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In Search of a Road to Reality
Evolution News and Views ^ | January 13, 2014 | Denyse O'Leary

Posted on 01/16/2014 2:25:14 PM PST by Heartlander

In Search of a Road to Reality

Denyse O'Leary January 13, 2014 5:33 AM | Permalink


The new cosmologies are not shedding much light, except on the sheer power of the human imagination. Whatever they were supposed to explain has been rendered by their own rules unexplainable. What follows?

In a 2012 triumph, the Large Hadron Collider detected the previously theoretical Higgs boson (the "God particle," thought to give everything in the universe mass). But the boson did not support any radical new cosmologies. Its lightness suggests the existence of other similar particles. That's promising for research but little more than that. Indeed, the Higgs's feast of data "seems to match the standard model's predictions perfectly" and leaves "usurpers of 'standard model' [with] little to chew on, as Nature put the matter in 2012. Science writer John Horgan says, "The Higgs doesn't take us any closer to a unified theory than climbing a tree would take me to the Moon."

Meanwhile researchers are finding greater structure in the universe than they anticipated. Spiral galaxies are "pin-ups of the cosmos" and thus "something of a headache" if chaos and disorder are expected. Much of the vast array of proposed life-friendly exoplanets, that would show Earth to be just average, could mainly be gas and dust.

Britain's Guardian asks, thinking about the multiverse, "Has physics gone too far?" Perhaps a better question would be, is New Atheist cosmology failing as physics? Because, make no mistake, an admitted motive for seeking alternatives to the Big Bang and the fine-tuning of our universe is getting rid of their theistic implications.

Worse, for some, the hateful Big Bang bangs on, oblivious of its critics. Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin, resigned to the Big Bang's reality, theorizes that it was "merely one of a series of big bangs creating an endless number of bubble universes." Another scheme to get rid of the Big Bang as a singularity involves a rainbow universe where time has no beginning, a model that, as Scientific American tells us, "is not widely accepted." No wonder because, as one critic put it, the scheme must get rid of the singularity within the Standard Model of physics. Similarly, another new cosmology accounts for the apparent acceleration of the universe -- but only if there is no Big Bang: "This universe has no beginning or end, just alternating periods of expansion and contraction." It also has no cosmic microwave background, which our universe inconveniently does have.

Still others propose that the Big Bang was a "mirage from [a] collapsing higher-dimensional star," a thesis with which the new Planck data apparently disagree. In general, experimental findings continue to support the Standard Model. As New Scientist's editors put it in a 2012 editorial titled "The Genesis problem":

Many physicists have been fighting a rearguard action against it for decades, largely because of its theological overtones. If you have an instant of creation, don't you need a creator?

Cosmologists thought they had a workaround. Over the years, they have tried on several different models of the universe that dodge the need for a beginning while still requiring a big bang. But recent research has shot them full of holes. It now seems certain that the universe did have a beginning.But does that mean evidence matters again? Not clear. Some say we now have the tools to examine the beginning of the universe scientifically; others that we may never know what it was like. And there's always the option of declaring stubborn facts off limits. Steven Weinberg reflects:

Physical science has historically progressed not only by finding precise explanations of natural phenomena, but also by discovering what sorts of things can be precisely explained. These may be fewer than we had thought.
So are there any science questions the multiverse does answer? In "The Accidental Universe: Science's Crisis of Faith," Alan Lightman echoes,
According to the current thinking of many physicists, we are living in one of a vast number of universes. We are living in an accidental universe. We are living in a universe uncalculable by science.
If science finds the universe "uncalculable," surely the meaning of "anti-science" changes. Isn't "anti-science" a mere unwillingness to waste valuable time and funds on matters into which no one may usefully inquire?

Here's an alternative: On the road to reality, evidence must matter again. The weight of the evidence must count. And when it does count, if our cosmos is orderly, new approaches will emerge. They may be emerging now.

