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Physics flowering — yet in one of its “deepest funks”?

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book cover From Richard Webb at New Scientist, a review of four new physics books, noting:

In one sense fundamental physics is flowering like never before. In another, it is in one of its deepest funks. The past five years have seen three great experimental advances: the discoveries of the Higgs boson and gravitational waves, as well as the Planck satellite’s meticulous measurements of the cosmic microwave background. But all have served to confirm existing pictures of reality: the standard model of particle physics based on quantum field theory, and the standard cosmological model of a big bang universe rooted in Einstein’s theory of gravity, the general theory of relativity.

Yet the deficiencies of those two theories are obvious. Not only do they contradict each other, they contradict how we feel reality should behave. Can we do better? More.

The four new top books may well make good Christmas gifts but reviewer Webb clearly doubts they go far in resolving much.

<em>Coffee</em> Tins If only reality would behave the way we feel it should…



Now: The physics of time, Richard A. Muller (W. W. Norton)

Reality is Not What it Seems: The journey to quantum gravity, Carlo Rovelli (Allen Lane)

QBism: The future of quantum physics, Hans Christian von Baeyer (Harvard University Press)

Fashion, Faith and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe, Roger Penrose (Princeton University Press)

See also: Once more:“What if dark matter doesn’t exist?” The principal reason that the dark matter controversy is important is that there has never been a single particle of dark matter discovered, yet it gets rent-free space as an abstraction in thousands of physicists’ heads throughout their careers. How cogently we choose to handle the problem says a fair bit about the future of science.

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2 Replies to “Physics flowering — yet in one of its “deepest funks”?

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    bornagain77 says:

    as to this comment from the article:

    Physics may be a small but crucial fraction of our reality – 30 November 2016
    Excerpt: Ultimately, physics only describes the part of reality that is susceptible to mathematics – as Muller points out, not least because Kurt Gödel’s theorems of the 1930s made it clear that any mathematically based theory will always be incomplete. Efforts such as the push to a quantum theory of gravity may bring us to a more complete understanding, but it is likely our vista will remain blurred. No doubt physics is important, but it could be there is much that is important about reality that is not physics.

    Since mathematics can never explain the mind that thought up any particular mathematical formula in the first place, I would think it should be fairly obvious that a mathematical description of reality would forever leave the most important part of reality, i.e. the mind, on the cutting room floor.

    “Either mathematics is too big for the human mind, or the human mind is more than a machine.”
    – Kurt Gödel As quoted in Topoi : The Categorial Analysis of Logic (1979) by Robert Goldblatt, p. 13

    The mathematical world – James Franklin – 7 April 2014
    Excerpt: the intellect (is) immaterial and immortal. If today’s naturalists do not wish to agree with that, there is a challenge for them. ‘Don’t tell me, show me’: build an artificial intelligence system that imitates genuine mathematical insight. There seem to be no promising plans on the drawing board.,,,
    James Franklin is professor of mathematics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

    The danger of artificial stupidity – Saturday, 28 February 2015
    “Computers lack mathematical insight: in his book The Emperor’s New Mind, the Oxford mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose deployed Gödel’s first incompleteness theorem to argue that, in general, the way mathematicians provide their “unassailable demonstrations” of the truth of certain mathematical assertions is fundamentally non-algorithmic and non-computational”

    Robert Marks: Some Things Computers Will Never Do: Nonalgorithmic Creativity and Unknowability – video

    Imagination Sampling (Eric Holloway) – 8:30 minute mark quote “The Turing Oracle is non-algorithmic”

    What Does “Life’s Conservation Law” Actually Say? – Winston Ewert – December 3, 2015
    Excerpt: “All information must eventually derive from a source external to the universe,”

    Supplemental note:

    I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:,,,

    And although General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics both give the observer an ‘unexpected’ privileged frame of reference in the universe, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, none-the-less, in the much sought after ‘theory of everything’, simply ‘refuse to talk to each other’.,,,

    And yet when the Agent causality, i.e. God, of Theists is rightly let ‘back’ into the picture of physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, (Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, and Planck among others), then an empirically backed unification between Quantum Theory and General Relativity is readily achieved by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death:

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