Thursday, May 10, 2012

Philosophy, First Cause and Physics

Hello All,
It's been a long time since I have written and my first thought after reading a certain NPR blog post recently was to post a link to it and start a dialogue with those who know way more about philosophy than I do (let's keep in ENGLISH, please)!

'What's the article', you ask. Here it is: Physics Vs. Philosophy: Really?
They comment on Lawrence Krauss' recent book and some of the response it/he have received.  I am fascinated by creation stories from different cultures and so it struck a chord in me.  I have had the 'first cause' of the universe on my mind lately, especially after watching a rousing discussion between Drs. Amir Aczel and Brian Greene (Aczel - Greene discussion) in which they discussed multiverse, bubble universes, the nature of infinity and the infinite universe.

Of  course, this is a landmark era in physics.  Our understanding of the universe is increasing and we are able to perform so many wonderful experiments.  It's even thought that within the next year we will know whether the SM Higgs Boson exists or not!  Next up?  SUSY?  haha

Well, I look forward to the anticipated comments from these links and being able to have my mind expanded!

1 comment:

  1. And I thought that I wouldn't be the first comment since I waited so long...

    [Before reading this comment you may want to read my post on Metaphysics.]
    I have not read the book, so I am just going on the various articles that discuss the book. From what I gather the core issue at play here is whether or not we can know, understand and model the first cause of the universe. In other words, whether or not the ultimate source of all reality is within our ability to understand and verify scientifically.For Lawrence Krauss it is. And his fundamental assumption is that because the ultimate metaphysics of the universe is known, there can be nothing beyond that. The general response of David Albert in the New York Times piece is, "You don't know the first thing about metaphysics." and then he proceeds to go all meta on everything Krauss has done (again, make sure you have read my post of metaphysics). This line of reasoning simply devolves into a succession of turtles all the way down.

    The problem is that with one way of looking at it you have turtles all the way down, the other you just have one final turtle before you have a "vacuum solution". The problem with both of these approaches is that both are arguing about things for which we do not have experience (i.e. observations or data). One of the things that Marcelo Gleiser pointed out in the NPR article is that throughout history there have been a variety of views of the ultimate stuff of reality, but with additional observations and technology these successive metaphysics have been disproven. Note that observations have never been disproven, or reality has never been shown to be inconsistent, but that our assumptions about what lies just beyond our physics (our metaphysics) has always been shown to be wrong. I see no reason why that trend should not hold in this case as well.

    So ultimately we have Krauss saying, "We have found the last metaphysics, and there is no more metaphysics. And that's all there is." And Albert responds, "But you just assume a final metaphysics without ever observing the nothingness beyond your last metaphysics. You first have to observe nothing beyond your metaphysics and know nothing about the non-existence beyond your last metaphysics before you can declare it to be the last metaphysics."

    To all of this I respond, "Your arguments are a load of turtle's wings since neither one of you have actually probed that energy level and neither one of you were observers of the big bang. Until then you might as well argue about color of walking since that makes just as much sense."


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