Friday, April 6, 2007

The science of the unexplainable...

Einstein was a qualifier, he qualified almost everything he said. He even put “true” and “truth” in quotes much of the time as a little reminder that the truth had to be taken in context of the specific experiment and methods used. Thus relativity is a pretty good term for science that is relative.

Einstein also qualified his qualifiers, that’s why we need to understand the differences between Special and General Relativity. Many believe that Einstein thought the theory of Relativity was the end-all be-all solution to all of the mysteries of the universe. Nobody but an idiot would actually say such a thing, Einstein certainly presented many questions that he knew he could never fully answer.

It has been years now since I have seriously slowed down on my science reading. Just because I am not as educated as I could be doesn’t mean that I am totally lost in conversations regarding new science, however, I do have a general sense of reality about me which makes me skeptical of many ideas that pop up from time to time.

I need to point out though, that many things are perceived as incorrect because the person telling about them is uninformed or unintelligent. Things can also be perceived as incorrect because they are unexplainable. There may be a logical outcome, but the methods as to how the outcome is produced are not relatable in numbers, words, colors, sensations, impulses, vibrations or audible, visible or even tangible communications of any kind. So the question a reasonable person would have to ask themselves is if an intellectual endeavor is of any value if the knowledge gained is either, unusable, incomprehensible or unexplainable. For example, I would have to ask myself, “Now that the experiment and knowledge gained are reduced to an existentialist self-enrichment exercise, is it really worth all this effort?” My general answer would be “no”, my special answer would be “yes”.

Einstein is often quoted as saying, “God does not play dice with the universe”, but Einstein would probably have agreed that God does play God with the universe. In which case he would expect that there would be observations made that would either contradict common understanding or be beyond understanding. Most scientists would still feel a compulsion (as did Einstein) to know the reasons behind an observed phenomenon. Personally, I would love to know the answers to all the mysteries of the universe, but knowing the unexplainable realities I already know leaves me with a desire to communicate some small part of what I know, even if it is said, or typed, or scrawled, or drawn, or screamed, or splattered or painted in a way that no one can truly comprehend. As for science, I still keep up with small things, most of which aren’t science as much as they are bite-sized morsels of pseudo-science whimsy.

Now, I have to say that quantum anything eventually leads to this crossroads, “Do I wish to know something incomprehensible or unexplainable (even unknowable)?” I am intrigued, but everything I want to know about this branch of sometimes science I will have to find out for myself, because even when the answers are ready they are often senseless or useless.

Generally, when a big question comes up that I know would take many years just for the grants and a lifetime to experiment, I’m happy just to say, “God plays God with the universe”. I’m sure I’ll pick up all the information that I need as I go along.

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