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Old 28th November 2010, 05:28 AM   #1
Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
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Big Bang an also-ran?

Our friend Roger Penrose thinks he's found evidence for the conformal cyclic cosmology hypothesis:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11837869

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Old 28th November 2010, 05:59 AM   #2
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Oh yeah, I can see those concentric rings in the CMB, sure Penrose and Gurzadyan, those rings are obvious.

Submitted Nov 16, we will see how many revisions it has:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1011.3706

OMFSM: they found areas where the distribution of energy fluctuation is below the mean! Wow, even smart people can be dumb.
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Last edited by Dancing David; 28th November 2010 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 28th November 2010, 09:17 AM   #3
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Is a multi- cyclic expansion in any way simpler than a single inflationary event?
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Old 28th November 2010, 09:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Oh yeah, I can see those concentric rings in the CMB, sure Penrose and Gurzadyan, those rings are obvious.

Submitted Nov 16, we will see how many revisions it has:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1011.3706

OMFSM: they found areas where the distribution of energy fluctuation is below the mean! Wow, even smart people can be dumb.
Oh sure, Penrose is dumb! Has your own expert analysis ruled out those rings?
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Old 28th November 2010, 09:27 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
Is a multi- cyclic expansion in any way simpler than a single inflationary event?
Not necessarily, but it does away with questions about what came before.
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Old 28th November 2010, 09:50 AM   #6
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Well, only if it's an endless cycle. If there was a first event, then what came before
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Old 28th November 2010, 10:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
Oh sure, Penrose is dumb! Has your own expert analysis ruled out those rings?
Excuse me, you need to go back and practice reading, your english comprehension is poor.

I suggest you look at the word to which dumb references, and yes the statitical analysis is very weak, what is the range of vaitaion, why is the standrd deviation given and the level of variance of the alleged the alleged anomaly?

I am interested in what the referees will have to say.

Penrose has a philosophical reason for what he does that is backwards.
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Old 28th November 2010, 10:11 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
Not necessarily, but it does away with questions about what came before.
And that is an issue because?
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Old 28th November 2010, 10:13 AM   #9
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Even if that's true (I have yet to read the paper) that does NOT upend the Big Bang. It just says that the "initial state" of the Bang was a previous Big Crunch, as opposed to the current theory that the initial state was an inflationary period.
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Old 28th November 2010, 10:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
Oh sure, Penrose is dumb! Has your own expert analysis ruled out those rings?
I haven't looked at the evidence for these rings, but I strongly suspect it doesn't exist.

Regardless of the evidence, the theory that predicts them appears to be complete nonsense. Coming from anyone other than Roger Penrose, it would be ignored (and even coming from Penrose, it's being ignored by other physicists).

Gravity is not conformally invariant. The standard model is not conformally invariant. Therefore one cannot glue an infinitely expanded universe to a big bang and attain any degree of predictivity whatsoever. Not to mention that there is no justification for such a gluing in the first place.

Last edited by sol invictus; 28th November 2010 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 28th November 2010, 10:19 AM   #11
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Penrose is arguing against inflation, not the big bang.

Is this another version of an ekpyrotic universe?
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Old 28th November 2010, 10:29 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Skwinty View Post
Penrose is arguing against inflation, not the big bang.

Is this another version of an ekpyrotic universe?
It's similar, but even more poorly motivated and even less well controlled mathematically.

Ideas like this were around well before ekpyrosis, by the way.
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Old 28th November 2010, 11:17 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
and yes the statitical analysis is very weak, what is the range of vaitaion, why is the standrd deviation given and the level of variance of the alleged the alleged anomaly?
Even more fundamentally: They "examined 10885 choices of centre". For how many of those 10885 choices do they claim to have found the concentric rings?

The BBC News article says they found 12 candidates. So far as I can tell, the paper doesn't even say they found 12 candidates.

Supposing they found possible rings around 1 out of every 1000 potential centers, here's an obvious question: Suppose we take the WMAP data and subject it to random distortions that are guaranteed to remove the circularity of any rings that are actually present. What is the probability that their methods would still find at least 1 out of 1000 candidates in the distorted data?