Intriguingly, a recent article in Scientific American noted, "Some researchers think that the world, at root, does not consist of material things but of relations or of properties, such as mass, charge and spin." But information, not matter, is fundamentally relational.

So, is the basic substance of the universe information? In that case, the ID theorists are right.

Editor's note: Here is the "Science Fictions" series to date at your fingertips.

TOPICS: Education; Science; Society
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1 posted on 01/16/2014 2:25:14 PM PST by Heartlander
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To: Heartlander
You know what this is? It's science...

2 posted on 01/16/2014 2:38:38 PM PST by PapaNew
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To: PapaNew
She blinded me with science.
3 posted on 01/16/2014 2:53:52 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: Heartlander

In other words, we very well may never know what it’s all about.

4 posted on 01/16/2014 3:02:51 PM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
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To: Heartlander

Even the big bang theory has some serious fundamental flaws. Thus the reason Inflation theory was invented. Unfortunately, Inflation is even more problematic than the BB, with many cosmologists not really caring for it, others outright rejecting it.

5 posted on 01/16/2014 3:08:27 PM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
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To: Heartlander; All

I recommend this 1-1/2 hr video lecture to anyone interested in the subject. It’s at a beginners to intermediate level.

Inflationary cosmology on trial:

“Watch video of the Seyfert Lecture featuring Dr. Paul J. Steinhardt, the Albert Einstein Professor in Science and director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University.

Steinhardt, who is also on the faculty of both the Department of Physics and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, spoke at Vanderbilt March 17, 2011. He is the author of over 200 refereed articles, six patents, and three technical books. In 2007, co-authored Endless Universe: The Big Bang and Beyond, a popular book on contemporary theories of cosmology.

This talk introduces an alternative to the standard big bang model that challenges conventional ideas about space, time and the evolution of the universe.”

6 posted on 01/16/2014 3:15:39 PM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
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To: Heartlander; metmom
Denyse O'Leary lurches uncontrollably into the truth! If there are any honest bones left in the bodies of other evolutionists they too will have to bend in the direction of the evidence and finally declare: it is design, not happenstance chance, after all.

And when that happens, the necessity of having to identify the Designer will necessarily have to ensue.


 photo million-vet-march.jpg

7 posted on 01/16/2014 4:09:10 PM PST by Agamemnon (Darwinism is the glue that holds liberalism together)
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To: Agamemnon; GodGunsGuts; Fichori; tpanther; Gordon Greene; Ethan Clive Osgoode; betty boop; ...


8 posted on 01/16/2014 4:13:38 PM PST by metmom ( ...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: All

Here’s something you might find interesting...

“Lothar Schäfer is the author of the book, In Search of Divine Reality - Science as a Source of Inspiration, . The book is, in essence, a brilliant description of the encounter of Science and Religion, wherein Schäfer proposes “that the traditional conflict between the two disciplines is mainly one involving classical, Newtonian Science; and many of its most pressing issues have obtained an entirely different meaning by the change in world view effected by the discovery of Quantum Mechanics.”

Lothar Schäfer is the Edgar Wertheim Distinguished Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He received his Ph.D. (in Chemistry) from the University of Munich in 1965, and is the recipient of numerous awards for his scientific work. His current research interests include topics in Applied Quantum Chemistry and Molecular Structural Studies by Electron Diffraction.

In a review of Schäfer’s book, Professor Quentin Smith, Department of Philosophy, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, writes:

“Schäfer’s book is an integrative approach to Modern Science and Religion that aims to show how some traditional religious and philosophical notions can be understood or redefined in terms of modern science. The scientific explanations are reliable and the scientific interpretations of religious ideas are interesting and should be taken seriously and respectfully by even the most sober-minded adherents of the scientific world-view. Rather than science being opposed or subordinated to religion, religious views are refashioned in terms of currently accepted scientific theories. Most of the arguments of the book are based on conclusions drawn from the phenomena of quantum reality and it is one of the clearest introductory explanations of quantum mechanics on the market. Schäfer’s book is written in a lively and accessible style that will appeal to the general reader. I really enjoyed reading this book.”...”

