Physicists Debate Hawking’s Idea That the Universe Had No Beginning

2 Replies, 337 Views

Physicists Debate Hawking’s Idea That the Universe Had No Beginning

Natalie Wolchover


Quote:In their 2017 paper, published in Physical Review Letters, Turok and his co-authors approached Hartle and Hawking’s no-boundary proposal with new mathematical techniques that, in their view, make its predictions much more concrete than before. “We discovered that it just failed miserably,” Turok said. “It was just not possible quantum mechanically for a universe to start in the way they imagined.” The trio checked their math and queried their underlying assumptions before going public, but “unfortunately,” Turok said, “it just seemed to be inescapable that the Hartle-Hawking proposal was a disaster.”

The paper ignited a controversy. Other experts mounted a vigorous defense of the no-boundary idea and a rebuttal of Turok and colleagues’ reasoning. “We disagree with his technical arguments,” said Thomas Hertog, a physicist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium who closely collaborated with Hawking for the last 20 years of the latter’s life. “But more fundamentally, we disagree also with his definition, his framework, his choice of principles. And that’s the more interesting discussion.”

After two years of sparring, the groups have traced their technical disagreement to differing beliefs about how nature works. The heated — yet friendly — debate has helped firm up the idea that most tickled Hawking’s fancy. Even critics of his and Hartle’s specific formula, including Turok and Lehners, are crafting competing quantum-cosmological models that try to avoid the alleged pitfalls of the original while maintaining its boundless allure.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2020-12-19, 04:40 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Physicists Debate Hawking’s Idea That the Universe Had No Beginning

Natalie Wolchover

These physicists seem to share Hawking's inability to see the fundamental philosophical or metaphysical flaw of a theory that has no origin story for the the very basic architecture of our reality - especially the structure of mathematics itself, quantum mechanics and relativity. He seems to just assume the existence of these things as an a priory reality that has always existed, even though this intricate structure (at least to me) shouts an intelligent origin in a supreme mind. Hawking's theory simply seems to have no foundation.
(This post was last modified: 2020-12-19, 06:26 PM by nbtruthman.)
[-] The following 2 users Like nbtruthman's post:
  • Typoz, Sciborg_S_Patel
(2020-12-19, 06:23 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: These physicists seem to share Hawking's inability to see the fundamental philosophical or metaphysical flaw of a theory that has no origin story for the the very basic architecture of our reality - especially the structure of mathematics itself, quantum mechanics and relativity. He seems to just assume the existence of these things as an a priory reality that has always existed, even though this intricate structure (at least to me) shouts an intelligent origin in a supreme mind. Hawking's theory simply seems to have no foundation.

Goes back to the Lewontin quote ->

Quote:Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.

Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen...

...The primary problem is not to provide the public with the knowledge of how far it is to the nearest star and what genes are made of...Rather, the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth.


It's clear there's a desire to evangelize the Physicalist Faith. You see the same thing in philosophy, so many so called problems with consciousness and its aspects (thinking/feeling/willing) are born of adherence to this religion.

Of course the truth [about] this view is, as Brian Whitworth notes, that it's completely hollow ->

"...There are equations, proofs and applications, but the models that work make no physical sense, e.g. in Feynman's sum over histories an electron travels all possible paths between two points at once, but how can one electron do that? Theory should increase understanding, but in physics it seems to take it away. In wave-particle duality particles morph into waves, denying the very sense of what waves and particles are. Given a choice between meaning and mathematics, physics chose the latter and it shows. Quantum theory still isn’t taught in high schools because who can teach what makes no sense? Modern physics is a mathematical feast that at its core is entirely empty of meaning. It is a hollow science, built on impressive equations about quantum states that everyone agrees don’t exist! And physics has chosen this way of no meaning as a deliberate strategy..."
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2020-12-20, 02:59 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
[-] The following 1 user Likes Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • nbtruthman

  • View a Printable Version
Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)