Cosmological Inflation Theory Self-Destructed

In 1981,  American theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Alan Harvey Guth proposed the “Inflation Theory” which is “the idea that the nascent universe passed through a phase of exponential expansion that was driven by a positive vacuum energy density (negative vacuum pressure).” The theory was invented in order to solve problems (flatness and the horizon) that were conflicting with real-time observations pertaining to the big bang theory.

About 31 years later as the premiere dominant paradigm trying to keep the big bang theory intact, it has been an enormous failure! One of which has scientists back to square one.

New Scientist broke the news…

“The problem is that once inflation starts, it is nearly impossible to stop. Even in the tiny pre-inflation cosmos, quantum fluctuations ensured that the inflaton field had different energies in different places — a bit like a mountain having many balls balanced precariously at different heights. As each one starts rolling, it kicks off the inflation of a different region of space, which races away from the others at speeds above that of light.”

“Because no influence may travel faster than light, these mini-universes become completely detached from one another. As the inflaton continues its headlong descent in each one, more and more bits of space begin to bud off to independent existences: an infinite “multiverse” of universes is formed…”

And that is not all, it gets even better…

“This is not good news for our hopes for cosmic enlightenment. In a single universe, an underlying theory of physics might offer a prediction for how flat the universe should be, say, or for the value of dark energy, the mysterious entity that seems to be driving an accelerated expansion of the universe. Astronomers could then go out and test that prediction against observations.

That’s not possible in an infinite multiverse: there are no definite predictions, only probabilities. Every conceivable value of dark energy or anything else will exist an infinite number of times among the infinite number of universes, and any universal theory of physics valid throughout the multiverse must reproduce all those values. That makes the odds of observing any particular value infinity divided by infinity: a nonsense that mathematicians call “undefined”.

Interesting enough, the article points out that the “inflation theory” was predicting things that were useless or not wanted. Tegmark suggests that the theory has finally died. Is that true? Those of you who believe in this theory, has it in fact died?

The article concludes…

“We thought that inflation predicted a smooth, flat universe,” says Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, a pioneer of inflation who has become a vocal detractor.  “Instead, it predicts every possibility an infinite number of times. We’re back to square one.” Tegmark agrees: “Inflation has destroyed itself. It logically self-destructed.” 

“Sean Carroll was only a little less pessimistic.  ““Inflation is still the dominant paradigm,” he said, “but we’ve become a lot less convinced that it’s obviously true.”  By starting with such precisely balanced conditions, it explains less than the flukes it was intended to explain.  “If you pick a universe out of a hat, it’s not going to be one that starts with inflation,” he said.”

Instead of rescuing the big bang, it created more problems than it solved which is increasing complexity within its explanation due to falsifications and that is not a good sign for something being factual. So what happens? They retreated to other irrationalities, like brane theory or the no-boundary proposal. The brane theory requires a lot more fine tuning in the Universe than what we see.

And another thing, it doesn’t matter if one can punch in equations all over the computer.  If the inputs to a “proposal” are bogus, no amount of mathematical manipulation can rescue it!

In a November issue of Astronomy back in 2004, Bob Berman nailed it on the head after flip flops by cosmologists over a ten year period…

Suddenly, we’re imbedded in a frothy quantum foam of unlimited possibilities.  It’s a free-for-all where each solemnly presented theory is soon changed or rebutted. In one sense, it’s very cool.  Imagination rules!  It’s a unique period in cosmology’s history.” 

“Throw the math this way, that way, tweak the equations, set fire to the physics building, nothing matters.  It’s Alice in Wonderland meets Stephen Hawking. Unfortunately, cosmologists are starting to resemble naked emperors parading before the mass media.  Hey, we love you, but you have no clue about the universe’s true origin or fate, and little knowledge of its composition.  Yet each pronouncement is delivered with pomp and flair.  Maybe you need a serious “time out.”

Perhaps not a time out, but rather a much better framework!