Jefferys on “The Privileged Planet”

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Over at the National Center for Science Education web site, William H. Jefferys of the University of Texas at Austin skewers Gonzalez and Richards’s “The Privileged Planet” (the book) in an excellent review. Jefferys sums it up like this:

To summarize, the little that is new in this book isn’t interesting, and what is old is just old-hat creationism in a new, modern-looking astronomical costume.

I guess they got tired of the cheap tuxedo.

Go read the whole thing. And I mean NOW.

Still here? Go!

60 Comments

Can one be brutally skewered? If so, this would qualify.

Dr. Jeffreys Wrote:

They can’t have it both ways. If observing that the universe is fecund were to support the hypothesis that the universe is “designed”, then observing that it is not fecund would necessarily support the hypothesis that it was not “designed” and would undermine the design argument. An elementary rule of inference is that if evidence E supports hypothesis H, then observing that E is false would undermine H.

Except when H is mandatory/inevitable/necessary/compelled/etc. and ~H is impossible/unthinkable/forbidden/etc. The H of the IDCists - Dr. Jeffreys’ point never occurs to them.

One wonders what Gonzalez and Richards would say if the evidence were otherwise. They talk about the fantastically small probability that our universe would give rise to intelligent, inquisitive life, but what if it were the opposite? What if we had observed that the universe was actually quite conducive to the existence of intelligent, inquisitive life? Would Gonzalez and Richards then conclude that the probability of observing such a universe, given that it was designed by an “intelligent designer”, was small? I hardly think so. In such a case they would surely be pointing to the fecundity of the universe as evidence for the existence of their “intelligent designer”.

This is a point I’ve made on many occasions. Both abundance and rarity are used as arguments for “design”. But one or the other must always be true – a life-conducing property is either likely or unlikely, so no matter what reality actually presents us with, it can be used as evidence of “design”.

Yes, yes, of course. Since the Designer did everything everywhere, everything everywhere is necessarily evidence of His handiwork.

I’ve made this point a thousand times before, but I refuse to stop making it until creationism goes away.

Cosmological ID such as the Priviledged Planet hypothesis is the notion that the universe is fantastically designed for intelligent biological life.

Biological ID such as IC/specified complexity is the notion that the universe is structured in such a way as to make intelligent biological life physically impossible.

If ID were a resious scientific enterprise, Gonzales and Dembski would be at each other’s proverbial throats in print, arguing to the death about which of the two mutually contradictory propositions was true.

That the staff of the DI do not do so can only be attributed to either profound scientific incompetence or a reprehensible lack of sincerity.

ID should just be called Really Bad Statistics.

Dembski: Aha! This protein is really, really unlikely! Scientist: How many others would have worked? Dembski: Uh…uh…well, uh none? Scientist: Guess again.

Heddle: Wow! This number is extremely unlikely! Scientist: What else could it have been? Heddle: Uh…uh…well, uh anything? Scientist: Wrong answer.

Gonzales: Wow, this planet is so perfectly situated. Must’ve been god. Scientist: How many others are like it? Gonzales: uh…uh…well, uh none? Scientist: Dumbass.

It just won’t do to let Bill Jefferys’s excellent review go by without noting his other academic affiliation with the University of Ediacara:

William H. (Chris) Jefferys Professor of Astrology and Lunacy.

Statements on moondust thickness as an inverse measure of intelligence.

On the matter of our having a “Transparent” atmosphere, I would like to ask if there are a) Wavelengths of light where it is opaque and b) If there is an organism that has eyes tuned to those “opaque” wavelengths or whatever one might call them.

I have a sneaking feeling that a=yes and b=no could be an argument for design.

But then couldn’t that same circumstance be argued as being in favor of evolution?

But if a=yes and b=yes… can an argument for design be made? I do not think so.

So, if we found, or have already found such a critter, ID is falsified. (Like it needed another nail in it’s already peppered casket)

Just a thought

Jeffery Keown Wrote:

On the matter of our having a “Transparent” atmosphere, I would like to ask if there are a) Wavelengths of light where it is opaque and b) If there is an organism that has eyes tuned to those “opaque” wavelengths or whatever one might call them.

I have a sneaking feeling that a=yes and b=no could be an argument for design.

But then couldn’t that same circumstance be argued as being in favor of evolution?

But if a=yes and b=yes … can an argument for design be made? I do not think so.

