February 24, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Evidence for Inflation, or Inflating the Evidence?

Cosmic inflation has become an accepted truth in cosmology, but its appeal is primarily philosophical and theoretical.  Something as weird as a universe jumping 26 orders of magnitude in size in one trillion trillion trillionth of a second (see 02/21/2005) should raise eyebrows in any scientific circle.  Is there any evidence for it?  Live Science reported that a new search for its smoking gun is being planned.
    Researchers from the University of Chicago are placing an instrument on a telescope at the South Pole to look for gravitational waves.  These elusive waves should propagate from any high-energy event in space, such as the formation of a black hole.  It’s not clear if cosmic inflation would show a gravitational wave signature, but they hope to know in 10 years.  “It’s possible that inflation theory is entirely wrong,” wrote Robin Lloyd for Live Science.  “So discovery of gravity waves would be a big deal and go a long way toward validating the theory, as well as the big bang and some other big cosmological claims.”
    What would it mean if no evidence is found?  Surprisingly, the same thing as a positive detection.  “The absence of gravitational waves is completely consistent with inflation,” said Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State.  How, then, can inflation be confirmed if either answer is consistent with theory?  Krauss can only hope that a positive detection would allow “a real possibility of pinning things down enough so that one could perhaps convince every physicist that inflation happened.”  This implies that a positive detection could have multiple interpretations.
    First, though, they have to invent new physics.  Three key components of modern cosmology have no evidential or physical basis right now.  “We have these key components to our picture of the universe, but we really don’t know what physics produces any of them, said Scott Dodelson [U of Chicago], referring to inflation, dark energy and dark matter – the proposed stuff that makes up the universe’s missing mass.  ‘The goal of the next decade is to identify the physics.’”

What are outside observers of modern cosmology supposed to conclude when its proponents admit that ignorance of the key components of the theory exceeds knowledge?  This is crazy.  It’s like the lobbyist for a defense contractor promising a Senator they’ll have that Buck Rogers space-based weapons surveillance system they promised, once they figure out how to build rockets, computers and remote-sensing instruments, after they discover the physics behind them all.  It’s all just a story right now.  They like the plot, but what basis does it have in reality?  Zilch.
    Inflation doesn’t solve anything, anyway.  Sean M. Carroll said that the initial conditions that would make inflation possible are even more finely-tuned than the cosmic coincidences it was concocted to explain away.  Remember?  He said in that classic paper, “Is Our Universe Natural,” reported here 05/11/2006, “The fact that the initial proto-inflationary patch must be smooth and dominated by dark energy implies that it must have a very low entropy itself; reasonable estimates for this entropy SI range from about 1 to 1020.  Thus, among randomly chosen initial conditions, the likelihood of finding an appropriate proto-inflationary region is actually much less than simply finding the conditions of the conventional Big Bang model (or, for that matter, of our Universe ten minutes ago).  It would seem that the conditions required to start inflation are less natural than those of the conventional Big Bang.”  The whole big-bang shebang is barfed up out of their empty naturalistic gut feelings.  What does explain the fine-tuning of the cosmos?  Creation, naturally.

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Categories: Cosmology, Physics

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