9 posted on 01/16/2014 4:19:03 PM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
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To: All
On the Foundations of Metaphysics in the
Mind-like Background of Physical Reality

by Lothar Schäfer

That the basis of the material world is non-material is a transcription of the fact that the properties of things are determined by quantum waves, - probability amplitudes which carry numerical relations, but are devoid of mass and energy. As a consequence of the wave-like aspects of reality, atoms do not have any shape - a solid outline in space - but the things do, which they form; and the constituents of matter, the elementary particles, are not in the same sense real as the real things that they constitute.

Rather, left to themselves they exist in a world of possibilities, “between the idea of a thing and a real thing”, as Heisenberg wrote, in superpositions of quantum states, in which a definite place in space, for example, is not an intrinsic attribute. That is, when such a particle is not observed it is, in particular, nowhere.

In the quantum phenomena we have discovered that reality is different than we thought. Visible order and permanence are based on chaos and transitory entities. Mental principles - numerical relations, mathematical forms, principles of symmetry - are the foundations of order in the universe, whose mind-like properties are further established by the fact that changes in information can act, without any direct physical intervention, as causal agents in observable changes in quantum states. Prior to the discovery of these phenomena information-driven reactions were a prerogative of mind. “The universe”, Eddington wrote, “is of the nature of a thought. The stuff of the world is mind-stuff”.

Mind-stuff, in a part of reality behind the mechanistic foreground of the world of space-time energy sensibility, as Sherrington called it, is not restricted to Einstein locality. The existence of non-local physical effects - faster than light phenomena - has now been well established by quantum coherence-type experiments like those related to Bell’s Theorem. If the universe is non-local, something that happens at this moment in its depths may have an instantaneous effect a long distance away, for example right here and right now. By every molecule in our body we are tuned to the mind-stuff of the universe.

In this way the quantum phenomena have forced the opening of a universe that Newton’s mechanism once blinded and closed. Unintended by its creator, Newton’s mechanics defined a machine, without any life or room for human values, the Parmenidian One, forever unchanging and predictable, “eternal matter ruled by eternal laws”, as Sheldrake wrote. In contrast, the quantum phenomena have revealed that the world of mechanism is just the cortex of a deeper and wider, transcendent, reality. The future of the universe is open, because it is unpredictable. Its present is open, because it is subject to non-local influences that are beyond our control. Cracks have formed in the solidity of the material world from which emanations of a different type of reality seep in. In the diffraction experiments of material particles, a window has opened to the world of Platonic ideas.

That the universe should be mind-like and not communicate with the human mind - the one organ to which it is akin - is not very likely. In fact, one of the most fascinating faculties of the human mind is its ability to be inspired by unknown sources - as though it were sensitive to signals of a mysterious origin. It is at this point that the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Ever since the discovery of Hume’s paradox - the principles that we use to establish scientific knowledge cannot establish themselves - science has had an illegitimate basis. Hume was right: in every external event we observe conjunction, but infer connection. Thus, causality is not a principle of nature but a habit of the human mind. At the same time, Hume was not right in postulating that there is no single experience of causality. Because, when the self-conscious mind itself is directly involved in a causal link, for example when its associated body takes part in a collision, or when the mind by its own free will is the cause of some action, then there is a direct experience of, and no doubt that, causal connections exist. When this modification of the paradox is coupled with the quantum base, a large number of pressing problems find their delightful solutions.

