Sunday, August 20, 2006
If you miss one theory of cosmic origins, you can be pretty sure there will be another one along in a minute. The latest comes from Neil Turok - see here. Turok, seemingly supported by Stephen Hawking, thinks a Big Bang happens every trillion years or so when two universes collide and start - I think this is right - all over again. I have always been puzzled by the exact status of these ideas. I know they are part of physics but are they a necessary part? How could we ever know whether they were right or wrong? The very fact that they change so often suggests that any evidence either way must be very inconclusive. They seem so remote from any experimental confirmation that it might be more accurate to treat them as theology, games or even insanely elaborate metaphors. Perhaps, in spite of Wallace Stevens' efforts, they are what poetry is now. But science? Somehow I doubt it.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 3:46 pm