Monday, January 27, 2014

Hawking flips on black holes

Fox Newe reports:
Stephen Hawking now says there are no black holes, doing an about-face on the objects that helped cement his reputation as the world’s preeminent scientist, ...
Here is Hawking's paper, and the New Scientist story. Another account says:
The wheelchair-bound genius has posted a paper online that demolishes modern black hole theory. He says that the idea of an event horizon, from which light cannot escape, is flawed.

It is considered one of the pillars of physics that the incredible gravitational pull created by the collapse of a star will be so strong that nothing can break free...much of this is thanks to Hawking’s own work.

But Hawking smashes this idea by saying that rather than there being an inescapable event horizon, we should think of a far less total “apparent horizon”. And, at a stroke, he has contradicted Albert Einstein.

He sets out his argument in the paper, called Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting For Black Holes, which is likely to send his fellow scientists into a spin.

Hawking writes: “The absence of event horizons means that there are no black holes — in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity.”
Hawking is the world's most famous physicist, and his biggest accomplishments are in theoretical work supporting the existence of black holes and event horizons. And now he puts out some stupid 2-page paper saying that they don't exist?!

Physics has degenerated to the point where its biggest names give nonsense interviews about nonsense papers claiming to solve nonsense problem. There is no actual scientific evidence brought to beat at all.

Peter Woit criticized Max Tegmark's math multiverse, and finds himself saying:
I am not now and never have been a creationist.
He blocks comments on this subject. He seem a bit sensitive to me, as no New York liberal SWPL intellectual wants to be associated with creationists. Not that anyone even accused him of having anything to do with creationists.

Intelligent Design does have something in common with Tegmark's mathematical universe hypothesis. Both say that the universe shows properties of a mathematical design. Both refuse to be limited by materialism. Both are criticized for lacking empirical evidence. Both make arguments like "I find it valuable when the community carefully explores the full range of logical possibilities."

Woit also complains about a new movie about the Earth being the center of the universe, and featuring physicists. Apparently they quote physicists about the anthropic principle, fine-tuning, etc. It may also have some people misinterpreting the Bible. I do think that a lot of physicists say crazy stuff, so they should not be too upset when a movie shows them saying crazy stuff. And yes, I expect more from physicists than I do from Bible scholars.

Update: The movie producer is defensive about the movie, and says it is about the Copernican principle. He refuses to say whether he advocates geocentrism. He quotes:
Einstein on Copernicus: “The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [coordinate system] could be used with equal justification. The two sentences, ‘the sun is at rest and the earth moves’, or ‘the sun moves and the earth is at rest’, would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems].”
That is correct, and at the time of Copernicus the scientific evidence was against him. Those who say that Copernicus was more scientific than Ptolemy are seriously mistaken.

Tegmark doubles down on his creationist analogy, and argues that it is unscientific to say that multiverse ideas are nonsense without mentioning evidence to the contrary. I have made a point of posting Tegmark's so-called evidence. I say that there is no scientific evidence for the multiverse, except maybe for matter outside our light cone (level I multiverse).

Update: Wikipedia just reinserted this in its list of common misconceptions:
Black holes, contrary to their common image, have the same gravitational effects as any other equal mass in their place. They will draw objects nearby towards them, just as any other planetary body does, except at very close distances.[117] If, for example, the Sun were replaced by a black hole of equal mass, the orbits of the planets would be essentially unaffected. A black hole can act like a "cosmic vacuum cleaner" and pull a substantial inflow of matter, but only if the star it forms from is already having a similar effect on surrounding matter.[118]
This entry originally said that the misconception is that a black hole is like a cosmic vacuum cleaner, but many black holes are in fact sucking in huge amounts of matter. Maybe the physicists like Hawking and Polchinski have more misconceptions than the laymen.


  1. Stephen Crothers has been saying that there are no black holes all along:

  2. Craig,
    I have watched the same dialogue, and I have asked several physicists without an honest answer that does not revolve bluster or deflection: Are the equations that contain the black hole in relativity non linear or not? If they are non linear, what Hawking and pretty much most of physics community has done with black holes is pure hokum. The model contains no matter or energy, only an imaginary mass contained in a singularity of zero size, nothing else exists in this model to interact with, and is asymptotically flat (no curvature means this model is not compatible with the Big Bang model which requires spatial curvature). Also, what the hell does "outside a body" mean in relation to a purely abstract geometric (not physical) postulate called a 'point' or singularity which by any definition does not have any physical extension to attach size(volume) or mass to? What is outside of a zero sized body? Good Grief, did anyone pass basic geometry? If a size-less abstraction can be assigned mass without a volume to depend it from, why the hell do you need volume to calculate density to determine mass with? Just think about the arithmetic for a moment, a point is of zero size. M=DV. What happens to M if V is zero? Ok, D=M/V, what happens if V is zero? Oh yeah, geez, I forgot, if you are a famous name in physics, arithmetic does not apply to you, nor common sense or logic apparently.

    1. I haven't been through that part yet. I have just been through the part which shows that there are no black holes, because the original Schwarzschild solution (not Hilbert's modification) says so. What I don't understand is why none of the experts acknowledged this obvious fact.

  3. It's as if Hawking got sucked into a Black Hole of Calcutta, and came out an other end athwart where he hit the event horizon.