Vanity thought #1793. VC – Dark Times for Cosmic Microwave

Link: “Mystic Universe: An Introduction to Vedic Cosmology”.

Resuming from the next chapter, which is dedicated to cosmic microwaves. If we go with Big Bang Theory then all matter was initially in a highly condensed state and the universe was very very small. It’s hard to visualize this because a second into the life of the universe it was the size of a golf ball but at the same time there was no space outside this ball. We can’t imagine the whole of space being inside a golf ball because such definition of size is meaningless without relation to other known objects, such as the size of a golf club or tennis ball or a ping pong ball. In standard model of cosmology the universe is infinite in size so how could this infinite space be all packed inside a golf ball?

If we were present then, would it mean that all other things we compare golf balls to were still relatively the same size as our golf balls compared to the current universe? What difference would it make from the “insider” perspective then? We can say that our universe is a size of a golf ball to someone who is outside of it now. Besides, how could the space become infinite if it was very finite in the beginning and only a finite amount of time has passed?

Talking about size in this way makes no sense. There’s “observable universe”, however, which ties the size of it to the speed of light – how far it can go in 13 billion years could be considered as size of the observable universe. Then we have to consider that during this time the universe has been expanding so we add that and come to a current estimate for the diameter of the observable universe to be 93 billion light years (as light goes in the opposite direction as well).

Does it stretch any further but we are unable to see it? Possibly, that’s why we talked about “observable universe” here. Now, to the book.

As universe was rapidly expanding after the Big Bang scientists estimated the effect on light emitted at that time and predicted that it must come to us with a significant red shift and, because the matter that emitted it back then does not exist anymore, this radiation must not have any other attributable source. This has been experimentally confirmed as Cosmic Microwave Background, CMB, and so now we have “proof” of the Big Bang.

The author points out to current need to postulate dark matter and dark energy as throwing a wrench into this theory. What if this cosmic background radiation is not a vestige of Big Bang but is emitted by currently existing dark matter? It would mean we need another theory instead of Big Bang and in that theory the need for dark matter and energy might not even exist so in the end we are left with doing what we are already doing because alternatives are scary and unthinkable.

The book then takes us a chapter back and reminds that in semantic theory wave frequency can be correlated to the level of abstraction of the information – higher frequency means more energy is transmitted by a hotter object and lower frequency means the object is cooler, and from thermodynamics comparison discussed earlier it would mean that lower frequency is more abstract while higher frequency is more detailed. What science calls a redshift, therefore, means that the object has shared all its contingent information and only abstract information is left.

Next step is understanding that objects carrying abstract information must be below the threshold of our senses – like we can’t directly perceive our minds or egos. When science can’t attribute CMB to any known object it simply means this object is more abstract than what we can sense, or is “subtle” in the language of Krishna consciousness.

CMB itself is an effect of an imperceptible cause and, because it’s relatively abstract, it affects more abstract “atoms”, too, and not the “details”. These abstract “atoms” are what our detailed bodies are built from and so to us it would appear that effect of CMB is felt “everywhere” rather than in any specific part because perceptible parts of our bodies are built of “detailed” atoms contingent on more abstract “atoms”.

When we receive this abstract information and only our abstract “atoms” are affected by it then all contingent details change at once, too, and that means we can’t pinpoint the direction from which this radiation comes from – just as we can’t with CMB. As I understand it, direction can be deducted from two changes happening one after another in distinct locations but when the entire contingent body is affected at once this becomes impossible, so we say that CMB comes from “everywhere”. This all will start fitting together very soon.

The author then makes a detour into quantum mechanics and says that instruments measuring CMB must be treated as quantum systems and not typical physical objects. I can’t follow that but the point is that without quantum measuring systems we only catch the quantity of information but not its type, which is compared to examining a book without knowing language and having no clue why squiggles of funny shapes appear seemingly randomly in it. I don’t want to delve deep into this here as it was all making sense before and will continue making sense after this one paragraph.

The principle under consideration is that when the system receives abstract information the state of all contingent details is changed at once. This means that energy transmitted with low frequency will be absorbed and assimilated faster by the whole system while higher frequency energy will affect big changes in only selected detailed parts. Apparently thermodynamics confirms this, too.

It’s not immediately obvious to me but the author claims that there’s not only a different semantic explanation for common observable data here but a new kind of predictions, too. It would be nice if it was explained what kind of predictions and in what areas he envisioned here but he skips to the next part, which refers to Doppler effect from a few chapters back.

Doppler effect, if you remember, also produces a redshift and in light of today’s semantic explanation it would mean that we receive a more abstract information. This has an effect on our understanding of sources of light when we think it’s emitted by hydrogen or helium atoms found on this planet – because these atoms are detailed constructions we built from our observations and not more abstract “atoms” which produce the observations. Meaning that instead of looking for a more abstract source to observations we create a contingent. Hydrogen atoms we think up here can’t that more abstract source. There’s no sound reason, therefore, to extend our interpretations to the rest of the universe and we should rather accept that redshifts are produced by a different kind of sources then the ones we have on Earth.

Now that we have both CMB and Doppler effects explained semantically there’s no reason to accept Big Bang theory anymore. The universe is not expanding but static and is made of objects of a different, more abstract type then the ones we have on our planet.

