tisdag 28 juli 2009

Theory vs Practice: Science as Religion

In science theory and practice/reality should ideally come together into a synthesis with theory representing understanding of reality. However, modern theoretical physicists work intensely with concepts such as: 

  • many-dimensional wave function (quantum mechanics
  • curved spacetime (relativity theory) 
  • 10-dimensional space (string theory) 
which defy physical reality. Similarly, modern mathematicians work intensely with concepts such as 
  • infinitely small 
  • infinitely large 
  • infinite set
  • countable/uncountable infinity
which again defy reality.  The role of the professional theoretical physicist/pure mathematicians is then to claim to understand and work with these concepts, which are beyond grasp for non-professionals. This is analogous to the the religious postulate stating that only those who properly believe, the high priests, can understand the reasoning. 

Once theory has cut the ties to reality, the field is open to a Theory of Everything or to transfinite number theory. The lack of contact with reality can then be compensated by inflating the scope of the theory, which now is without bound.  This is like boosting practical religion about how to live and what to eat, by concepts such as Eternal Life, Heaven, Hell, God and Creation of the World.

The difference between science and religion of the Enlightenment thus steadily diminished during the 20th century and today science based on theoretical mathematics/physics can serve as the religion of our time.

What is crucial is then the dimension of the theory, not its actual content, construction and credibility. In this paradigm, string theory of the infinitely small meets the cosmology of the infinitely large in Big Bang theory  illustrated in the above picture, which surpasses all religious scenarios in precision and fantastery, stating that 
  • Approximately 10−37seconds into the expansion, a phase transition caused a cosmic inflation, during which the universe grew exponentiallyAfter about 10−11 seconds, the picture becomes less speculative, since particle energies drop to values that can be attained in particle physics experiments. At about 10−6 seconds, quarks and gluons combined to form baryons such as protons and neutrons.

Read and think!

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