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Cutting Strings with Occam's Razor


One should not increase, beyond what is necessary,
the number of entities required to explain anything.

                                                                            William of Occam


The Focus

In the November 2007 issue of Scientific American is an article with the title The Great Cosmic Roller-Coaster Ride.   Some quotes and ideas from this article along with some comments of mine follow.   Neither the part of this website concerned with near misses nor the part concerned with confirmations seem adequate to express the pertinent parts of this article.   Better to give the article separate treatment, both to explain its content and to show how nether theory (dynamic ether theory) addresses the same issues.

The Vaster Realm

After the title of the article in large letters is Could cosmic inflation be a sign that our universe is embedded in a far vaster realm?   In my view, the answer is a pronounced affirmative, the Big Bang in nether theory being created by a concentration of nether (dynamic ether) at a point within an infinite nothingness.   The nothingness is definitely a far vaster realm in which our universe is embedded.

In the first paragraph of the article is a conjecture that other universes may exist that we are not able to detect from our little universe that is 46 billion light-years in radius and filled with sextillions of stars.   This is again in keeping with nether theory (as a reasonable conjecture) because there is no reason why other universes similar to our own could not exist in the vastness of the nothingness.

The second paragraph of the article includes the conjecture that other universes might be able to interact with ours.   In nether theory, this is a possibility.   The paragraph goes on to mention that as an extension of string theory there are branes (membranes) which might constitute a universe such as ours - a three-dimensional brane inside a nine-dimensional space.   This conjecture seems a bit excessive when in nether theory, only three dimensions of space and one dimension of time are necessary.

The Expansion of the Universe

Moving on in the article, we see ...the universe is expanding at an ever quickening pace, driven by some unidentified constituent known as dark energy.   Most cosmologists think that an even faster period of accelerated expansion, known as inflation, also occurred long before atoms, let alone galaxies, came into being.   Of course, in nether theory there is nether which is a fluid through which energy is transmitted and which is expanding into the nothingness.   Since all energy is transmitted by means of nether and all is composed of nether in motion, it might be considered reasonable to call nether dark energy - even though such a title tends to lead one away from the truth.

Furthermore, when nether expands from a very concentrated form into a vast nothingness, the rate of expansion (as is the case in any explosion) is initially accelerated at an astronomical rate which is reduced over time to the acceleration we see today - and will continue to be reduced (but never completely stopped) as time continues to pass.   Bear in mind that this acceleration might be stopped (as well as the expansion) were we to encounter another universe as it expands.   Note that the initial acceleration is easily explained in nether theory without the requirement of another term such as inflation.

Farther on in the article, is But do the laws of physics actually produce this inflation?..   It is notoriously difficult to get a universe full of regular forms of matter to accelerate in its expansion.   Such a speedup takes a type of energy with a very unusual set of properties: its energy density must be positive and remain almost constant even as the universe dramatically expands, but the energy density must then suddenly decrease to allow inflation to end.   The foregoing is composed of suppositions based upon currently accepted physics.   Nether theory does not have these problems.

Scalar Fields

The article goes on to introduce scalar fields and then states The scalar field that drove inflation, dubbed the "inflaton" field, evidently caused the expansion to accelerate for a long period before switching off abruptly.   A scalar field is just a mathematical construct used to explain what has not yet been properly explained.   Sometimes it might have some basis in reality and sometimes it might not.   Mathematicians can create almost anything (even invisible dimensions) that have no way of being visualized except through analogies.   Nether theory has no need for impossible-to-visualize scalar fields or inflatons.   Both are simply band-aids to save currently accepted theories.

Dimensions, Branes, and Proofs

The article goes on about string theory, In particular the theory predicts that space has precisely nine dimensions (so spacetime has 10 dimensions once time is included), which represent six more than the usual three of length, breadth, and height.   Those extra dimensions are invisible to us...   And there are special branes.   D-branes can have any number of dimensions up to nine.   A zero-dimensional D-brane is a special type of particle, a D1-brane is a special type of string (not the same as a fundamental string), a D2-brane is a membrane or a wall, a D3-brane is a volume with height, depth, and width, and so on...

...the acid test of string theory comes when it is confronted with experiments.   Here string theory has disappointed because it has not yet been possible to test it experimentally, despite more than 20 years of continued investigation.

Nether theory has no need of extra dimensions, or branes - however, to understand it, brains are required - preferably brains that are being used.   Nether theory has an abundance of experiments to prove it - experiments that have been performed over the course of humankind's existence.   See

Empirical Evidence


Add the Icing to the Cake

In regard to the unseen dimensions of string theory, the article goes on to say ...string theory predicts a scalar field with two properties.   First, its potential energy must be large, positive, and roughly constant, so as to drive inflation with vigor.   Second, this potential energy must be able to convert abruptly into kinetic energy...

Interestingly enough, nether acts as a scalar field that is positive but NOT constant (its density varies in a predictable manner) - and it can be converted abruptly into kinetic energy (such as the sudden annilation of an electron and positron upon meeting).

The good news is that string theory predicts no shortage of scalar fields   Wow!   This gives string theorists the ability to explain any problem in a similar way to that of particle physicists - who just add a new particle whenever there is a need for one.   The bad news is that the first calculations for the various scalar fields were not encouraging.   Their energy density proved to be very low - too low to drive inflation.

At this point, the article introduced antibranes.   Antibranes are to branes what antimatter is to matter.   They attract each other, much as electrons attract their antiparticles (positrons).   If a brane came near an antibrane, the two would pull each other together.   The energy inside the branes could provide the positive energy needed to start inflation, and their mutual attraction could provide the reason for it to end, with the brane and antibrane colliding to annihilate each other in a grand explosion...

In nether theory, there is a conjecture that some universes are composed of negative nether - when the nether equivalent of the Big Bang occurred, there was a negative universe created as well (from nothing, is created positive and negative - just as zero is the sum of all positive and negative numbers).   When a positive and a negative universe touch, the positive and negative nethers simply become nothing (the basis of each subatomic vortex - called a particle by particle physicists).   There is no attraction between the two universes.   There is no explosion when the two meet.   They are usually separated by the time dimension.

Gravity Waves

In the latter part of the article Cosmologists have long thought that inflation would produce gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space and time.   String theory may alter this prediction, because existing stringy inflation models predict unobservably weak gravitational waves.

In nether theory, gravity waves are indeed ripples in the nether that occur when gravity changes from stronger to weaker or from weaker to stronger.   These have been observed in the laboratory by rotating a dumbell about its center of gravity so that the ends remain in the plane of the rotation.   For more on this subject see

Gravity Waves, Gravitons, and Illusion


The Leading Candidate

At the beginning of the article is the statement String theory is the leading candidate for a fundamental theory of nature, but it lacks decisive experimental tests.   Cosmic inflation is the leading description of the universe's first instants, but it lacks an explanation in terms of fundamental physics.   Might string theory and inflation be the solution to each other's problems?

The foregoing should be modified to say String theory is the leading candidate according to certain theoretical physicists for a fundamental theory of nature...   After all, string theory is certainly not acceptable when one applies Occam's Razor.   And inflation?   Who needs it?

Occam's Razor

Perhaps the best reason to read this article is to show yourself how farfetched some of our present-day theoretical physicists and magazine editors will go to save their own [you know].  


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