So, if we found, or have already found such a critter, ID is falsified. (Like it needed another nail in it’s already peppered casket)

Just a thought

Alls i know is that a cat’s eyeballs line up EXACTLY with the holes in the fur on it’s head. Clearly, this is evidence for ID.

or not

Jeffrys writes “Finally, I turn to Gonzalez and Richards’s notion that our earth is uniquely designed for its inhabitants to do scientific exploration… “

Only if you’re a young Earth Creationist. For most of Earth’s history, Earth was decidedly hostile to human life.

IDer’s keep telling us they ain’t young earth creationists.

Methinks they protest too much.

Gonzalez and Richards’s notion that our earth is uniquely designed for its inhabitants to do scientific exploration

It’s “odd” how they and other IDers/creationists are trying so hard to avoid doing any genuine scientific exploration then and also to stop other people from doing it or learning about it. They don’t seem to have much respect for what they claim is the intent of the design.

Gonzalez thinks that the size and distance of the moon leading to solar eclipses is indicative of design. I wonder, in his work how does he distinguish the hand of God moving celestial objects into place from natural laws?

Alls i know is that a cat’s eyeballs line up EXACTLY with the holes in the fur on it’s head. Clearly, this is evidence for ID.

I’ve seen many wry restatements of ID “logic” over the past few years. None has made me laugh harder than this one. My personal nomination for “comment of the month”: Yellow Fatty Bean.

Personally, what I find most remarkable is that the same God who supposedly made the Earth so amazingly suitable for scientific exploration also established a line of emissaries on Earth who for the most part of its history were hell-bent to prevent such scientific exploration from freely taking place. And that the same people who now find wondrous coincidences in the ways the Earth is suitable to exploration by the scientific method, are also fighting hard to replace that same scientific method with a “theistic science” in which suitability for discovery would be at best an after-thought, since divine revelation and contemplation (as opposed to exploration) would be the preferred ways of learning about nature. I think either God has a well-developed sense of irony, or ID advocates lack any.

Personally, what I find most remarkable is that the same God who supposedly made the Earth so amazingly suitable for scientific exploration also established a line of emissaries on Earth who for the most part of its history were hell-bent to prevent such scientific exploration from freely taking place.

Yet more support for RBH’s multiple-designers theory. Unless, of course, the ID people are OK with the notion of a schizophrenic Designer.

Jeffrey Keown Wrote:

On the matter of our having a “Transparent” atmosphere, I would like to ask if there are a) Wavelengths of light where it is opaque and b) If there is an organism that has eyes tuned to those “opaque” wavelengths or whatever one might call them.

Earth was designed for stomatopods

The mantis shrimps are also world-renowned as having the world’s most sophisticated vision. According to Dr Justin Marshall, the stomatopod eye “contains 16 different types of photoreceptors (12 for colour analysis, compared to our 3 cones), colour filters and many polarisation receptors, making it by far the world’s most complex retina.” Mantis shrimps can thus see polarized light and 4 colors of UV (ultraviolet) light, and they may also be able to distinguish up to 100,000 colors (compared to the 10,000 seen by human beings). Eat your heart out, Superman!

My favourite restatement of the Creationist argument is Douglas Adams’s: A puddle wakes up one morning and starts thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in. It fits me very neatly. In fact it fits me precisely. This whole world must have been made to fit me.”

I have found this whole discussion on the “Privileged Planet” to be highly amusing since it exposes the contributors to this forum to be nothing more than good-old-fashioned opponents of “purpose” in the universe.

The reason the lot of you should be ashamed is that the “Panda’s Thumb” (as I thought it was) would serve as a gathering place for like-minded evolutionists and as a hot house for discussion of various biological-related subjects.

However, contributors to the *Panda’s Thumb* seem more interested in trading debating points with those they PHILOSOPHICALLY disagree with irrespective of the topic (esp. in the case of the Privileged Planet which relies on arguments from Astronomy, not exactly an area of expertise for Ph.D’s in biology/biochemistry/evolutionary biology/etc.).

Couple that previous fact with the regular hurling of insults, and you get a forum that does nothing more than muddy the water of scientific debate with philosophical bias.

Yawn.

“Purpose” in the universe isn’t scientific. Stateing a bunch of scientific facts and then drawing conclusions that aren’t based on those facts is just a lot of hand waving. There are no scientific arguments (yet) to back up “purpose” in the universe. “Purpose” should not be masquerading as science. Scientific debate is welcome, religious apologetics is not. Head on over to dictionary.com and look up several of the words you decided to use in your post and come back and apologize. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s what you’re good at.