Until they explain their methods in enough detail to answer that question, I don't think the paper is likely to be taken very seriously.
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Old 28th November 2010, 11:44 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by W.D.Clinger View Post
Supposing they found possible rings around 1 out of every 1000 potential centers, here's an obvious question: Suppose we take the WMAP data and subject it to random distortions that are guaranteed to remove the circularity of any rings that are actually present. What is the probability that their methods would still find at least 1 out of 1000 candidates in the distorted data?
Yes, my thoughts too (except that I didn't find it obvious ). Although one wonders what are the chances of finding multiple concentric rings (apparently up to five) in such a randomised data set?

What confused me is how these rings, supposedly representing events happening to massive galaxies and/or black holes in our current aeon (cycle) can represent events that happened in prior aeons - doesn't this imply that the same massive objects must have been around in previous aeons and survived multiple big crunch/big bang events relatively unchanged? So is the idea that the universe doesn't get compressed small enough to lose these semi-permanent structures? If so, how would this work - what overcomes the gravitational attraction of the collapsing universe and reverses it before these structures are squished?
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Old 28th November 2010, 12:50 PM   #15
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I find it a bit disturbing that when someone of Penrose's stature proposes ideas that differ with mainstream thinking (in an area that is as highly speculative as cosmology), the reaction seems to be so dogmatic. Skepticism should not stifle a little healthy speculation. How about allowing the evidence to play out?
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Old 28th November 2010, 12:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Dancing David
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perpetual Student
Not necessarily, but it does away with questions about what came before.
And that is an issue because?
If you don't think it's an issue, well -- it's not an issue.
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Old 28th November 2010, 01:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by sol invictus View Post
...
Gravity is not conformally invariant. The standard model is not conformally invariant. Therefore one cannot glue an infinitely expanded universe to a big bang and attain any degree of predictivity whatsoever. Not to mention that there is no justification for such a gluing in the first place.
Do you think Penrose is ignorant of these issues?
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Old 28th November 2010, 01:47 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
Our friend Roger Penrose ...
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I'm not familiar with this man. Could someone give a very short synopsis of what sounds like from this comment, his past woo views?
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Old 28th November 2010, 02:09 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I'm not familiar with this man. Could someone give a very short synopsis of what sounds like from this comment, his past woo views?
Take a look: LINK

This is no crackpot. The term "woo" is inappropriate here.
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Old 28th November 2010, 02:15 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I'm not familiar with this man. Could someone give a very short synopsis of what sounds like from this comment, his past woo views?
Roger PenroseWP is one of the world's best-known theoretical physicists. The paper being discussed concerns cosmology and relativity, in which he is certainly expert.

Penrose has also written books that argue for what Paul C. Anagnostopoulos and I would regard as a mystical view of consciousness. I don't think that's relevant here.

Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
I find it a bit disturbing that when someone of Penrose's stature proposes ideas that differ with mainstream thinking (in an area that is as highly speculative as cosmology), the reaction seems to be so dogmatic. Skepticism should not stifle a little healthy speculation. How about allowing the evidence to play out?
From what I have seen, the reactions in this thread have not been dogmatic. I see legitimate objections being raised to the current state of the paper being discussed.
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Old 28th November 2010, 02:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by W.D.Clinger View Post
Roger PenroseWP is one of the world's best-known theoretical physicists. The paper being discussed concerns cosmology and relativity, in which he is certainly expert.

Penrose has also written books that argue for what Paul C. Anagnostopoulos and I would regard as a mystical view of consciousness. I don't think that's relevant here.


From what I have seen, the reactions in this thread have not been dogmatic. I see legitimate objections being raised to the current state of the paper being discussed.
OK, I'll accept that.
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Old 28th November 2010, 05:55 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
I find it a bit disturbing that when someone of Penrose's stature proposes ideas that differ with mainstream thinking (in an area that is as highly speculative as cosmology), the reaction seems to be so dogmatic. Skepticism should not stifle a little healthy speculation. How about allowing the evidence to play out?
What's dogmatic about it?

Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
Do you think Penrose is ignorant of these issues?
I know for certain he isn't. I don't understand his attitude on this at all. It simply doesn't make sense.
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Old 28th November 2010, 07:35 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by W.D.Clinger View Post
Roger PenroseWP is one of the world's best-known theoretical physicists. The paper being discussed concerns cosmology and relativity, in which he is certainly expert.

