Rick Rosner on the Big Bang Theory and Informational Cosmology
Excerpts form In-Sight's interview with Rick G. Rosner
© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2014.
"There might be some clues to the universe being older than its
apparent age. If the universe undergoes repeated multi-billion-year
unfoldings, there should be lots of stuff that’s older than the apparent
14-billion-year age of the universe. That stuff won’t necessarily be in
our immediate neighborhood – we’re new – we came into being as part of
the current unfolding.
Via repeated cycles (not cycles of the entire universe expanding and
contracting – not an oscillating universe – more like a rolling boil) of
galaxies lighting up and burning out, the dark matter we’re looking for
(to explain gravitational anomalies such as the outer rims of galaxies
rotating faster than accounted for by the distribution of visible stars)
might be a bunch of neutron stars and near-black holes. If anything
could survive repeated cycles without being completely ablated away, it
would be near-black holes. (Don’t really believe in fully black holes.) A
universe which has gone through a zillion cycles might have generated a
bunch of burned-out junk (or, in an informational sense, massive
settled or solved (for the moment) equations or clumps of correlations
or memories or independent processors whose operations the wider
universe doesn’t much participate in/isn’t very conscious of) hanging
around on the outskirts of galaxies.
A brand-new universe – one that’s unfolded after a single big bang –
doesn’t have much opportunity to form a bunch of collapsed matter. But a
universe at a rolling boil – that is, a “continuing series of little
bangs” universe – would generate lots of junk. It’s that house with all
the trashed cars and plumbing fixtures scattered across the front yard.
Just for fun, we could multiply the 14-billion-year apparent age of
the universe by the 5 billion lifetime cycles of the human brain.
There’s no reason to assume that the universe goes through 500,000 or 5
googol rolling cycles. But anyhow, 5 billion times the apparent age of
the universe gives you 70,000,000,000,000,000,000 years. That’s based on
not much. What if the expected duration of a self-contained system of
information (in terms of rolling cycles) is proportional to the
complexity of the system? What if the complexity, like the average
distance from the origin of a random walk, is proportional to duration
squared? The universe could be really old.
No way the universe unfolds just once. No way it’s only 14 billion years old."
"In a Big Bang universe, we can see across nearly 14 billion light
years. (Microwave background radiation has spent nearly the apparent
lifetime of the universe reaching us.) But we’re not looking at a sphere
14 billion light years in radius, because the background radiation
comes from a very small, young, recently exploded universe. (There’s a
maximum radius we can see as we look across greater distances and
farther into the past. Beyond that radius, we’re seeing increasingly
smeared-out images of our universe when it was younger and smaller. Of
course, every image we see is of a younger universe, but it’s usually
only younger by a few billionths of a second – the time light takes to
cross a room.)
If we could see to infinity, we wouldn’t see Big Bang space as
completely filling three-dimensional space. Looking farther and farther,
we’d see the universe getting smaller and smaller (because younger and
younger), until it’s a point at T = 0. But that’s just because we’re
looking back in time. Though we can’t see it because of the finite speed
of light, a Big Bang universe can be a fully three-dimensional surface
of a hypersphere.
But I don’t think we live in a Big Bang universe. Due to the nature
of an information-space universe, it looks quite a bit like a Big Bang
universe, and that it started with a Big Bang is a natural first
conclusion to reach, based on general relativity and the Hubble
redshift. Note that the idea of the Big Bang – space exploding from an
initial point – while seeming indisputably established, is less than 100
years old, and has been the predominant theory of universal structure
for less than 50 years.