However, contributors to the *Panda’s Thumb* seem more interested in trading debating points with those they PHILOSOPHICALLY disagree with irrespective of the topic (esp. in the case of the Privileged Planet which relies on arguments from Astronomy, not exactly an area of expertise for Ph.D’s in biology/biochemistry/evolutionary biology/etc.).

Gee, maybe that’s why the review this thread links to is from a Professor of Astronomy, uh?

I actually have now seen the Privileged Planet movie, and I find that, regardless of whether the scientific evidence presented there is completely valid and representative of current knowledge or not (and Dr. Jeffery argues it isn’t), the interpretation is so obviously slanted and often so plainly naive, that most reasonable people should be able to see right through it, regardless of their expertise.

But hey, if ID advocates are ready to stand by the principle that the only valid critiques of scientific ideas have to come from now on only from people with relevant expertise on the specific subject matter, I might even agree to shut up about PP. ;-)

Bemused Troll Wrote:

…Privileged Planet which relies on arguments from Astronomy…

No, it relies on arguments from ignorance and incredulity which are intended to impress an ignorant and incredulous audience. And in some cases, it seems to be working.

Bemused Troll wrote:

I have found this whole discussion on the “Privileged Planet” to be highly amusing since it exposes the contributors to this forum to be nothing more than good-old-fashioned opponents of “purpose” in the universe.

People are critiquing things like the contradictory claims of the book that the universe is designed for life and life in this universe is extremely rare. Lying about the contributors to this forum won’t get you too far.

The reason the lot of you should be ashamed is that the “Panda’s Thumb” (as I thought it was) would serve as a gathering place for like-minded evolutionists and as a hot house for discussion of various biological-related subjects.

The Privileged Planet claims the universe is designed for life. Are you saying this is not a biological-related subject?

However, contributors to the *Panda’s Thumb* seem more interested in trading debating points with those they PHILOSOPHICALLY disagree with irrespective of the topic (esp. in the case of the Privileged Planet which relies on arguments from Astronomy, not exactly an area of expertise for Ph.D’s in biology/biochemistry/evolutionary biology/etc.).

Arguments from astronomy like this from The Privileged Planet website?:

“Atmospheres come in many forms, but not all allow for complex life or clear views of the wider universe. Complex life requires a certain type of atmosphere. It turns that this same type of atmosphere provides a remarkably clear view of the near and distant universe. Complex, intelligent beings are unlikely to find themselves on a planet with an opaque atmosphere or deep in a murky ocean. We explain this relationship in detail in The Privileged Planet.”

Couple that previous fact with the regular hurling of insults, and you get a forum that does nothing more than muddy the water of scientific debate with philosophical bias.

You should at least get familiar with The Privileged Planet before you come to PT and lie about the subject contributors are discussing.

However, contributors to the *Panda’s Thumb* seem more interested in trading debating points with those they PHILOSOPHICALLY disagree with irrespective of the topic (esp. in the case of the Privileged Planet which relies on arguments from Astronomy, not exactly an area of expertise for Ph.D’s in biology/biochemistry/evolutionary biology/etc.).

Yeah, we shouldn’t trade debating points. My God Designer ! What if they started doing that !

So–Bemused Troll–this forum ‘confuses and ‘bewilders’ you, I assume? Or do we merely occupy your attention?

Or are you one of the numerous pseudoliterates who use ‘bemuse’ to mean ‘mildly amused’? From the tone of your post, I think that my last guess is correct, but really, I’d hate to put words in your mouth…

The mantis shrimps are also world-renowned as having the world’s most sophisticated vision. According to Dr Justin Marshall, the stomatopod eye “contains 16 different types of photoreceptors (12 for colour analysis, compared to our 3 cones), colour filters and many polarisation receptors, making it by far the world’s most complex retina.” Mantis shrimps can thus see polarized light and 4 colors of UV (ultraviolet) light, and they may also be able to distinguish up to 100,000 colors (compared to the 10,000 seen by human beings).

And they’s tasty, too !

