The recent stink created in scientific circles by Stephen Hawking’s angry letter to Big Bounce theorists, Ijjas, Steinhardt and Loeb, is as interesting to Psychology as it is to Physics.
Firstly the letter claims that there can be ‘no disputing’ the current model championed by Hawking and his friends, of an ever expanding Universe. This is curiously authoritarian for ‘objective’ scientists.
He was angry, you say… How interesting.
Then the letter cited just how many scientific documents exist to support the dominant model.
Our dick is way bigger than yours.
But even stranger, they then went on to say that Ijjas et al were disrespecting the scientific community by their research and rubbishing the research of the signatries, which is a glorious piece of paranoia….
By holding your opinion you are attacking me and destroying everything I stand for..
So, what makes otherwise level headed chaps suddenly become Unquestionable Authority believing that Vengeful Dissenters are out to get them?
when paradigm shifts turn your world upside down.
Something unknown is doing I don’t know what.
Ijjas et al have some compelling evidence gleaned from the European Space people, a mapping of the most ancient light, Cosmic Microwave Background, by the space probe, Plank. What they found was a puzzle and didn’t fit with what you might expect if you subscribed to the accepted veiw.
And so they said as much.
The frenzy with which this was then received is typical treatment of all mould breakers. They get pilloried and called into line like apostates. The leading lights of their day become the old guard, defending against innovation, unable to bear that their story might be but one among many.
Quantum theory itself asserts that what we see out there mostly has to do with us, so these riled physicists have had a raw nerve gouged somewhere..
what might it be?
The problem is that Science finds it very difficult to deal with some of its own conclusions….
especially when they are decidedly mystical.
And you don’t have to be a physics major to see it. The current model says that the Universe came into being 13 billion years ago. How can it make sense to say that Time came into being at a point in time? It’s a tautological argument whatever ‘age’ you put on the Universe. The reason it’s a tautological is because you have to refer to a moment in time in which you aver Time was created..
which is a tad circular.
Moreover, it is in the nature of Time to tick, and so the mains of a time when Time began, can be additionally garnished with the question of what was going on at elevenses the previous day…
The Big Bang theory is more than a scientific theory. It is a creation myth. Those that tend it, the true believers, do so with curiously sacred and tetchy devotion. Questioning into what does the Universe expand is a bit like asking an Australian Aboriginal to explain how bandicoots came from Ka-ro-ra’s armpit.
Ijjas et al propose a ‘Big Bounce’, contraction and expansion, which suggests recurring life-cycles and sentience…
within which the Universe is perhaps more of a three dimensional Mobius Strip. If you went as fast as your legs could carry you, armed with enough biscuits, you’d soon approach Earth…
The veiw that our telescopes continually approach the boundary of Creation leads to a strange condundrum. Since matter cannot approach the speed of light without becoming infinitely dense, the light of the Big Bang must precede it’s material manifestation, which means that the light of the Origin exists outside the conceivable Universe let alone the measurable Universe…
and all of a sudden Orthodoxy is plunged into sacred fire.
Not disssimilar to the goal of Consciousness as suggested by the Gnostic gospel of Thomas….
“I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, and what has not arisen in mind.” Thomas logia 17
that which is both ‘the light’ and no-thing.
Thomas Kuhn observes that folk on the cusp of paradigm change tend to behave in the same way no matter which era you find them in. They carry pitchforks and torches. He defines science as….
“a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions”. T. Kuhn
Which is why we can live with the paradox that recognises being hugely overweight is problematic whilst owning more stuff than you need is aspired to as the very symbol of success.
Can you imagine how bright the torches would burn, how pointy the garden gear, if a significant body of folk suddenly got it into their heads that having more than you need is a form of obesity and something to be troubled about?
…and that the ubiquitous collective value we’re sold, to be rich and famous, is the same as wanting to be fat? If a person’s body weight reflected average wealth then the richest of our species would put blue whales to shame.
On the side of obscene, slavering wealth, is the conditioning of centuries that associates money with salvation and the right to rule. We regard material gain as deserved and even ordained which means the stuff you stole also has the numinous power to confer legitimacy on the theft and transform it into something noble.
One of the greatest symbols of this in the West is the Spear of Longinus, now housed in the Vatican treasury, the spear that supposedly pierced the side of Christ. When Hitler invaded Austria the first and only thing he did that day was to take possesion of the Spear of Longinus from where it was kept at the time in Vienna.
The gilded Spear magically confers legitimacy on the owner, no matter how it has been obtained and therefor represents a symbolic equation between wealth/possession and the favour of the gods.
Since piety replaced good works as the index of salvation as early as the Council of Nicea in the fourth century, it became difficult to tell saint from sinner. Charity no longer counted for much, and so piety had to be inferred by the extent to which god’s blessings might rain down upon you. Wealth and virtue become synonymous, resolving once and for all the puzzle of spiritual poverty being dolled from a golden chalice.
Scientific theories are just like the spear of Longinus, we imbue them with the Magic of Authority and get very peeved when someone claims their relic to be more holy. Creeds of any kind are dangerous. They let us live with horrendous contradiction and stamp all over originality.
Personally I like the Big Bubble theory over the Big Bang and the Big Bounce. This theory says that somewhere God is creating the Universe with bubble bath. Our galaxies are all in the the skin of the bubbles which sometimes burst but get re-made with just a little splashing. Not quite in Eternity, yet neither in time, life emerges in the unimaginable vastness of the Monad’s wash tub.