A cosmic stir.

November 12th, 2010

The debate over origins of the universe was back in the headlines after the September publication of Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow’s book “The Grand Design” and a subsequent Sept. 10 interview on “Larry King Live.”

In this month’s Scientific American magazine, editor Davide Castelvecchi presents a “Science in Society” piece on counter arguments to the authors’ theory that “science can explain the universe without the need for a creator.” Castelvecchi tapped the opinions of Rev. Robert E Barron, professor of theology at Chicago’s University of St. Mary of the Lake, Leonard Susskind, the Felix Bloch professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University, and the npr.org blog post on the subject by Marcelo Gleiser, professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College.

I was most intrigued by what Gleiser had to say, so I wanted to read more. The following is an excerpt from his Sept. 9, 2010 blog post:

“I claim that contemplating a final theory is inconsistent with the very essence of physics, an empirical science based on the gradual collection of data. Because we don’t have instruments capable of measuring all of Nature, we cannot ever be certain that we have a final theory. There’ll always be room for surprises, as the history of physics has shown again and again. In fact, I find it quite pretentious to imagine that we humans can achieve such a thing. As I argue in my book, it’s much more realistic to take science as a self-correcting narrative where new theories spring from the cracks of old ones. There is no indication whatsoever that such modus operandi is close to completion due to the advent of a final theory.”

Isn’t this really what science is all about? And how it began? With man’s desire to understand all of nature? So here’s acknowledgment that our scientific instruments are incapable of measuring, and therefore defining, all the laws of nature. And isn’t he saying there is no end for the developments possible? So, I say, let the ideas fly.

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2 Responses to “A cosmic stir.”

  1. John Tarney says:

    Hi Julie:

    Ancient Aliens Season 1 premiered last year. This year Season 2 appears on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. your time on the History channel. If I were you, I would catch up on You Tube with Season 1. Here are some links to information you may find interesting:

    1)Season 1 on You Tube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SixMRuSU2cQ&feature=related

    2)Season 2: http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/videos/playlists/season-2-full-episodes#ancient-aliens-underwater-worlds

    I really love this series. I hope you will enjoy it.

  2. […] It was Brian Greene who first introduced me to the theories of quantum physics in his three-part PBS NOVA series titled, “The Elegant Universe.” And Marcello Gleiser is someone I follow for his outspoken views on the subject of a single unifying theory that explains the nature of the physical universe. (see Brain Food Blog post dated 11/12/10) […]