Let me see if I got this right – we believe in Big Bang and expansion because we observe redshifts in radiation but semantically it means that it is transmitted by more abstract types of matter than we experience here, like cosmic mind and cosmic intelligence. Makes sense, but lacks detail, but not to worry, there will be plenty of chapters discussing “subtle” influences on our world later on.

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Vanity thought #1786. VC – Dope Doppler

Link: “Mystic Universe: An Introduction to Vedic Cosmology”.

It’s time to resume digesting this book, last post was from the end of October, two and a half months ago. At first I thought that it would be easy but now I realize that a decent post on that book might take twice the time – first to understand what it is talking about and then process it internally to form a presentable opinion. Some chapters are too esoteric but the one I have to resume from poses complicated science questions.

It’s about using Doppler effect to determine distance to stars and galaxies and measure the rate of the expansion of the universe. It comes after a chapter on using star luminosity to estimate distances and uses largely the same argument – it’s all relative, science makes assumptions first and then compares other data to the assumed standard to fill out the rest. If the luminosity of their “standard candle” star is wrong then all measurements comparing other stars to it should go into the bin, too. With Doppler effect it’s a bit more complicated but no less compelling in the end. To get to the end of the chapter, however, is hard.

I remember reading it for the first time and it made total sense, I moved on without any questions. On rereading, however, I realized that either the author is wrong or I’m totally confused about Doppler. Internet isn’t very helpful either.

Everybody learns about Dopper effect in school. The author uses the example of an ambulance but it’s best observed with trains, in my experience – because they are so much faster than ambulances moving through city traffic and because they emit sound of a constant tone unlike “wee-woo” of police and emergency vehicles. The best case is when the train blows its horn but it’s already loud enough to hear the increase in pitch as the train approaches and decrease when it goes away.

The book explains it in terms of moving objects velocity which affects the speed of sound but now I’m not so sure about that. When the book jumps to using Doppler effect to distances between us and stars it says that speed of light is constant therefore it’s not affected by the speed of stars and Doppler effect shows expansion of space instead. Say what?

What does “space expansion” mean? Do miles get longer or are there more miles between objects? If miles get longer then so should be kilometers, feet and everything else. How would it look any different?

Doppler effect with sound doesn’t affect speed of sound either, it’s still 300 m/s in air just like light is always 300 km/s in vacuum. Yes, sound can propagate faster or slower but that’s not what happens with Doppler.

Doppler effect doesn’t tell us the speed of light or sound either, it shows that distance between two crests of a wave increases or decreases – that’s what change in pitch or red or blue spectrum shifts are. With sound and objects moving close to its speed it takes significantly longer for sound to travel to our ears if the object moves away but with light the difference is negligible because our speeds are incomparably slower. Still, police uses Doppler radars to measure speeds of cars because it’s not the speed of radio waves that is affected but the difference between crests of the same wave. Radio is a radio but long waves are longer than 1 km – too long to catch speeding cars. Police radars use much shorter waves, less than 10 cm.

In light of the above the book’s objection seems invalid but that is only a first impression. I have to admit I don’t understand much of it at all. I’ve also learned that the formula for calculating Doppler shift in astronomy is different because it has to account for constant speed of light. The book is probably right and I’m wrong.

Never mind this little confusion, it’s the rest of the chapter that is rock solid and should be remembered.

When applying this method scientists assume that stars don’t transmit Doppler shift themselves and attribute it to expansion of the universe. They have a theory to explain this expansion, ie Big Bang, but we might just as well ask for a theory where stars would transmit Doppler shift and no expansion would be necessary.

Historically, the theory of expansion was sounded first, the observation was then interpreted on the basis of this theory, and then they declared that this interpretation confirmed it.

However, in science data always underdetermines a theory, that is data can be interpreted in several valid ways, and therefore it’s impossible to determine which theory is correct on the basis of data itself. If there was a theory explaining Doppler shifted transmission from stars themselves it would have explained all the data just as well. We don’t have that theory and don’t even try for it because we believe that stars and laws which govern their transmissions are uniform everywhere in the universe. We assume that stars behave just like objects in our lab experiments and their red light, for example, is caused by the same chemical reactions as red light produced in our labs.

Without the assumption of uniform universe all our theories about stars and distances between us would be useless. We can’t even contemplate the world where this assumption doesn’t hold. Obviously, it does not hold in Sāṅkhya but scientists got problems even without us telling them so.

The principle of underdetermination means that scientists have to pursue all plausible and internally consistent theories at the same time until they find data that doesn’t fit and eliminate those theories one after another. This doesn’t happen in real life, alternatives are rarely pursued with the same vigor and when new data comes in which doesn’t conform to a theory nothing gets eliminated but the theory gets patched instead to account for anomalies.

Patched here means adding new assumptions, quite arbitrarily, simply because they would explain it better. In case of Doppler shifts new data shows not just expansion but accelerated expansion and accelerated expansion is impossible according to general relativity. What was the patch? Introduction of “dark energy”? How big is the input of this dark energy to expansion? 68% – over two thirds, but it keeps general relativity correct. I mean as long as you are content with the fact that some new and undeveloped theory accounts for two thirds of the time when general relativity is wrong. How new is this theory? Well, they gave Nobel Prize for discovery of acceleration only in 2011, basically five years ago. There’s no theory as such yet.

Are they going to admit that general relativity does not comply with experimental data and therefore should be abandoned? Nope, they are not even going to modify any time soon.

Science knows everything, right?