Scientists May Have Already Destroyed the Universe!

Uh Oh. Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss has spent a lifetime defending science, but what will he do now that his own discipline apparently poses the greatest threat to the universe anyone has ever imagined since Ming the Merciless? According to Krauss (correction: according to journalists who spoke with Krauss, uh oh), merely by observing Dark Energy, we may have shortened the life of the universe. Or something…

Not Impressed By This Turn of Events:

If you want to console yourself by looking back on more pleasant times, here’s Krauss and Dawkins having a cordial and always interesting debate over whether science can speak to religion.

Update: Krauss himself corrects and clarifies in the comments. Universe outlook upgraded to “unstable,” which is, of course, its natural, healthy state! It’s a fair cop, aye, but shoddy science journalism is to blame.

Bottom line: if a popular media piece on anything even tangentially related to quantum physics is less than the size of an entire People Magazine, it’s probably not too reliable.

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6 Responses to Scientists May Have Already Destroyed the Universe!

  1. Lawrence Krauss says:

    needless to say, our result was misinterpreted by the press… in part because of somewhat confusing language at the end of our paper, and in part due to glib remarks I made to a reporter which he took to imply causality where there should have been none… the sentences at the end of the paper have been tightened so that hopefully future reports will be more accurate.

  2. Bad says:

    Er… crap. In that case… I’m actually trying to get hired for a job at Case Western, and I don’t want have to explain an “mistakenly tried to save the universe by stopping notable supervillain Larry Krauss from observing universe” addendum to my cover letter. I sort of suspected something was funky (at least given my understanding of quantum mechanics, which is enthusiastically but decidedly amateur, the story in the piece didn’t all seem to fit together), but I had no way of judging for sure. I look forward to the nearly always superior and infinitely more accurate coverage of this that’s generally provided by sciencebloggers these days instead of journalists, as well as, of course, the paper itself.

    Speaking of resumes, I have a friend who used to work at Bell Labs just a few doors down from a guy who could probably have legitimately put “helped discover the vast majority of the universe” at the top of his resume. Sigh. Science is awesome.

  3. when the universe is designed to get itself packed into a black-hole eventually, why worry about science doing any damage.

  4. Bad says:

    Black hole? I thought we actually had the opposite problem???

    My whimsical idea has always been that the goal humanity should set itself is saving the universe from whatever doom it ultimately faces. It’s a task that seems laughably impossible, literally impossible… and yet, geez, we’ve got like, a ridiculous amount of spare time to figure out how to do it. :)

  5. Richyho says:

    Am I clear to climb out from underneath the kitchen table now then? And I can’t breathe properly with this bag on my head. Please advise…

  6. […] on the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, I figured it was time for some follow-up on my “Scientists May Have Already Destroyed the Universe!” post. If you’ve forgotten already, the controversy there was a story in the New […]

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