A Big Bang universe is nearly the same everywhere – the result of a
uniform outward expansion. But a universe that doesn’t blow up all at
once isn’t the same everywhere. It has an active center and burned-out
and collapsed outskirts clustered close to what looks like T = 0. This
universe may not be perfectly three-dimensional – space is highly curved
and riddled with collapsed stuff near the apparent origin, which may
mean that space is effectively less than three-dimensional at great
"I think the universe isn’t inherently unstable in size, with overall
stability being a characteristic of an information-based universe. That
is, though parts of it can expand and contract, the universe isn’t going
to keep flying apart to some cold, thin oblivion or collapse into an
infernal dot. (At least without some outside agency acting upon it. The
loss or degradation of the physical structure which supports the
universe would result in the loss of the information within the
universe. As the universe loses information, it would become less
well-defined, which might look like a collapse and heating up of the
universe – a big bang in reverse.) The scale and size of the universe
should be roughly proportional to the amount of information it contains
(with local scale and size depending on the information/matter
distribution as viewed from each particular neighborhood)."
"In a Big Bang universe, it’s unlikely that there aren’t a bunch of
civilizations a million years old and more. Unless something
consistently wipes out civilizations, which would be weird. Or
civilizations link up or are colonized into super-civilizations
extending across swaths of the galaxy. So the question becomes, what
does a civilization do for a million years or ten million or a billion?
I’d guess that there’s some principle that the number of interesting
things to do increases along with the computational power of your brain
(or your brain plus your super-computing add-ons). Otherwise, you and
your civilization would go nuts from boredom.
In an informational cosmology universe, civilizations could survive
for longer than the apparent age of the universe. You could have
civilizations tens or hundreds of billions of years old or more. I’m
guessing that if this is the case, then such civilizations are very
involved in the business of the universe. They have a good idea of the
universe’s objectives, and they help with its operations. A big, old,
highly organized universe might include highly developed technicians.
Kinda doesn’t make sense that it wouldn’t.
I imagine that, among other things, long-lasting civilizations might
be able to manipulate quasars to hose down dormant galaxies with
neutrinos, awakening those galaxies. (Can also imagine this might be
wrong and dumb.) Can’t imagine how a civilization or entity could
persist for 100 billion years without going stir-crazy, but it has 100
billion years to figure out fun things to do. (A hundred billion years
is the ultimate endless Sunday afternoon.)"
"With regard to time, I think the biggest question is, if the universe
is vastly, wildly ancient, with its Big Bang age only an apparent age,
why does the universe look so precisely as if it had a Big Bang? The
answer must have to do with the nature of information. (Or with me being
wrong. But I’m not.) The active center of the universe is where new
information is being formed. Protons entering the active center are new –
either they’ve been created from neutrons in collapsed matter, or
they’ve come from a soup of unstructured primordial matter around T = 0.
(I picture space around T = 0 consisting of collapsed galaxies,
separated by their Hubble/general relativistic vectors along with a
large local gravitational constant, all suspended in a dense primordial
All the protons are new, though most of them are contextualized by
the once-collapsed and now uncollapsing galaxies they’re part of. They
all enter the active center from close to T = 0. The protons’ (and
electrons’) interactions with each other puff up the space they share in
what looks like a Big Bang. Galaxies don’t have to all enter the active
center at the same time. Since all galaxies enter from close to T = 0,
more recently lit-up galaxies look like they’re located in part of the
universe that’s distant from us, so we’re seeing them earlier in their
The proton interactions have to start from around T = 0. They have to
create the space they’re in – the active center, which, as galaxies
light up, expands like a Big Bang universe. The protons and their
galaxies create information through a shared history that plays out in
what looks like a Big Bang – they enter at the beginning of apparent
time, and space expands around them.
Some conceptual trouble comes when galaxies burn out. They recede
from the active center, which means they’re moving backwards in apparent
time. I guess this is okay. Observers within a burned-out galaxy would
see something like a Big Crunch, I suppose.
The apparent age of the universe could stay roughly the same for a
very long time, as newly lit-up galaxies enter from near T = 0 and
burned-out galaxies recede back towards T = 0. Or the apparent age can
change as more or less business is done in the active center. You could
have relatively few galaxies in the active center, with the universe
kind of being asleep, or you could have a relative multitude."