Intelligent Design Philosophy Science

A classic reminder from MIT that most important science problems “await solution”

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From an excerpt from Advice for a Young Investigator translated by Neely Swanson and Larry W. Swanson (2004) of an 1897 classic that is still worth heeding:

It is fair to say that, in general, no problems have been exhausted; instead, men have been exhausted by the problems. Soil that appears impoverished to one researcher reveals its fertility to another. Fresh talent approaching the analysis of a problem without prejudice will always see new possibilities — some aspect not considered by those who believe that a subject is fully understood. Our knowledge is so fragmentary that unexpected findings appear in even the most fully explored topics. Who, a few short years ago, would have suspected that light and heat still held scientific secrets in reserve? Nevertheless, we now have argon in the atmosphere, the x-rays of Roentgen, and the radium of the Curies, all of which illustrate the inadequacy of our former methods, and the prematurity of our former syntheses.

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, “The Most Important Scientific Problems Have Yet to Be Solved” at MIT Reader

And the two little dark clouds were still on the far horizon when Cajal wrote that. As a science teacher friend put it some years ago and I (O’Leary for News) quoted in a book,

Walking back to my hotel, I was sure that Dr. Krauss reminded me of something, and later realized what it was:

“In science, small, persistent effects cannot be ignored. Sometimes they force a revision of major paradigms. For example, Lord Kelvin remarked in 1900 that there were just “two little dark clouds” on the horizon of Newtonian classical physics of the day, namely, Michelson and Morley’s measurements of the velocity of light and the phenomenon of blackbody radiation. Kelvin was certain that these troubling little clouds would be blown away shortly.149 Yet all of modern physics—relativity and quantum mechanics—derives from these two little dark clouds.” (The Spiritual Brain, p. 173)

It’s always those little things that trip us up.

New discoveries don’t just add to old ones; they can greatly change or destroy their significance. That’s exactly what is happening to Darwinism today and we are living in the middle of it.

See also: In science writing, there are NOT, repeat, NOT, two sides to the story. At least according to astrophysicist Larry Krauss…

5 Replies to “A classic reminder from MIT that most important science problems “await solution”

  1. 1
    BobRyan says:

    All scientific theories should be questioned as new evidence arises. Big Bang is one of those that should be seriously questioned. Einstein’s biggest blunder should not work. Hubble has discovered galaxies that are too new. Even Hawking said there were problems with the math once you reach the point of origin.

  2. 2
    Pearlman says:

    there is a big difference between not generally known and unsolved.
    have the vast majority of scientists conspired the solution/s (than is/are outside the current deep-time dependent consensus box) ? NO
    is the solution known to at least someone and accessible to those who are motivated, sincere, humble (to look outside their deep-time dependent box) and otherwise ready , willing and able? Yes.
    as it all adds up w/in the basic science.
    reference the YeC Moshe Emes series for Torah an science alignment including volume II ‘Distant Starlight and the Age, Formation and Structure of the Universe’ base on the Pearlman SPIRAL cosmological redshift hypothesis and model.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    Lord Kelvin remarked in 1900 that there were just “two little dark clouds” on the horizon of Newtonian classical physics of the day, namely, Michelson and Morley’s measurements of the velocity of light and the phenomenon of blackbody radiation. Kelvin was certain that these troubling little clouds would be blown away shortly.149 Yet all of modern physics—relativity and quantum mechanics—derives from these two little dark clouds.” (The Spiritual Brain, p. 173)

    And what is generally considered to be the most important problem in science today that “awaits solution” is the unifying of relativity and quantum mechanics into a quote unquote ‘theory of everything’.

    Today, the search for the unification of relativity and quantum mechanics into ‘theory of everything’ takes the form of trying to find a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’. Indeed much money and research has been dedicated to this endeavor.

    In its present form this search entails trying to mathematically unify general relativity and quantum field theory (QED), (which is the unification quantum mechanics and special relativity), into a single mathematical ‘theory of everything’. It is hoped that this hypothetical final mathematical ‘theory of everything’ will be ‘capable of describing all phenomena in the universe.’

    Theory of everything
    Excerpt: a theoretical framework revealing a deeper underlying reality,,,, a single theory that, in principle, is capable of describing all phenomena in the universe.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_everything

    As the following article states, “The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed.”

    Theories of the Universe: Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity
    Excerpt: The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed.
    In the 1960s and ’70s, the success of QED prompted other physicists to try an analogous approach to unifying the weak, the strong, and the gravitational forces. Out of these discoveries came another set of theories that merged the strong and weak forces called quantum chromodynamics, or QCD, and quantum electroweak theory, or simply the electroweak theory, which you’ve already been introduced to.
    If you examine the forces and particles that have been combined in the theories we just covered, you’ll notice that the obvious force missing is that of gravity (i.e. General Relativity).
    http://www.infoplease.com/cig/.....ivity.html

    Quantum field theory – History
    Excerpt: ,,, (Quantum field theory) QFT is an unavoidable consequence of the reconciliation of quantum mechanics with special relativity (Weinberg (1995)),,,
    The first achievement of quantum field theory, namely quantum electrodynamics (QED), is “still the paradigmatic example of a successful quantum field theory” (Weinberg (1995)).
    per wikipedia

    Interestingly, “Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.” In other words, conscious observation was dropped by the wayside in QFT!