Actually, the “visible” range of wavelengths (roughly 400-800 nm) are, indeed, rather priveleged. Photons of shorter wavelength (UV) have higher energy, and this energy soon becomes enough to ionize atoms, wreaking (sp ?) havoc on all our favorite molecules. At the other end of the spectrum (IR) the light just isn’t as “interesting” : the photon energy is too low to excite most electrons from their ground state, so e.g, they’re no good for photosynthesis, and different materials don’t have interesting absorption spectra (no “color”). I don’t know that letting mid- and near-IR through the atmosphere would be “bad” for life, but there would certainly be issues with maintaining the earth’s temperature (greenhouse effect.)

So why are we so priveledged to have this range of wavelengths grace our biosphere ? Well, we used to get plenty of UV, so our favorite molecules had to hide underwater. Then, as if by design, an atmosphere with O2 appeared. O2 can’t withstand UV photons, and ionizes and forms ozone which blocks UV. So once an ozone blanket built up (before air conditioning and hairspray) the stage was set for land-lubbing life. In the visible wavelengths, most simple molecules (esp. O2, N2, Ar, CO2) are transparent so the fact that these photons reach earth just means that no complicated molecules are in the atmosphere. But plenty of complicated molecules are in the biosphere, and they have interesting absorption spectra, so the ability to distinguish these absorption spectra (“colors”) would be a huge selective advantage for evolving life forms.

Once you start getting into the longer IR wavelengths (8-10,000 nm) there’s another band of transmission through the atmosphere. In this realm, not only do objects reflect/absorb radiation, but they also emit blackbody radiation according to their temperature (i.e., at realistic temperatures for living creatures and their environment). I don’t know if there are any creatures that “see” (form images or detect specific colors) at these wavelengths, but being able to distinguish “warm” from ambient temperature would also be a huge selective advantage. Does the transparency of the atmosphere at these wavelengths matter ? Again, I don’t think it’s crucially important to life, except as it affects the energy balance and earth’s temperature.

So what do astronomers care about ? Well, they’ll take any wavelength they can get ! But the visible wavelegths are important because they are where most stars have their blackbody peak (stars surfaces are red-hot, white-hot, even blue-hot) and given that atoms in stellar atmospheres and interstellar space are often in excited states, the emission and aborption spectra show many interesting features in the visible range. (c.f. the discovery of helium)

Hiero5ant from Plano, Texas wrote: Cosmological ID such as the Priviledged Planet hypothesis is the notion that the universe is fantastically designed for intelligent biological life. … If ID were a resious scientific enterprise, Gonzales and Dembski would be at each other’s proverbial throats in print, arguing to the death about which of the two mutually contradictory propositions was true.

Cosmological ID and Biological ID are not at odds with one another.

The Cosmological ID standpoint is that the laws of nature have been fine tuned to support complex life – not necessarily to develop it via RM/NS.

P.S. The book/movie is spelled “The Privileged Planet”. The scientist’s name is spelled “Gonzalez”.

Heddle, come off your cosmological ID already!

Hello?

Oh, he went away. Gee, I wonder why?

The Cosmological ID standpoint is that the laws of nature have been fine tuned to support complex life — not necessarily to develop it via RM/NS.

That’s nice.

What, exactly, is this “cosmological theory of ID”. What, exactly, does this “theory” propose the designer did. How, exactly, does this “theory” propose the designer did whatever the heck it is you think it did. Where can we see any of these mechanisms in action today?

And why should anyone pay any more attention to your religious opinions than they should to mine, my next door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas?

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Wondering: anybody here read Rare Earth, by Peter Ward? The thesis there is that, while life may turn out to be common in the universe, we might still find that we are “alone” as far as we can tell as an intelligent (or “technological” or some other less loaded term) species.

I ask in the context of this discussion because some of the evidence discussed is the same sort of thing as we find here, in the Privileged Planet, strong-AP type of argument. I believe the author was even accused of “crypto-creationism” in some quarters.

Myself, I liked the book. (Rare Earth) Some of it was a bit overstated, but that’s natural, trying to advance a thesis that people are going to look askance at. Anyway, it has some implications for intersting ideas (to me, anyway) like the Fermi paradox, the Drake equation, the weak Anthropic Principle, etc.

I think I agree with Gonzalez and Richards’s argument, but I disagree with their conclusion. They have not taken it far enough.

Clearly the Universe was designed for telescopes. Who are we if not an important part of God’s plan to produce the almightly telescope.