Penrose has also written books that argue for what Paul C. Anagnostopoulos and I would regard as a mystical view of consciousness. I don't think that's relevant here....
OK, thanks. That puts the OP comment in perspective.
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Old 28th November 2010, 07:37 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
Take a look: LINK

This is no crackpot. The term "woo" is inappropriate here.
For the record, it was not an accusation, it was a question based on Paul's use of the term, "our friend".
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Old 28th November 2010, 09:48 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by sol invictus View Post
I haven't looked at the evidence for these rings, but I strongly suspect it doesn't exist.
Pamela Gay (of Astronomy Cast) was asked about this at TAMOz yesterday. She said she wanted to see a proper statistical analysis of the chance that there would be something like this to be detected just by chance. Which is a polite way to say that she suspects the evidence doesn't exist.
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Old 28th November 2010, 11:41 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by sol invictus View Post
What's dogmatic about it?
In my lifetime, ideas and discoveries (CMB, inflation, dark energy, etc.) have turned cosmological theories on their head. So, when new ideas are proposed by respected specialists (e.g.: Tegmark, Pensore), I expect serious people to thoughtfully consider these new ideas and share their own thoughts. So far, all I've seen in this thread is knee-jerk negativism.
It's disappointing.


Quote:
I know for certain he isn't. I don't understand his attitude on this at all. It simply doesn't make sense.
Perhaps you should make an effort to find out why.
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Old 29th November 2010, 01:01 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
In my lifetime, ideas and discoveries (CMB, inflation, dark energy, etc.) have turned cosmological theories on their head. So, when new ideas are proposed by respected specialists (e.g.: Tegmark, Pensore), I expect serious people to thoughtfully consider these new ideas and share their own thoughts. So far, all I've seen in this thread is knee-jerk negativism.
It's disappointing.
It appears to me the posters in this thread were considering those ideas and sharing their thoughts. At physics conferences I've attended, presenters receive probing questions and often critical comments. It part of the scientific process that new ideas are subjected to rigorous scrutiny.

I remember in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Feyman recalled when Niels and Aage Bohr visited Los Alamos. After Bohr had a discussion with the entire physics group, Bohr had Aage call Feynman the next time he visited to discuss his ideas one-to-one because Feynman was the only one who wasn't cowed by Bohr and would tell Bohr exactly what he thought about an idea.

Last edited by Philip; 29th November 2010 at 01:23 AM. Reason: Added text
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Old 29th November 2010, 04:37 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
In my lifetime, ideas and discoveries (CMB, inflation, dark energy, etc.) have turned cosmological theories on their head. So, when new ideas are proposed by respected specialists (e.g.: Tegmark, Pensore), I expect serious people to thoughtfully consider these new ideas and share their own thoughts. So far, all I've seen in this thread is knee-jerk negativism.
Why do you think it's "knee-jerk" and hasn't been thoughtfully considered? I've known of this theory for several years.

Quote:
Perhaps you should make an effort to find out why.
I did, actually.
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Old 29th November 2010, 05:32 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
I find it a bit disturbing that when someone of Penrose's stature proposes ideas that differ with mainstream thinking (in an area that is as highly speculative as cosmology), the reaction seems to be so dogmatic. Skepticism should not stifle a little healthy speculation. How about allowing the evidence to play out?
Excuse me Perpetual Student, my ideas regarding this paper are not dogmatic, I read that paper and its use of statistics is questionable. If they were to do some analysis on the SD of the CMB temperature and then show that the rings actually rise above the level of noise ditributed randomly, then I would not be sceptical.

You will notice that they do not even analyze the noise factor and they handwave other problems away, did you actually read the methodology?
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Old 29th November 2010, 05:42 AM   #30
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I certainly cannot match wits with Roger Penrose but his death and rebirth theory of the universe seems to lack one thing. On NOVA the scientists on that program explained how the universe as we know it will one day end in a way similar to a fire burning out. If the universe is to be reborn where will it get the energy to do that?

When the universe dies if the NOVA scientists are correct there will be no energy left to recreate anything.
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Old 29th November 2010, 05:48 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
If you don't think it's an issue, well -- it's not an issue.
The theory of inflation as well as the BBt does not address the issue of the conditions prior to the BBE, in fact given the lack of resolution between QM and GR, it is very difficult.

