Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Paul Steinhardt Introduces The Anamorphic Universe

Paul Steinhardt has a new paper on the arXiv. Here is the abstract.

We introduce "anamorphic" cosmology, an approach for explaining the smoothness and flatness of the universe on large scales and the generation of a nearly scale-invariant spectrum of adiabatic density perturbations. The defining feature is a smoothing phase that acts like a contracting universe based on some Weyl frame-invariant criteria and an expanding universe based on other frame-invariant criteria. An advantage of the contracting aspects is that it is possible to avoid the multiverse and measure problems that arise in inflationary models. Unlike ekpyrotic models, anamorphic models can be constructed using only a single field and can generate a nearly scale-invariant spectrum of tensor perturbations. Anamorphic models also differ from pre-big bang and matter bounce models that do not explain the smoothness. We present some examples of cosmological models that incorporate an anamorphic smoothing phase

This paper fleshes out his contracting inflationary theory that I told you about here. It’s still wrong, but it does share some of the features of the correct scenario, which I described here, including the contracting phase.

The paper presents two scenarios. One is a one-time model similar to ours. The universe begins in an “anamorphic” smoothing phase, which is followed by a reheating phase in which matter and radiation are created, and then by the present dark-energy-driven phase. A curious feature is the presence of particles with time-varying masses during the anamorphic phase. The Planck mass also varies. Where did this matter come from, given that the reheating phase is still to come? He doesn’t say. The entire anamorphic process is driven by a scalar field (what else?), which he seems to think may be the Higgs field. Wrong again.
Actually, if instead of matter particles you look at the spacetime points of the correct model, they do have time-varying “proto-masses” (not observable masses) during the contracting phase. So Paul’s scenario does have concepts similar to the correct one, but of course, he doesn’t know that spacetime is made of points that self-reproduce, which we see as dark energy.

The other example in the paper is a cyclic scenario. Paul doesn’t like the one-time scenario because it doesn’t explain how the initial conditions are satisfied. The cyclic scenario eliminates the beginning in time, but replaces it with an infinite regression, which seems to me to be no better. The correct scenario doesn’t have an initial conditions problem because we know that the physical universe begins with a necessarily existing conscious thought—existence—as I explained here. The physicists will never find the answers they seek unless they eventually come to terms with metaphysics