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Thursday, December 22. 2011
I am not a knowledge-nihilist, but readers know that I take everything I hear with a grain of salt. Stupid not to.
The big thing in recent years for theoretical physicists is the replacement of the notion of the "universe" with the notion of the "multiverse." A quote from The accidental universe: Science's crisis of faith:
Read the whole thing. Science fiction, epistemology, God - it's all on the table. All uplifting, bedazzling, profoundly confusing, and probably more the stuff of poetry than of prose. I have no doubt that Really Big Reality is beyond human perception, comprehension or imagination. I am prone to term that swirl of transendent incomprehensibility "God." Not a tame lion, as CS Lewis said. Sometimes reality seems mystical, and labelled "mysticism" just a pale copy.
And, despite it all, we all get up in the morning, say our prayers, get dressed, grab a Dunkin, go to the gym, take a shower, and get to work. Even the theoretical physicists and the priests and minsters do it.
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science focuses on the why, the how of the universe. Science has methodologies that can confirm empirically its postulates
Religion on the meaning of one's life.
Religious approaches are belief systems: non provable, but a matter of what one has learned or one's aesthetic and moral ideas of how to live life.
These are separate realms.
As directed, I read the whole thing. Conclusion: Theoretical physicists have learned more and more about less and less until now, they know nothing about everything. Not sure just what they have contributed to our store of knowledge, but their stuff makes for some dandy PBS and cable channel TV shows.
aristotle and those in the scholastic schools thought they could understand the nature of the universe and humanity's place in it, and newtonian physicists thought that with full knowledge of the mechanics of motion one could determine the past or future, but since the 20th century this this certainty of knowledge has vanished.
quantum mechanics shows us that the mind (experiencing the world as it does through limited senses*) has not evolved such that we can have an intuitive grasp of the non-causality and other quantum strangeness that is what most of the physical world really is.
so why should we expect to comprehend the mysteries of Christian faith, which are magnitudes beyond the physical realm? if anything, cutting edge science clearly shows the how truly limited the human mind really is.
* i.e., 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV).
Science focuses on the "what," as well as when, where, and how.
But "why" is a religious question, at least when applied to any thing (or event) that a human didn't create or do -- because if an event was accidental, or a thing wasn't designed, then there is no reason for it -- no "why."
And the trouble with positing a Creator is that you're still left with the question of who created Him/Her/It. Which is right where you started.
But by the same token, if the answer to the "why" of the universe is "It just is," then we're no further ahead than people who say God "just is."
Very interesting and probably the best wrap up of the cosmology and physics revolving around the current concepts of the multi-verse that I've seen - nicely done.
I'm not in the diverse multi-verse camp as the article explains it - meaning that I do believe that there are multiple universes, but they are just a phase shift away from our own. One of the best ideas I've read about is the idea of "branch universes" which is based on the concept that every decision we make everyday creates an alternate reality which does not differ from ours at all with the exception that a different path was chosen at that particular time. When you consider the possibilities of an infinite number of universes, other considerations, such as time travel, faster-than-light speeds, etc., become just a challenge in technology rather than theory or engineering.
I have an alternative concept to the "branch" theory which is the "pocket universe" theory which actually blends quite well with the whole branching construct. When you think about it, the "universe" as we conceive of it contains billions of stars, galaxies and on Earth, people. We tend to think of this universe as a whole. But what if we, as individuals, are living in our own real universe - that we are standalone universes (as individuals or "pockets") interacting with other universes in a never ending dance of changing probabilities, possibilities and space/time continuums? If you consider not only the human aspect, but the physical aspect in terms of probability (if a star goes nova in one, does it necessarily have to go nova in another or different universe), you define something that is infinite in nature with an infinite amount of possible outcomes.
I did some reading a while back about the Higgs-Boson particle in which the basic conjecture was that the Higgs-Boson particle didn't want to be found. Which is entirely possible by the way, but not in the sentient individualistic sense. The idea was the the Higgs-Boson was truly a "God" particle, might be part of the very fabric of "God" as a concept and thus unknowable or unviewable in our current state of consciousness. In other words, to truly know the nature of the Higgs-Boson, one must venture in to the world of meta-physics to even begin to grasp the idea and nature of "God" and his construction.
It is a fascinating subject area and one that I wish would be solved before I pass from this mortal veil. Then again, it just may be that we will be just changing planes of existence and moving on to a different universe.
And now, I will exit stage left and take an aspirin. That comment hurt my brain. :>)
The new cosmology has nothing to do with science. It's admitted right there in the Harper's article what the motivation of these phony "theories" are, finding some reason to avoid the obvious conclusion of science, the fine-tuning for life of both micro and macro structures of matter proves intelligent design.
Academic culture and non-commercial science is whored out completely to ideological materialism. By positing this childish fantasy of infinite universes they pretend there's a "random" mechanism to explain our miraculous existence.
Whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.
It proves nothing of the kind and here is why.
Look around you. Do you see the diversity of species, the sheer number of types and kinds of beetles for example? The number, size and shape of stars? Now exo-planets? Different galaxies and the sheer size of our universe?
There is no intelligent design as you seem to understand it. An Intelligent Designer wouldn't have created just one planet in one solar system in one galaxy in the universe. An Intelligent Designer wouldn't limit the experiment to those restrictions when they have a whole universe to tinker with. Do you seriously think that an Intelligent Designer would limit life to carbon base only?
Of course not. We are, as the Bible says, made in His image. If we're made in his image, then that is proof positive that curiosity is a key to intellect and no Intelligent Designer would be....well, limited to simply one thing, idea or concept. An Intelligent Designer would have to be a rational being operating by the laws of logic and by extention logic and rational thinking the very fabric of the Designer's nature. Why would an all powerful Designer limit themselves given that nature?
The answer is they wouldn't because curiosity would drive the need to build, create, construct and experiment.
I doubt that humans really want to know what reality is.
By the end of this century, we will be able to redesign and upgrade our brain, and connect it to vast computers. That will allow us to rethink everything. Again, I doubt that humanity will survive the knowledge.
At this time in history this is no surprise. For the university elite, that can not make a judgement of which culture in a multicultural society is more functional, is it any surprise that they find all things around them to be "accidental".