I read Rare Earth a few years ago. Don’t recall a heck of a lot of specifics, except that the biggie was the Drake equation, which describes the possibility of communicating civilizations, not civilizations in general. (So it doesn’t have a lot of bearing on the question of life in general.) Other than that, my recollection is of a fairly mundane geo-chronology. Lunine’s Earth: Evolution of a Habitable Planet is much better IMHO.

Connor,

Fascinating and informative read - picked it up shortly after it came out and just reread it a month or so ago. I expect you’re aware that - irony of ironies - Gonzalez was a contributor. A correction - Ward and Brownlee.

Well, it didn’t take long for the ID cheerleaders to come up with a response.

David Heddle disses Jefferys

The DI MCD crows about Heddle’s response

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Wow!

Heddle must be off in some corner muttering to himself, “The cosmological constants are perfectly designed! The cosmological constants are perfectly designed!” While having his fingers stuck in his ears.…

I almost feel sorry for poor nuclear physicist Heddle.

Well, no I don’t really.

I just wonder though, what does extra-super-duper mathmetician Bill Dembski think of this (boring) mathematical (statistical) argument?

P.S. The book/movie is spelled “The Privileged Planet”. The scientist’s name is spelled “Gonzalez”.

Hmmm… why is it the *only* time I ever see a creationist advance a correct argument is when he/she goes into “spelling-flame” mode??

If all you heathen evilutionists out there would start using spell-checker software religiously, you would immediately deny creationists the only source of factual material that they could use to counter your arguments…

Heddle’s hysterical quasi-rebuttal of Jefferys’s review of Gonzalez & Richards’s book shows that Bill Jefferys has quite pointedly dissected the abject fallaciousness of Gonzalez-Richards’s thesis and with it also Hedddle’s heartfelt puerile dreams. Recalll that this is the same Richards who claimed to have disproved Einstein’s relativity theory. Unlike Heddle’s cries, Jefferys’s analysis is sober, calm and lacking personal assaults and even displaying a sympathy with Gonzalez.

Heddle is the author of some fiction (a novel and a story) - perhaps these endeavors have affected his thinking when discussing science. I have not read his novel so I can’t judge the quality of his work when it is claimed to be fiction, but his alleged rebuttal of Jefferys is certainly fiction and in this case a rather poor one.

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I’d guess O’Leary says Jefferys is denouncing the film because it’s the film the current dust-up is concerned with, and not the book. Remember that O’Leary is an “advocacy journalist”, a euphemism meaning “make the facts support the ideologoy.”

I hadn’t heard this until today at New Scientist. Does anyone here at PT have any information about this? Who is this public relations firm? And how sneaky did the DI have to get to pull this job in the first place? This is looking sillier by the minute.

Apparently that’s what Bruce Chapman told the New York Times.

The president of the Discovery Institute, Bruce Chapman, said in a phone interview that his organization had approached the Museum of Natural History about using the Baird Auditorium for the national premiere of the documentary, in part because another option, the Constitution Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was “too big.” The organization approached the museum through its public-relations company, he said, and the museum staff asked to see the film. He recalled, “They said that they liked it very much – and not only would they have the event at the museum, but they said they would co-sponsor it. That was their suggestion. Of course, we’re delighted.”

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/merc[…]11762333.htm

Makes it sound as though the Smithsonian was a backup choice and that the news that it would cosponsor the event was nothing but a happy surprise that they didn’t know about ahead of time, doesn’t it?

Jefferys’ argument concerning the many worlds hypothesis has a huge hole in it. Until WMAP, string-based cosmologies had little to no observational basis to them. The observational data from WMAP was as follows:

1. The universe is flat. Really flat. Really, really flat. No oscillating universes allowed.

2. Dark energy, a.k.a. inflation, a.k.a. the cosmological constant exists. This makes universe even less likely to oscillate because something seems to be pushing us apart.

3. We have a good idea what the shape of the Universe is. It is a Poincare Dodecahedral Space.

Jefferys uses one and two to argue for chaotic inflation in attempt to give “evidence” for the many worlds hypothesis. The problem is that he ignores three.

This year, Luminet who was the author of the Nature paper referenced above wrote concerning the implications of a PDS.

Jean-Pierre Luminet Wrote:

In most cosmological models, it is generally assumed that spatial homogeneity stays valid beyond the horizon scale. For instance, in the model of chaotic inflation (Linde et al., 1994 ; Guth, 2000), the universe could be very homogeneous but on scales much larger than the horizon scale. On this respect, the PDS model seems incompatible with chaotic inflation : it requires only one expanding bubble universe, of size sufficlently small to be entirely observable.