Like the nature of reality, the nature of knowledge is counter-intuitive, and not at all like the automatic confidence that we have in sensations of this phenomenon. The basis of knowledge is threefold. The premises are experience of reality, employment of reason, and reliance on certain non-rational, non-empirical principles, such as the Assumptions of identity, factuality, permanence, Causality, and induction. Where do these principles come from? Neither from an experience of external phenomena, nor from a process of reasoning, but from a system program of the self-conscious mind. By being an extension of the mind-like background of nature and partaking of its order, mind gives the epistemic principles - those used in deriving knowledge - certainty. Since they are not anchored in the world of space-time and mass-energy but are valid nevertheless, they seem to derive from a higher order and transcendent part of physical reality. They are, it can be assumed, messengers of the mind-like order of reality.

In the same way, moral principles. Traditional societies based their social order on myths and religious explanations. By assuming a purpose in the world, they told people why things are the way they are, and why they should act the way they were supposed to act. In the “animist ontogenies” values and knowledge derived from a single source, and life had meaning in an “animist covenant” as Monod called it. By destroying the ontological base of the animist explanations, - their astronomy, physics, and chemistry, - science also destroyed the foundations of their values.

In this process Monod saw the origin of the contemporary sickness in culture, das Unbehagen in der Kultur: on the one hand science is the basis for our power and survival; on the other, it has broken the animist covenant, rendered life meaningless in the process, and disconnected the world of values from the world of facts.

The sickness of spirit and the concomitant erosion of moral standards are the great danger for the future of mankind, already apparent in the public adoration of violence and debased behavior. At its roots is the unsolved question, on whose authority are the moral principles to be based now that the authority of the animist myths has been found lacking?

For those who are willing to listen, the answer is: on the authority of mind. In the same way that the self-conscious mind grants certainty to the epistemic principles, it invests authority in the moral principles. Like the former, the moral principles are non-empirical and non-rational, - not derived by a process of logic nor verified by experience - messengers from a higher reality beyond the front of mass-energy sensibility.

Epistemic principles give us a sense of what is true and false; moral principles, of what is right and wrong. The former establish the certainty of identity, permanence, factuality, causality; the latter, of responsibility, morality, honesty. By the same process that allows us to accept, without possible verification, the epistemic principles, we can also accept the authority of the moral principles. Violation of any one of them will put us in contrast to the nature of reality. If the nature of the universe is mind-like, it must be assumed to have a spiritual order as well as a physical order. As the epistemic principles are expressions of physical order, the ethical principles are expressions of the spiritual order of physical reality. By being an extension of the transcendent part of the nature and partaking of its order, mind establishes the authority of the ethical principles.

The challenge of reality and the ability to explore it are wonderful gifts to mankind. Understanding reality requires refinement of thought. That is, it has to do with culture. It requires an effort, is not afforded by automatic, intuitive reflex. Making sense of the world takes the response to a challenge, not the complacency of common sense. It is one and the same as striving for the moral life. An important part of it is the need to become aware of the specific character of human nature, to recognize “the human mystery” as Eccles called it: the mystery of how mind and body interact, how self-conscious human beings with values emerged in an evolutionary process supposedly based on blind chance and brutality. The evidence is growing that there is more to human nature than the laws of physics or chemistry, more to the process of evolution than blind chance and brutality; that evolution is more than, as Monod wrote, “a giant lottery, and human beings live at the boundary of an alien world that is deaf to our music and indifferent to our hopes and suffering and crimes”.

The barbaric view of reality is mechanistic. It is the easy view of classical science and of common sense. In epistemology mechanism is naive realism, the view that all knowledge is based on unquestionable facts, on apodictically verified truths. In physics mechanism is the view that the universe is clockwork, closed, and entirely predictable on the basis of unchanging laws. In biology, mechanism is the view that all aspects of life, its evolution, our feelings and values, are ultimately explicable in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry. In our legal system, mechanism is the view that the assumption of precise procedural technicalities constitutes perfect justice. In our political system, mechanism is the view that the assertion of finely formulated personal rights constitutes the ideal democracy. In our public administration, it is the view that responsible service manifests itself by the enforcement of finely split bureaucratic regulations. All of these attitudes are the attitudes of barbarians.

