Theory of Everything

Theory of Everything: Putting failure to find such a theory to good use

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Sure. Why waste a failure?

In “The imperfect universe: Goodbye, theory of everything” (New Scientist, 10 May 2010, Magazine issue 2759), Marcelo Gleiser mourns,

FIFTEEN years ago, I was a physicist hard at work hunting for a theory of nature that would unify the very big and the very small. There was good reason to hope. The great and the good were committed. Even Einstein, who recognised that our understanding of reality is necessarily incomplete, had spent the last 20 years of his life searching for a unified field theory that would describe the two main forces we see acting around us – gravity and electromagnetism – as manifestations of a single force. For him, such a mathematical theory represented the purest and most elegant expression of nature and the highest achievement of the human intellect.

Fifty-five years after Einstein’s death, the hunt for this elusive unified field theory continues. To physicist Stephen Hawking and many others, finding the “theory of everything” would be equivalent to knowing the “mind of God”. The metaphor is … subject to you buying an online subscription to New Scientist.

Maybe it’s worth it. I mean, so rich a source of authentic pop culture rebranded as science, how can you resist? If you want to know what politicians and pundits fund and defend and why they do, read NS – on someone else’s dime, to be sure.

Why is a theory about the Theory of Everything so important? As soon as you think you’ve worked everything out, it all changes again. Personally, I’d rather have a sound theory of something in particular.

Gleiser argues, says endorser Stuart Kauffman,

… that there is a profound link in Western science between monotheism and the scientific search for a Theory of Everything. He argues persuasively that we must give up this dream. This may augur a profound transformation in our understanding of the world.”

—Stuart Kauffman, Fellow of the Royal Society, Canada, Author of Reinventing the Sacred

Oh, I see now.

Failure to find a theory of everything is repackaged as a reason to give up monotheism. And what if a theory of everything had indeed been found? … why, wouldn’t that be a reason to give up monotheism too?

So, really …

I can’t develop a Theory of Everything because no way could I hope to explain why these people don’t get the reason the public doesn’t take them seriously. Thus, mine wouldn’t be a Theory of Everything.


(Note: Also, re Gleiser, back in 2005 he was into the “Who designed the designer?” schtick – as if any series could not just end, as a road ends in a highway.)

4 Replies to “Theory of Everything: Putting failure to find such a theory to good use

  1. 1
    nullasalus says:

    Oh, I see now. Failure to find a theory of everything is repackaged as a reason to give up monotheism. And what if a theory of everything had indeed been found? … why, wouldn’t that be a reason to give up monotheism too?

    Find the theory and it’s so elegant that you’d not expect God to exist as that would muck things up. Fail to find the theory and you’d not expect God to exist because clearly a deity would use so elegant and simple a construct.

    If the universe’s sum looks like our solar system and little else, God doesn’t exist because no God would make a world so fall. Find that there’s many more solar systems and God doesn’t exist because no God would be so wasteful.

    If you expect that life (even intelligent life!) is common throughout the universe, including our solar system, then clearly God does not exist because it shows how ridiculously common and non-special life is (we’re clearly all too common). Grow suspicious about the commonality of life such that it (especially intelligent!) seems rare, and clearly God does not exist because He wouldn’t make the universe so barren of life (we’re clearly a freak accident.)

    Believe the universe is past-eternal and clearly God doesn’t exist because there was no beginning for him to create. Believe the universe had a beginning and clearly God doesn’t exist because the universe just created itself, or was created ex nihilo by nothing (or by a law, and don’t ask what a law would mean here.)

    It’s a purposeful catch-22 either way, because the interest isn’t in reflecting on and evaluating the evidence, but in reinterpreting it according to a pseudo-atheistic.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Actually there is a seems to be resolution for finding a ‘theory of everything’:

    The expansion of every 3D point in the universe, and the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe to each point of conscious observation in the universe, is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence that Physicists, and Mathematicians, seem to be having a extremely difficult time ‘unifying’ into a ‘theory of everything’.(Einstein, Penrose).

    The Physics Of The Large And Small: What Is the Bridge Between Them?
    Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This, (the unification of General Relativity and Quantum Field theory), would also have practical advantages in the application of quantum ideas to subjects like biology – in which one does not have the clean distinction between a quantum system and its classical measuring apparatus that our present formalism requires. In my opinion, moreover, this revolution is needed if we are ever to make significant headway towards a genuine scientific understanding of the mysterious but very fundamental phenomena of conscious mentality.