The problem is that Jefferys leans so heavily on chaotic inflation. Inflation that is not chaotic disproves rather than proves the many worlds hypothesis. I haven’t read PP so I don’t know the quality of Gonzalez’ refutation of the many worlds hypothesis, but Jefferys’ defense of it is poor. He conflates a well-established fact, inflation, with an unproven (and possibly disproven) theory concerning it, chaotic inflation. There’s enough wrong with PP to need to resort to this kind of special pleading.

3. We have a good idea what the shape of the Universe is. It is a Poincare Dodecahedral Space.

I have consulted with our resident cosmologists, and according to them this idea is already obsolete. A stronger statistical analysis of WMAP made it go away.

In any case, the inferential aspects of my review are independent of what kind of inflation we have. Fine tuning doesn’t support design, period.

Albion Wrote:

Makes it sound as though the Smithsonian was a backup choice

It doesn’t actually claim they really checked out the Constitution Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution though. It might be worth asking that organisation anyway of course to test the credibility of the story. It would also be worth finding out how tickets to the event are being marketed, ie what sort of real limit on numbers there was.

NB That Bruce Chapman quote still doesn’t name the public-relations company either but perhaps everyone except me already knows it. Meanwhile, the claim about co-sponsorship is not at all credible given that it’s in the rules and couldn’t be a “suggestion” - and the precise amount of money pretty much guarantees the DI already knew about the rules as it’s too much of a coincidence to believe otherwise without some sort of proof (eg that a particular collection plate or funding drive happened to return almost exactly that amount).

Albion Wrote:

Makes it sound as though the Smithsonian was a backup choice

It doesn’t actually claim they really checked out the Constitution Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution though. It might be worth asking that organisation anyway of course to test the credibility of the story. It would also be worth finding out how tickets to the event are being marketed, ie what sort of real limit on numbers there was.

NB That Bruce Chapman quote still doesn’t name the public-relations company either but perhaps everyone except me already knows it. Meanwhile, the claim about co-sponsorship is not at all credible given that it’s in the rules and couldn’t be a “suggestion” - and the precise amount of money pretty much guarantees the DI already knew about the rules as it’s too much of a coincidence to believe otherwise without some sort of proof (eg that a particular collection plate or funding drive happened to return almost exactly that amount).

Rich Wrote:

3. We have a good idea what the shape of the Universe is. It is a Poincare Dodecahedral Space.

I have consulted with our resident cosmologists, and according to them this idea is already obsolete. A stronger statistical analysis of WMAP made it go away.

In any case, the inferential aspects of my review are independent of what kind of inflation we have. Fine tuning doesn’t support design, period.

[Repost because I didn’t know how to make the pretty boxes around quotations…sorry for the duplication]

Bill Jefferys Wrote:

In any case, the inferential aspects of my review are independent of what kind of inflation we have. Fine tuning doesn’t support design, period.

The kind of inflation determines whether multiverses are supported or not. Thus, the kind of inflation is not independent from the inferential aspects of your review. If Linde is right then you have multiverses and if Luminet is right then you don’t. Here’s Luminet’s commentary about the statistical analysis:

2) If space has a non trivial topology, there must be particular correlations in the CMB, namely pairs of “matched circles” along which temperature fluctuations should be the same (Cornish et al, 1998). The PDS model predicts 6 pairs of antipodal circles with an angular radius less than 35◦. Such circles have been searched in WMAP data by two different teams, using various statistical indicators and massive computer calculations. On the one hand, Cornish et al. (2004) claimed to have found no matched circles on angular sizes greater than 25◦, and thus rejected the PDS hypothesis. Moreover,they claimed that any reasonable topology smaller than the horizon was excluded. This is a wrong statement because they searched only for antipodal or nearly-antipodal matched circles. However Riazuelo et al. (2004b) have shown that for generic topologies (including the well-proportioned topologies which are good candidates for explaining the WMAP power spectrum), the matched circles are not back-to-back and space is not globally homogeneous, so that the positions of the matched circles depend on the observer’s position in the fundamental polyhedron. The corresponding larger number of degrees of freedom for the circles search in the WMAP data generates a dramatic increase of the computer time, up to values which are out–of–reach of the present facilities. On the other hand, Roukema et al. (2004) performed the same analysis for smaller circles, and found six pairs of matched circles distributed in a dodecahedral pattern, each circle on an angular size about 11◦. This implies OMEGA0 = 1.010 ± 0.001 for OMEGAm = 0.28 ± 0.02, values which are perfectly consistent with the PDS model.

