Rival for inflation theory to explain cosmology June 7, 2014Posted in AboutLeave a comment A commenter at Not Even Wrong asks the following question: Monty says: June 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm I watched the video from the World Science Festival. Could I ask Peter, or the commenters, what would be wrong with the following response to Steinhardt’s complaint that whatever the BICEP2 results had been, they could be made to fit with some variant of inflationary theory: yes, the observation of B-mode polarisation (let’s assume it’s not an artifact of foreground dust–this will be shown one way or the other soon in any case) cannot by itself prove inflation. But it lets us choose appropriate candidate theories from within the previous set of inflationary theories, and, more importantly for inflation-backers, it adds another item to the list of things requiring explanation for any competing theory. So now we have not only isotropy, flatness, absence of relics, and large-scale structure to explain, but we also have otherwise unexplained B-mode polarisation of the CMB. An appropriately narrowed inflation model can account for all of those things at once; that makes it correspondingly harder for an alternative theory to be equally successful. Doesn’t that make it a stronger theory than it was this time last year? My response: No if it’s an epicycle theory which “explains” stuff by using censorship of alternatives: “that makes it correspondingly harder for an alternative theory to be equally successful.” The success of epicycles was that it gave vacuous ammunition to those who wanted for subjective reasons to ignore Aristarchus’s unpopular, unfashionable, apparently more complex system of earth rotating and orbiting the sun. There were various spurious (false law-based, rather than direct evidence-based) no-go theorems against Aristarchus’s solar system, but the alleged simplicity and elegance of epicycles won over in the minds of charlatans (“let’s simply have every thing orbit earth, adding epicycles to make it work! How beautiful! The landscape of possible models is big enough to be non-falsifiable, yipee! Great science!”). Of course, inflation is different since it’s seeking to close down the scientific search for better alternatives before they’re even emerged into public view… I will add a paper specifically concerning the quantum gravity alternative to “inflation theory” to vixra when time permits.