Re: Hawking's Universe #6

Keenan Dungey (Keenan.Dungey@furman.edu)
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 11:07:09 -0500

Dear Bert,

Although it's hard to define science, it's some kind of healthy mix of
theory and experiment. We now know that there's no such animal as purely
inductive, empirical science like Francis Bacon talked about. However, as
you say, the "scientific" TOEs aren't scientific yet, since they don't have
the empirical component. We can never observe other universes, by
definition. I don't understand imaginary time. And there's nothing to
observe from superstring theory, yet. Perhaps if we built the
superconducting supercollider we might approach high enough energies to see
these extremely small entities.

I think that there's a false dichotomy between the "hard" sciences and the
"historical" sciences. The only difference is that history isn't
repeatable. But repeatability isn't a necessary tenet of science. I agree
that what is necessary is testability. So, as you say, in cosmology,
scientists look for the remains of a gigantic explosion that they propose
we're inside of. And they find it and get the Nobel prize.

In the historical sciences, we can't go back in time and videotape the
event to see it firsthand. But in the "hard" sciences, we don't ever
directly "see" many of the things we accept: the Earth orbiting the Sun,
the atoms inside everything. Forensic science is the classic analogy of
how science works: hunting out clues to demonstrate a hypothesis. It's
complicated to evaluate the certainty of the different kinds of clues.

In Christ,
Keenan

02/16/99 Bert Massie wrote:
Science is about observables. To have a science you must obserse
something. In a strick definition of science, you must have a testable
theory. However, those of "forensic science" or "natural history",
frequently want to cloat their evaluation of the emperical evidence in
the same level of certainly that tests of natural laws such as gavity
can have and this is an unreasonable conclusion.

There is no potential to look outside of the Big Bang event. Even those
who are the greatest propoents of these theories agree that they cannot
be experimentally observed. For example, the Big Bang gets credits for
a theory which leaves the right ramains, i.e., microwave radiation.

What are the remains of a bouncing universe that we are to observe?

Imaginary time?

Worm holes?

Some physics theories allow certain phenomena which we have not observed
and IF they are true, then perhaps some of these exotic cosmologies may
indeed be possible, but still not testable.

Bert Massie