So for Penrose to apriori just say "I don't like it." and then go cherry picking through the CMB data to find these 'rings' without trying to gauge and control for the noise factors is not meaningful

http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1011/1011.3706.pdf

You will note that there is no effort to actually address the noise issue in the paper, they go to another set of data, which shows that for all his very obvious smarts, Penrose does not understand what noise is in statistics, there is no effort to determine if the signal they allege that they found actually is not just a random artifact of the distribution of the data.

As I said they make no attempt at any SD , they make no attempt to judge the sample for levels of variance for circles the alleged size of the signal, so it could all well be just an artifact of random distribution of the sample.


While not as bad as Arp this is very similar to Arp's poor use of statistics.

For Penrose to say that the signal is meaningful there are some simple ways he could show it, first the standard deviation of variance of the over all field, he is making a claim of uniformity for these circles that allegedly have a lower variance than the rest of the field. Then taking the SD of the over all field and showing that is has a significantly lower variance would be one.

The other would be to take a random sample of 1,000 'rings' in the field and show what the SD is for that set of data, then to show that the alleged signal is significant compared to that.
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Old 29th November 2010, 07:30 AM   #32
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http://telescoper.wordpress.com/2010...clic-universe/
A useful second opinion
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Old 29th November 2010, 07:45 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by edd View Post
Also fair and balanced without resorting to name calling.
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Old 29th November 2010, 09:01 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by edd View Post
Interesting discussion. Thanks.
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Old 29th November 2010, 09:07 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
In my lifetime, ideas and discoveries (CMB, inflation, dark energy, etc.) have turned cosmological theories on their head. So, when new ideas are proposed by respected specialists (e.g.: Tegmark, Pensore), I expect serious people to thoughtfully consider these new ideas and share their own thoughts. So far, all I've seen in this thread is knee-jerk negativism.
It's disappointing.
Maybe there's an irritation at what seems to be an attempt to bypass the peer review system by virtue of being a famous name? If that [b]unpublished[\b] paper didn't have Penrose's name on it do you think it would still have made in to the news?
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Old 29th November 2010, 12:30 PM   #36
Soapy Sam
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If the rings are real- ie statistically relevant:- is there any other explanation for them?
An imaging artifact? A completely unpredicted, but closer (ie Galactic or nearby) effect?
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Old 29th November 2010, 01:06 PM   #37
Dancing David
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
If the rings are real- ie statistically relevant:- is there any other explanation for them?
An imaging artifact? A completely unpredicted, but closer (ie Galactic or nearby) effect?
The problem is always the difference between what is significant. There are ways to find all sorts of significance, to say that it is not just inherent in random noise is another issue.

They ran through 10,000 data points to find the ones that matched the histograms, however they did not run samples to show that it is not just inherent in random noise.

It would be very easy to run different samples to dicover what the allged variable of 'variance' is across the whole field and withing samples of various sizes, then yiou can use standard deviations to show that the 'lack of variance', or 'low levels of variance' are within the mean, 1,2,3 SD away from the mean.

If the variable falls within one standard deviation then it is likely just a noise effect.
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Old 29th November 2010, 05:58 PM   #38
Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger
For the record, it was not an accusation, it was a question based on Paul's use of the term, "our friend".
He is "our friend" due to another context, as Clinger said. It was a bit snarky of me to use that term.

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Old 29th November 2010, 07:53 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Tubbythin View Post
Maybe there's an irritation at what seems to be an attempt to bypass the peer review system by virtue of being a famous name? If that [b]unpublished[\b] paper didn't have Penrose's name on it do you think it would still have made in to the news?
Please help me understand this criticism. He submitted his ideas using arXiv.org. That may not be the typical procedure, but why is that a major problem? His peers will certainly try to duplicate, analyze and critique his submission. It's not like he wrote a book seeking public approval while bypassing his peers (e.g.: Jared Diamond or Merritt Ruhlen).
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Old 29th November 2010, 08:03 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
I find it a bit disturbing that when someone of Penrose's stature proposes ideas that differ with mainstream thinking (in an area that is as highly speculative as cosmology), the reaction seems to be so dogmatic.
I find it a bit disturbing that you would think Penrose's stature has anything to do with it. Ei

Penrose's stature is derived from the soundness of his proposals. If this proposal is sound, his stature will only increase. But his increased stature will never make his proposals sound.
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