    Not So Real – Sheldon Lee Glashow – Oct. 2018
    Review of: “What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics”
    by Adam Becker
    Excerpt: Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and their contemporaries knew well that the theory they devised could not be made compatible with Einstein’s special theory of relativity. First order in time, but second order in space, Schrödinger’s equation is nonrelativistic. Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.
    https://inference-review.com/article/not-so-real

    In what should be needless to say, since quantum measurement, i.e. ‘conscious observation’, itself was dropped by the wayside in QFT , and since consciousness itself is arguably the most important aspect of reality that needs explanation. then that necessarily precludes QFT from being the correct step towards the final ‘theory of everything’ that supposedly “is capable of describing all phenomena in the universe.”

    Some atheists may want to argue that conscious observation, and/or consciousness itself, is not all that important and it therefore in not that big of a deal to drop it by the wayside in QFT. I beg to differ. There simply can be no reality for us, much less a mathematical description of reality for us, if we are not first conscious. Consciousness simply is the primary prerequisite of all possible prerequisites of any coherent definition of reality that we may try to put forth. Any purported ‘theory of everything’ that is supposedly “capable of describing all phenomena in the universe” and yet neglects consciousness itself, by definition, NOT describing the MOST important phenomena in the universe that is in need of explanation.

    Both Planck and Schroedinger are on record as to regarding consciousness as fundamental.

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    Likewise, Eugene Wigner stated that “our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. ”

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    Again, consciousness simply is, and must be, the primary prerequisite of all possible prerequisites for any coherent definition of reality, i.e. any ‘theory of everything’, that we may try to put forth.

    Richard Feynman (and others) were only able to unify special relativity and quantum mechanics into Quantum Electrodynamics by quote unquote “brushing infinity under the rug” with a technique called Renormalization.

    THE INFINITY PUZZLE: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe
    Excerpt: In quantum electrodynamics, which applies quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field and its interactions with matter, the equations led to infinite results for the self-energy or mass of the electron. After nearly two decades of effort, this problem was solved after World War II by a procedure called renormalization, in which the infinities are rolled up into the electron’s observed mass and charge, and are thereafter conveniently ignored. Richard Feynman, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for this breakthrough, referred to this sleight of hand as “brushing infinity under the rug.”
    http://www.americanscientist.o.....g-infinity

    And whereas special relativity, by ‘brushing infinity under the rug’, has been semi-successfully unified, (i.e. save of course for quantum measurement), with quantum theory to produce Quantum Electrodynamics and/or Quantum Field Theory, no such mathematical ‘sleight of hand’ exists for unifying general relativity with quantum mechanics.

    General relativity, as the following articles show, simply refuses to be mathematically unified with quantum mechanics in any acceptable way. In technical terms, Gravity has yet to be successfully included into a theory of everything since the infinities that crop up in that attempt simply are not renormalizable as they were in Quantum-Electrodynamics.

    Does quantum mechanics contradict the theory of relativity?
    Sanjay Sood, Microchip Design Engineer, Theoretical and Applied Physicist – Feb 14, 2016
    Excerpt: quantum mechanics was first integrated with special theory of relativity by Dirac in 1928 just 3 years after quantum mechanics was discovered. Dirac produced an equation that describes the behavior of a quantum particle (electron). In this equation the space and time enter on the same footing – equation is first order in all 4 coordinates. One startling by product of this equation was the prediction of anti matter. It also gave the correct explanation for the electron’s spin. Dirac’s equation treats an electron as a particle with only a finite degrees of freedom.
    In 1940s Dirac’s equation was incorporated into the relativistic quantum field theory that’s knowns as quantum electrodynamics (QED) independently by Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga. This is the theory that describes the behavior of electrons and photons and their interactions with each other in terms of relativistic quantum fields that have infinite degrees of freedom. QED allowed extremely precise calculation of anomalous magnetic dipole moment of an electron. This calculated value matches the experimentally measured value to an astonishing precision of 12 decimal places!
    The integration of Einstein’s general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics has proved to be far more difficult. Such an integration would give a quantum theory of gravity. Even after a sustained effort lasting more than half a century, no renormalized quantum field theory of gravity has ever been produced. Renormalization means a theory that’s free of infinities at zero distance or infinite energy because 2 point particles can interact with each other at zero distance. A non renormalizable theory has no predictive value because it contains an infinite number of singular coefficients.
    https://www.quora.com/Does-quantum-mechanics-contradict-the-theory-of-relativity