    Quantum Mechanics Not In Jeopardy: Physicists Confirm Decades-Old Key Principle Experimentally – July 2010
    Excerpt: the research group led by Prof. Gregor Weihs from the University of Innsbruck and the University of Waterloo has confirmed the accuracy of Born’s law in a triple-slit experiment (as opposed to the double slit experiment). “The existence of third-order interference terms would have tremendous theoretical repercussions – it would shake quantum mechanics to the core,” says Weihs. The impetus for this experiment was the suggestion made by physicists to generalize either quantum mechanics or gravitation – the two pillars of modern physics – to achieve unification, thereby arriving at a one all-encompassing theory. “Our experiment thwarts these efforts once again,” explains Gregor Weihs.

    The following Physicist offers a very interesting insight into this issue of ‘reconciling’ the mental universe of Quantum Mechanics with the space-time of General Relativity:

    How the Power of Intention Alters Matter – Dr. William A. Tiller
    Excerpt: Quantum mechanics and relativity theory are the two prime theoretical constructs of modern physics, and for quantum mechanics and relativity theory to be internally self-consistent, their calculations require that the vacuum must contain an energy density 10^94 grams per cubic centimeter. How much energy is that? To find out you simply use Einstein’s equation: E=MC2. Here’s how this comes out in practical terms. You could take the volume of, say, a single hydrogen atom (which is incredibly small, an infinitesimally small fraction of a cubic centimeter), and multiply that by the average mass density of the cosmos, a number which is known to astronomers. And what you find out is that within the amount of vacuum contained in this hydrogen atom there is, according to this calculation, “almost a trillion times as much energy as in all of the stars and all of the planets out to a radius of 20 billion light years!” If human consciousness can interact with that even a little bit, it can change things in matter. Because the ground state energies of all particles have that energy level due to their interaction with this stuff of the vacuum. So if you can shift that stuff of the vacuum, change its degree of order or coherence even a little bit, you can change the ground state energies of particles, atoms, molecules, and chemical equations.,,,, In conclusion Tiller states, “despite our attachment to it and our feeling of its solidity and persistence, what we think of as the physical universe is an almost incomprehensibly minuscule part of the immensity of All That Is.” “Matter as we know it,” Tiller concludes poetically, “is hardly a fragrance of a whisper.”

    Yet, this unification, into a ‘theory of everything’, between what is in essence the ‘infinite world of Quantum Mechanics’ and the ‘finite world of the space-time of General Relativity’ seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31
    William Dembski PhD. Mathematics
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”

    Philippians 2: 5-11
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

    While I agree with a criticism, from a Christian, that was leveled against the preceding Shroud of Turin video, that God indeed needed no help from the universe in the resurrection event of Christ since all things are possible with God, I am none-the-less very happy to see that what is considered the number one problem of Physicists and Mathematicians in physics today, of a ‘unification into a theory of everything’ for what is in essence the finite world of General Relativity and the infinite world of Quantum Mechanics, does in fact seem to find a successful resolution for ‘unification’ within the resurrection event of Jesus Christ Himself. It seems almost overwhelmingly apparent to me from the ‘scientific evidence’ we now have that Christ literally ripped a hole in the finite entropic space-time of this universe to reunite infinite God with finite man. That modern science would even offer such a almost tangible glimpse into the mechanics of what happened in the tomb of Christ should be a source of great wonder and comfort for the Christian heart.

  3. 3
    Ilion says:

    Oh, I see now.
    Failure to find a theory of everything is repackaged as a reason to give up monotheism.

    I understand it as saying something the other way around — that is: since, as all “right-thinking” persons now “know,” monotheism (that, is Judeo-Christianity) was a cultural waste of time, and as the scientific search for a Theory of Everything is a reflection of that monotheism, which we have long-since outgrown, we should correspondingly give up the scientific search for a Theory of Everything.

    After all, what will History say of us when she realizes that we *still* haven’t purged ourselves of Judeo-Christianity?

  4. 4
    johnnyb says:

    Actually, the thinkers in the area, like Clouser, have argued that a theory of everything is against monotheism. Clouser comes against the notion of a theory of everything in his book, The Myth of Religious Neutrality.

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