Higgs boson: The 'God Particle' explained

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If you cannot accept BBT then what do you accept?

The problem is with the word "accept".

What I "accept" is that a lot of work has gone into trying to make sense of experimental observations and astronomical evaluations, and that some people have developed a consistent set of mathematical descriptions that quantitatively account for those observations. I also realize that those mathematical descriptions involve a lot of assumptions, "tuned" parameters that were adopted on the basis of speculative conjectures about how things might work, and multiple "puzzles" and "paradoxes" and "dualities" that still can't be explained, but are just "accepted" by the modelers as inherent aspects of their current way of thinking about the observations and/or predictions for which there are no available observations.

What I don't "accept" is that unverified predictions must be correct, just because the "best" current model made those predictions. But the commercial media loves to print statements like "The whole universe started 13.8 billion years ago as a tiny spec that suddenly grew at speeds much faster than the speed of light, transforming pure energy to the matter that we see today," as if those are proven facts rather than the mathematical extrapolations of models that have some real problems with their verification.

I understand that the communication media companies will always seek to sell their wares by including "shock" in their advertisements. But, I do not like to see serious scientific discussions lose their connections to the bedrocks of observations and start suppressing thinking that does not adhere to the "best" model of the day. Even the best models of today are clearly not good enough in many respects, and people are working on improving them in many areas. In my opinion, we need to keep in mind that we might need some substantial rethinking of some fundamental concepts, not just small "tuning" modifications to make existing models continue to match each new observation of quantum level or cosmological level phenomena.

My person manner of thinking about scientific models is related to the level of confidence that can be developed in their structure, or alternatively, the uncertainty level associated with their structures. Unfortunately, there really is no complete process for estimating the total amount of uncertainty in a model or theory. So, I tend to think about known contributors to that total, without expecting to be able to even compare models on the basis of their respective totals.

In that way of thinking, the BBT has a lot of substantial contributors, or maybe I should call them "red flags" to its level of confidence that it has not gotten something substantially wrong. We have already talked about only having observed 5% of the matter and energy assumed by the model to exist in the present universe. And, we have astronomical observations that take us back only to about 6.4 billion years ago (assuming that the BBT is correct to back at least that point in time), leaving all previous times unobserved and conceptualized on the basis of quantum theory. But, we have no actual experiments of the conditions that we postulate to occur in the highly compressed universe before that time, and are inferring them on the basis of proton-on-proton collision debris observed in atom-smasher experiments, which involve the interactions on only pairs of protons per interaction, not a universe's worth of matter all interacting simultaneously in extremely dense configuration.

So, my personal confidence in the BBT before 6.4 billion years ago is very low, and even after that time, I am open to other interpretations of the the currently available observations.

That doesn't make me "ignorant" or "stupid", although I am surely not as knowledgeable about the intricacies of the specific models as are those who developed them or even studied them as coursework for their college degrees in physics or whatever. I just have a somewhat different focus on the models, thinking about how much is actually verified as my top priority, rather than having a top priority to make the models work with each new observation.

Although I have been a "modeler" in my past employment, I was also used as a reviewer, so I tend to think of other people's models as a reviewer, rather than as an implementer. As a reviewer, I not infrequently found errors that had the character of being suitable for use in the situations where the model was tuned and intended to be used, but still resulted in bad predictions and wrong conclusions when applied to substantially different situations.

Although it is clearly not exactly the same thing, it is that type of limited thinking applied as a quantitative model to normal operations that led to the operating crew at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant misinterpreting their instrument readings, thus taking the wrong corrective actions during an off-normal situation, and ultimately letting the reactor core in Unit 2 overheat and melt back in 1979. That is the problem with not being able to think "outside the model" sometimes referred to as "the box".
You didn't answer my question. If you don't accept BBT then what theory do you accept? What is better than BBT?

I actually did answer your question. To make it clear, I don't have to "accept" any model for the origin of the universe that we see. I can simply accept that I don't see any model that meets my criteria for "acceptance" if the definition of "accept" is "to believe."

I do agree that the BBT model is the most fully developed model, so far. But, state of development is not the same as correctness.

I think I should also address your statement
There is no such thing as "true" in science. Nothing can be proven true. Things can only be proven false.

I would argue that observations are "true" when they can be repeated reliably. So, I agree that it is true that we cannot measure any motion of Earth through an "aether" that was the postulated medium of propagation for light waves, while still agreeing that light does propagate and displays some characteristics of waves. And, I also would argue that some of the strange time measurement predictions from the theories that evolved from that observation are "true" because we have actually made measurements and they match the predictions. That is as "true" as things get in science or any other thought process.

So, I strongly disagree that science cannot prove that something is true. You seem to believe that it is true that the Earth is not flat, right? Think about why you believe it is (roughly) spherical. That belief is based on repeatable observations.

Now, tell me what observations make you believe that the whole universe started as a speck too small to measure any parameters in due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Don't forget to list the many assumptions needed to make a coherent theory that gets to that result. (I don't really expect you to do that, because it would be an enormous task just to list the assumptions - listing the observations would be doable, but still quite a task.) I think you would have to conclude that the BBT is dominated by its assumptions, rather than actual observations.

Remember that we are only making observations at a very limited location for a very limited time period in the history of the universe. Theories that assume things like "dark energy" "inflating" space at speeds enormously beyond the speed of light are not anything we have observations to support. They are only inferences made from observations and many, many assumptions.

And, when a favorite theory predicts something that seems weird, there is a tendency to accept that, but reject any conflicting thoughts on the same subject as too weird if there has not been a lot of effort to make a similarly complicated model with those thoughts. The cyclic universe is an example of a competitor to the BBT. Why accept that there was a dark energy that behaved in different ways at different times in the universe's history, but not be willing to accept that there may be different forces or even different temporal behaviors of the same force that would result in a cyclic universe instead of a once-and-done universe? Can you show that one is false?
Just as BBT is the best we have for the universe, spherical Earth is best we have for the shape of the Earth. Just as numerous observations repeat showing a spherical Earth, numerous lines of evidence point to BBT. BBT is not "dominated by assumptions". Elsewhere on this forum is a thread listing 26 lines of evidence supporting BBT. Refute them and replace with some other theory and you might have something.
Bill, I think we are done with this particular conversation. I have read the thread you mention, already - more than once, actually.

But, for you to equate the level of confidence in the Earth being (approximately) spherical with the confidence that that BBT is correct in its position about everything for the last 13.8 billion years ago is a conversation killer. There is just no comparison to the level of confidence in the correctness of those 2 things. One is provable by repeatable observations, and the other is probably permanently unobservable. So, it seems clear to me that you do not understand my reasoning and aren't trying to do so.

So we will just have to leave it at my position is that the current version of the BBT is quantitatively dominated by assumptions that are used to explain observations, rather than directly by observations. I understand that there could be other assumptions for the same observations that could imply other "histories" of the observed universe prior to 13.4 billion years ago. Since you seem to be just as committed to believing the whole BBT as you are to believing that the Earth is round, I don't see any further reason to try to explain the concept of "confidence".

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