Readers may recall that yesterday we posted a link that provoked considerable discussion: Theoretical physicist Paul Davies on the gap between life and non-life. Giving away the store, Barry Arrington said.
Well, here are Paul Davies and Robert Lawrence Kuhn again at Closer to Truth, this time on “Ultimate Questions: Do They Evolve?”
Ask the most fundamental questions; make the most penetrating inquires; probe the deep essence of existence. Push boundaries. Search the foundations of reality. Imagine all that may exist in physics and cosmology, even beyond current understanding. Then ask how such ultimate questions may change over time.
Note: If the questions are really ultimate questions, they can’t evolve. That’s what “ultimate” means: It’s the last one.
But perhaps Davies and various readers have a different view.
2 Replies to “Paul Davies at Closer to Truth: Do ultimate questions evolve?”
Well I think Paul Davies answers the question. The answer he gives to “the origin of life” is identical to the answer in “The Fifth Miracle” published 1999. So at least for Paul, ultimate questions don’t evolve.
Of course ultimate questions evolve!
Firstly, mankind’s (or even one individual’s) ideas about what is “ultimate” can change over time, Secondly, different people have different ideas about what is “ultimate”, and
Thirdly, as we learn more about things, the “ultimate” may be at a different level.
For instance, a metaphysician will consider “the nature of God” as an ultimate question, while an atheist may not even take the question seriously. Similarly, a Shaman from 10,000 BC would have had quite different views about ultimate questions than a 21st century physicist. In the 19th century, “science” figured it had everything (ultimate questions about reality) figured out, only to be upended by 20th century physics looking underneath that Newtonian world view (deeper ultimate questions).
Of course, some people set the “ultimate questions” bar so high that no one can address them effectively, allowing those same people to claim their questions are always the same. If so, they should talk to other people who look elsewhere for ultimates.