The quantum phenomena have taught us that, without naive realism, knowledge is possible. They have taught us that, without naive animism an ethic of knowledge, as Monod has called it, and a life with values are possible. Principles exist which are valid even though they cannot be verified. The discovery of the quantum phenomena has established a new covenant - between the human mind and the mind-like background of the universe - one that provides a home again to the homeless and meaning to the meaningless life. Whether or not the human mind is separate of the brain, as Sherrington and Eccles thought, I do not know. But I do not doubt that it is human only in some parts, and in others shares in the mind-like background of the universe. It is now possible to believe that the mind is the realization of universal potentia, a manifestation of the essence of the universe. Therefore, the only good life is in harmony with the nature of reality.

10 posted on 01/16/2014 4:20:00 PM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: All

Just now found this. I haven’t watched it yet, but it sure looks interesting. Among the participants is the above referenced Lothar Schafer.

Creation Science Conference:

Filmed in Rome, Nov 11th - 14th, 2004.

Featuring Dr T.D. Singh, Director of the Bhaktivedanta Institute - Prof. Vittorio Marchi, Quantum Physicist, Italy - Prof. Lothar Schafer, Physical Chemist, USA - Prof. Giuseppe Sermonti, Prof of Genetics, Italy - Prof. V.V. Raman, Physicist, USA - Dr. Pauline Rudd, Glycobiologist, Univ of Oxford - and many other distinguished speakers.

12 posted on 01/16/2014 4:30:12 PM PST by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
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To: metmom
Thanks for the ping!
I await with interest the next breathless discovery that brings Man no closer to the “belief” that he is the final authority in the Universe.
13 posted on 01/16/2014 6:49:53 PM PST by YHAOS
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To: Heartlander; metmom; Alamo-Girl; spirited irish; djf; MHGinTN; YHAOS; hosepipe; TXnMA; xzins; ...
From the link provided at the bottom of the article:

“Subjective certainty is the new evidence…. [So] In this wilderness of unknowns, how do we decide what’s modern science and what’s modern folklore? What makes ET more believable than Bigfoot, apart from evidence?”….

“Multiverse theory is designed for one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to defend atheism. It makes no predictions, it gives no insight, it provides no control, it produces no technology, it advances no mathematics, it is a science in name only, because it is really metaphysics. — Rob Sheldon, who warns: “… [S]cience cannot thrive outside reality: ‘Now some will say that this is still a small price to pay for the freedom it provides from a creator-god.’ But I want to make it very clear what the terms of the exchange will be.”

“Most people believe that there is an objective reality out there and that our senses and our science directly convey information about the material world. ... The way physics has been going, realism is becoming difficult to defend.” — Stephen Hawking….

Yet as Denyse O’Leary observes:

“Hawking is comfortable with non-realism: ‘I'm a positivist [he says]. ... I don't demand that a theory correspond to reality because I don't know what [reality] is.’ The end of reality is captured in a telling vignette: The lead character in the film Happy Go Lucky, browsing in a bookshop, pulls Roger Penrose's “Road to Reality” from a shelf, glances at the title and puts it straight back, saying, ‘Oh, we don't want to go there!’ … [R]idding science of God has turned out to mean ridding it, not of religion, but of the need for evidence…. Here’s an alternative: On the road to reality, evidence must matter again. The weight of the evidence must count. And when it does count, if our cosmos is orderly, new approaches will emerge. They may be emerging now.”

Actually, I believe new approaches have been emerging, in the work of such physical cosmologist/theoretical biologists as David Bohm, Menas Kafatos, mathematician/theoretical biologist Robert Rosen, others. Their ideas have been resisted tooth-and-nail by the “establishment.”

Instead, the Hawkings and Everetts of this world evidently prefer to dump Reality as presented in observation, experience, and evidence if that’s what it takes to get rid of God. Of course, they destroy science itself in so doing. But they hardly seem to notice, or even to care.

