The universe is cheating

There are some famous stories of people caught cheating, in which the primary evidence is statistical – no-one could have got that many answers right if they weren’t cheating. Secondary evidence is then found which detects how exactly they were cheating, and the rest is history. A thousand to one chance is usually considered the benchmark at which cheating is suspected, and further investigation is required. This is just as true in particle physics as it is in ordinary life. A million to one chance is usually considered the benchmark at which cheating is definitely proved, even without any evidence of how the cheating was done. This is just as true in particle physics as it is in ordinary life.

A billion to one chance is just no contest. One of my brothers told me today of just such an example he was involved in investigating. A billion billion to one chance is about as close to certainty as you could possibly get, wouldn’t you say? Why is it, then, that when the universe has been caught cheating the accepted rules of physics, at the billion billion to one level, no-one takes a blind bit of notice? No-one is going to say the universe is wrong, of course (actually, people do, sad to say) – the universe is what it is. It is the accepted rules of physics that are wrong, not the universe.

Particle physics produces answers to questions about masses of elementary particles, that are very suspiciously close to answers to questions about gravitational properties of the Solar System. How does the universe know that these apparently completely different questions have the same answers? At one level, it doesn’t matter how the universe knows. What matters is the statistical evidence that the universe does know. That means the universe knows something we don’t know. That is the biggest clue to what is wrong with our physical theories that we could ever hope to find. Why don’t we act on it?

Probably for the same reason we don’t act on global warming. We just don’t care.

Advertisement

One Response to “The universe is cheating”

  1. Robert A. Wilson Says:

    What’s that you said?

    “Don’t care was made to care,
    “Don’t care was hung,
    “Don’t care was put in a pot
    “And boiled till he was done.”

    Pretty much describes global warming.
    What about physics?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: