Bad news for the anti-anthropic crowd

“I want to report that I think I have solved a major problem in theoretical physics,” announced [Stephen] Hawking as he described his solution to the black hole information paradox.

This paradox, ironically, stems from Hawking’s own work. In the 1970s he proved that black holes lose mass by emitting radiation and eventually evaporate altogether. But this conflicted with the laws of quantum physics, which state that information about what fell into the black hole can never be completely wiped out. Hawking previously argued that the intense gravitational fields inside the black hole were unravelling the laws of quantum mechanics, possibly sending the information shooting off into other universes. Now he thinks the information simply leaks out back into our own Universe.

Hawking explains the implications. “I’m sorry to disappoint science fiction fans, but if information is preserved, there is no possibility of using black holes to travel to other universes.

And, incidentally, there’s no reason to believe those other universes exist, as much as those made uncomfortable by the Anthropic Principle might wish them to. This isn’t to say that they don’t, only that there’s less scientific evidence for other universes than there is for intelligent design.

Speaking of science fiction, here’s one of my reader’s peeves. A new principle is no sooner discovered/conceived when the intrepid hero can suddenly use it to leap around all space and time, or create a weapon from it. When has the move from the conceptual to the practical ever taken place in time measured in months, much less minutes?