    Unified field theory
    Excerpt: Gravity has yet to be successfully included in a theory of everything.
    Simply trying to combine the graviton with the strong and electroweak interactions runs into fundamental difficulties since the resulting theory is not renormalizable. Theoretical physicists have not yet formulated a widely accepted, consistent theory that combines general relativity and quantum mechanics. The incompatibility of the two theories remains an outstanding problem in the field of physics.
    Some theoretical physicists currently believe that a quantum theory of general relativity may require frameworks other than field theory itself, such as string theory or loop quantum gravity.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_field_theory#Current_status

    Quantum Leaps – Jeremy Bernstein – October 19, 2018
    Excerpt: Divergent series notwithstanding, quantum electrodynamics yielded results of remarkable accuracy. Consider the magnetic moment of the electron. This calculation, which has been calculated up to the fifth order in ?, agrees with experiment to ten parts in a billion. If one continued the calculation to higher and higher orders, at some point the series would begin to break down. There is no sign of that as yet. Why not carry out a similar program for gravitation? One can readily write down the Feynman graphs that represent the terms in the expansion. Yet there remains an irremediable difficulty. Every order reveals new types of infinities, and no finite number of renormalizations renders all the terms in the series finite.
    The theory is not renormalizable.
    https://inference-review.com/article/quantum-leaps
    Jeremy Bernstein is professor emeritus of physics at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

    This ‘infinite chasm’ to there ever being a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ should have not been all that surprising. Godel’s incompleteness theorem implies exactly that. There simply never will be a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’. As Hawking himself conceded, “Kurt Gödel halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything”

    “Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), proves that there are limits to what can be ascertained by mathematics. Kurt Gödel halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”.”
    – Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010)

    In fact, Chaitin, via Godel, has now shown that there are “an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.”

    The Limits Of Reason – Gregory Chaitin – 2006
    Excerpt: Unlike Gödel’s approach, mine is based on measuring information and showing that some mathematical facts cannot be compressed into a theory because they are too complicated. This new approach suggests that what Gödel discovered was just the tip of the iceberg: an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.
    http://www.umcs.maine.edu/~chaitin/sciamer3.pdf

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem has now been extended to physics and is not just some abstract mathematical limit that prevents there from ever being a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ but is now shown to be, in actuality, a defining feature of reality:

    In the following article entitled ‘Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics’, which studied the derivation of macroscopic properties from a complete microscopic description, the researchers remark that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, The researchers further commented that their findings challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

    Simply put, despite how much mathematicians and physicists may believe that there simply must be a single mathematical ‘theory of everything’ that exist out there somewhere, there, in fact, never will be a single mathematical theory of everything that links the microscopic world of quantum mechanics to the macroscopic world of General Relativity.

    All hope is not lost though, as Bruce Gordon explains, “the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them.”

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy.
    This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Simply put, allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), by rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics then that provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:

    November 2019 – despite the fact that virtually everyone, including the vast majority of Christians, now hold that the Copernican Principle is unquestionably true, the fact of the matter is that the Copernican Principle is now empirically shown, (via quantum mechanics and general relativity, etc..), to be a completely false assumption.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/so-then-maybe-we-are-privileged-observers/#comment-688855

    (February 19, 2019) To support Isabel Piczek’s claim that the Shroud of Turin does indeed reveal a true ‘event horizon’, the following study states that ‘The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image.’,,,
    Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with, the shroud also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics was dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673178

    The evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity keeps growing. (Timeline of facts) – November 08, 2019
    What Is the Shroud of Turin? Facts & History Everyone Should Know – Myra Adams and Russ Breault
    https://www.christianity.com/wiki/jesus-christ/what-is-the-shroud-of-turin.html

    To give us a small glimpse of the power that was involved in Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the following recent article found that, ”it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.”

    Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016
    Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.
    ‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”.
    Comment
    The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.
    http://westvirginianews.blogsp.....in-is.html

    Thus, there is a coherent ‘theory of everything’ that is “is capable of describing all phenomena in the universe”,,, especially capable of describing consciousness, free will, and even the human condition itself in particular. Atheists may find the correct solution to the ‘theory of everything’ to be distasteful, but I find the solution to instead be very pleasant in that death itself, (which is by far the saddest thing that man is faced with in his current situation), is defeated in the correct solution to the ‘theory of everything’.

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    I either read or saw a YouTube video-clip, several months ago, in which it was stated that one of the team headed by the British Museum wallah, probably Himself, had been offered £100,000, if they found the Shroud to be a fraud.

    I would put nothing past people who would so flagrantly ignore the stipulated protocols , in order to achieve such a nefarious end. And what a pity that the relevant Church officials were so trusting, perhaps influenced by the very successful protocols adopted in relation to the verification of medical miracles.

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