By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood

Is the Rip-Bang theory a good theory?

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Is the Rip-Bang worthy?

No, at least not without framing it alongside ideas like the belief in ghosts. Let’s use this idea to explore the philosophy of science.

First, the Rip-Bang theory. It is an idea that links the wild but less speculative Big Rip to a new Big Bang. Somehow, as it rips apart the last particles, a new singularity sometimes occurs, causing a new universe. While it’s an interesting idea, it’s just a thought. Not disproven, just lacking.

Absurd ideas are a dime a dozen. For example, I have the idea that Bigfoot-like creatures are actually the descendants of Gigantopithecus. I’m mostly joking, but I do think it is more likely than the Rip-Bang. Yes, more likely! Most would scorn my idea, even though I could easily weave a web of empirical data and rational ideas, and map a very plausible path from them to sightings in North America. We know they survived in Asia until about 100,000 years ago. Is it all that unrealistic to explore the idea that a population diverged, migrated north, and crossed the Bering Straight? Fast forward, perhaps due to their elusive nature and dwindling numbers, they faded from the historical record, only to be glimpsed as Bigfoot in the modern era. All more likely than the so-called Rip-Bang theory.

Don’t get me wrong, I love any new idea including wild ones. They are an important and natural part of inspiring new thinking. But I also think it is easy to carve them out as speculative. It is important to label them as irrational and focus on our rational ideas about the empirical. For more on the nature of speculative ideas, take the deep dive: Speculative Ideas in Science: Rip-Bang, Bigfoot, and Beyond.

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June 16, 2024 Edition
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