It follows that the debate about the pertinence of PDS as the best fit to reproduce CMB observations is fully open. Since then, the properties of PDS have been investigated in more details by various authors. Lachi’eze-Rey (2004) found an analytical expression of the eigenmodes of PDS, whereas Aurich et al. (2005) computed numerically the first 10 521 eigenfunctions up to the ℓ = 155 mode and also supported the PDS hypothesis for explaining WMAP data. Eventually, the second–year WMAP data, originally expected by February 2004 but delayed for at least one year due to unexpected surprises in the results, may soon bring additional support to a spherical multiconnected space model.

It could be that Luminet is holding onto his theory like those who held on to MOND long past its shelf life. My point is that we need more data (particularly the Planck Surveyor data) to fully assess which view is correct.

Contrast for a second how real science resolves controversy by looking at the back and forth in peer-reviewed journals documented above and Gonzalez’ statement there is no evidence for multiverses. Give me a break.

BTW, my reaction stemmed from the following sentence:

One consequence of inflation…

If it said:

One consequence of chaotic inflation…

I would not have a problem.

Has Jeffreys taken his paper off his website? It was a dead link, and I could not find it on his new one.

Oh Boy! Just when I know all the arguments against/for evo so well that I just have to read the first few sentences, a whole new assault on cosmology. How refreshing for a pro-science non scientist like me. Kick it!!

Re: comment 34539. Jefferys’s article is still on NCSE site and opens without problems.

I found an interesting thing while researching this. It seems that both Linde and Gonzalez have received Templeton Foundation grants!

In 2003, Linde wrote a paper concerning inflation just in case Omega is slightly more than one. Linde concluded that you could craft an inflationary theory that matched that but you still needed some fine-tuning (but less than classical Big Bang cosmologies). All this should be a moot point by the end of the decade because the two views have mutually exclusive predictions concerning CMB. Better data should be able to rule one in and the other out (or is usually the case in science both out!). Both Luminet and Linde are hedging their bets just in case the data falsifies their pet theory. This is a good sign and shows that cosmology is becoming more “data driven”.

DrJohn Wrote:

Has Jeffreys taken his paper off his website?  It was a dead link, and I could not find it on his new one.

You are referring to the copy of the article by Michael Ikeda and myself. It disappeared from the website because I have changed servers. The former server was a Mac, case insensitive. The new one is our Unix server, and it is case-sensitive.

I have placed a copy with lower case on the website so that one can get it either way.

Sorry for the inconvenience. And thanks for mentioning that you were having problems finding it.

Bill

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 1, column 147, byte 147 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Sorry for typos. Here it is again: Ikeda & Jefferys’s fine paper can also be seen on Talk Reason website (http://www.talkreason.org) in the section titled Anthropic Principle. This section also contains several other interesting papers by various authors approaching the anthropic coincidences from various angles.

Bill Jefferys Wrote:

I have placed a copy with lower case on the website so that one can get it either way.

Thanks very much. It was precisely that paper I could not find.

Do enjoy the retirement!

FYI:

I wrote to the Smithsonian museum voicing my objection to their sponsoring a viewing of the film “The Privileged Planet” as soon as I heard about it (May 31st).

Today, June 23rd, I FINALLY received a response:

Smithsonian Information Wrote:

Your correspondence regarding the screening of “Privileged Planet” has been forwarded to the Smithsonian’s Public Inquiry Mail Service for response.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History recently approved a request by the Discovery Institute to hold a private, invitation only screening and reception at the Museum on June 23 for the film “The Privileged Planet.” Upon further review we have determined that the content of the film is not consistent with the mission of the Smithsonian Institution’s scientific research. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the National Museum of Natural History supports or endorses the views of the Discovery Institute or the film “The Privileged Planet.” Given that the Discovery Institute has already issued invitations, we will honor the commitment made to provide space for the event, but will not participate or accept a donation for it.

We appreciate your interest in the Smithsonian Institution and support of its programs.

/FYI

Sounds like Smithsonian changed its mind and actually accepted $5000.

More here:

http://realphysics.blogspot.com/200[…]romised.html

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This page contains a single entry by Andrea Bottaro published on June 7, 2005 6:42 PM.

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