Britain's Guardian asks, thinking about the multiverse, ‘Has physics gone too far?’ Perhaps a better question would be, is New Atheist cosmology failing as physics? Because, make no mistake, an admitted motive for seeking alternatives to the Big Bang and the fine-tuning of our universe is getting rid of their theistic implications.

It seems to me the proper role of science is not to be getting rid of inconvenient evidence already strongly suggested to be valid by experimental scientific means (e.g., satellite studies of the cosmic microwave background which strongly indicate the necessity of a beginning in time as an explanation for the observed cosmic inflation/acceleration).

In consequence, I surmise that the “New Atheist” physicists have entirely evacuated the field of science in order to pursue ideas and objectives which are metaphysical through and through. And they are doing all this “under the color of science.”

There is an obvious analog to this in biology: Darwin’s theory. But space prohibits that investigation here.

For it’s time to close for now.

I’d just like to leave the reader with some telling insights from David Bohm:

“…[A] theory is primarily a form of insight, i.e., a way of looking at the world, and not a form of knowledge of how the world [actually] is….

The Newtonian form of insight worked very well for several centuries but ultimately (like the ancient Greek insights that came before) it led to unclear results when extended into new domains. In these new domains, new forms of insight were developed (the theory of relativity and the quantum theory). These gave a radically different picture of the world from that of Newton (though the latter was, of course, found to be still valid in a limited domain). If we supposed that theories gave true knowledge, corresponding to “reality as it is,” then we would have to conclude that Newtonian theory was true until around 1900, after which it suddenly became false, while reality and quantum theory suddenly became the truth. Such an absurd conclusion does not arise, however, if we say that all theories are insights, which are neither true nor false but, rather, clear in certain domains, and unclear when extended beyond these domains…. — Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980

Thank you so much, dear Heartlander, for posting this splendidly thought-provocative article!
14 posted on 01/17/2014 11:59:37 AM PST by betty boop (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. —Thomas Jefferson)
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To: betty boop
There is an obvious analog to this in biology: Darwin’s theory.

That appears to be a very subjective certainty.

15 posted on 01/17/2014 12:21:18 PM PST by tacticalogic
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To: betty boop
Hawking is comfortable with non-realism: ‘I'm a positivist [he says]. ... I don't demand that a theory correspond to reality because I don't know what [reality] is."

I would say that your affliction is reality, Hawking . . . and you are dealing with it.

16 posted on 01/17/2014 12:30:38 PM PST by YHAOS
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To: Whosoever; betty boop; Heartlander; metmom; Alamo-Girl; spirited irish; djf; MHGinTN; YHAOS; ...
Ah! the search for reality... what a concept..

Seems to me this search is the same as the search for God...
So many options and opinions on this planet.....

Some never find God, and some never find Reality....
Others find Reality "In" their God... with others Reality "IS" their God..

Since both terms are abstract... they are "perceived"...
What one perceives as real others perceive as illusion..

As thoroughly a mental game of Chess as one could imagine..
Gambits parried in a dumpster dive for truth(Truth)...
What an adventure it is being Human...

Watching a baby grow into adulthood continues...
Even when that baby is old!......

17 posted on 01/17/2014 12:36:01 PM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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I would say that your affliction is reality, Hawking . . . and you are dealing with it.

Or not dealing with it, as the case may be....

18 posted on 01/17/2014 12:50:46 PM PST by betty boop (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. —Thomas Jefferson)
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To: betty boop
Or not dealing with it (reality), as the case may be....

I want to be very clear on this matter. I take your point . . . but . . . on one level Hawking is dealing with his affliction whether or not he wishes to acknowledge the fact.

19 posted on 01/17/2014 5:17:59 PM PST by YHAOS
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To: betty boop

Thank you so much for your excellent insights, dearest sister in Christ!

20 posted on 01/17/2014 9:13:45 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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