Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Tale of Two Anomalies

Anomaly One: CMB AXIS

Physically observed over 9 years, 2001- 2010.

Constitutes direct challenge to fundamental assumption of modern cosmology.

Ascribed to galactic foreground contamination, scanning beam anomaly, dust foreground contamination, discrepancies in data extraction algorithms 2003-2013

Physically observed again 2013, by different mission, different scanning apparatus, different orbit, different data extraction algorithms.

Dismissed as "3 sigma" anomaly, a "statistical glitch" in media coverage.

Anomaly Two: Dark Matter

Physically observed in three particle detections, 2013.

Constitutes supporting claim for missing component in standard cosmology.

Described as "3 sigma" detection- strong evidence in favor of detection in media coverage (one guy has  decided the evidence is actually 10 sigma!).

Consilience in action.

Anomaly One is a challenge to the foundational assumption of all our standard cosmology.

Anomaly Two is a potential big supporting piece of the puzzle for all our standard cosmology.

Some anomalies are more equal than others.

In the meantime, Popper reminds us:

  1. "It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory — if we look for confirmations.
  2. Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory — an event which would have refuted the theory.
  3. Every "good" scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.
  4. A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.
  5. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.
  6. Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory. (I now speak in such cases of "corroborating evidence.")
  7. Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers — for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a "conventionalist twist" or a "conventionalist stratagem.")
One can sum up all this by saying that the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiabilityor refutabilityor testability."


The universe is now observationally shown to be non-isotropic on its largest observable scales. 

This violates the cosmological principle.

The universe's largest scale observed anisotropy- the CMB "Axis of Evil"- is aligned with our ecliptic and equinoxes.

This violates the Copernican Principle.

There is no "three sigma" to this whatsoever.

The Axis is real.

It exists.

Whether it can be dismissed as a "three sigma" anomaly is completely irrelevant, and is a question that deals with statistical probabilities from within the assumptions of consensus cosmology's model- a model which failed to predict the Axis in the first place, and instead positively counter-predicted it.

The "probability" of the Axis is a question which assumes we know how probable the universe is.

We don't.

Our sample size, when it comes to universes, is exactly one.

The Axis is a hugely important discovery, since it refutes the foundational assumption upon which our modern scientific world view has rested for centuries.

The dismissal of the Axis provides an even more important insight into an hypothesis I have developed elsewhere on this blog:

Consilience lies at the heart of the post-scientific method.

Falsification lies at the heart of the scientific method.

We are now witnessing the steady progress of the post scientific method.

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