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David Warren on the smallness of the large


Having given the first word to Richard Dawkins this morning (Why is Richard Dawkins a “passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to politics”), we’ll give the next to Toronto-based Catholic journalist David Warren:

… This begins with the magnitude of the heavens: the normal human perception of distance to the stars, and to the stars beyond the stars beyond them. (It is a myth that any of our ancestors thought they were close. Regardless of their cosmological schemes, all men have known that the stars are very far away, and that they speak of immensity.)

But at the other end is a sub-atomic scale. It seems to parody the large, in smallness. There are distinct specks within specks, and specks within those, down to “force carriers” and “flavors.” We find the Singularity where, if physics has any coherency at all, we have reached the interface with “nothing.”

That is to say, there cannot be smaller, in any material scheme for small, for the same reason that the universe cannot be larger. At least, not as we have found it to be. We could run the abstract numbers up and up, or down and down – but in either case we come to that hard, material Singularity. Go any farther in either direction, and we’re not in this universe any more.

So where are we on this scale?

Man, standing around one fathom tall, is right in the middle, midway between the “nothing” and the “everything.” In the numbers we’ve been able to compile, our position is rather spookily at the intersection of all roads.

Is this an argument for fine-tuning? See also: Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

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It's an objective measure of man's place in the universe. Mung

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