while mathematically clever (at least by some accounts) is empirically vacuous, and as such devoid of any actual scientific content. Indeed, string-theory is so lacking in any basic scientific standing that not only is it empty of any actual empirical content, it lacks even the possibility of such content. Philosophers being disdained by the gate-keepers of SMGC – persons such as Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Sean Carroll – one may also turn to the observations of scientists such as Lee Smolin and Peter Woit for confirmation of these statements. Continue reading