Monday, 11 October 2010

III. The Giant, the Turtle and Its Four Elephants

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknowns unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know"
Donald Rumsfeld

You all know the above words for better or worse. And you may ask yourself, why is Donald Rumsfeld being quoted on a blog on Science? Simply because, and unwittingly I have to assume, Mr. Rumsfeld has summed up in less than 50 words the core of Human knowledge and in its extension, Science itself.

In today's world things are becoming more and more diluted, not what they used to be, the words “the world is changing fast” is in everyone's mouths and news. Many people might say that this is a bit of scaremongering; our parents said the same when they were living in their grandparents’ time, our grandparents when they were living in their grand-grandparents time. This feeling of uneasiness, of an established generation, has been felt by our ancestors in exactly the same way, so one should not worry too much. It is just part of the process of getting more knowledge and getting old. But you could not be more wrong. We are living in one of the most dangerous times for mankind for the past 500 years, mostly because times are not changing, progress is a mere advertising exercise, science is... dead!

This present time is dark, not as dark as the Dark Ages yet, but a time where human intellect is stagnating, going in circles with the same ways of thinking, using Science to validate Science, not developing ideas from scratch. It is now past more than a century since great Physics and great Physicists existed, where great Mathematics and Mathematicians existed. They thought of ideas that modelled our present, some valid, others less. However most of these Great Thinkers (Einstein, Dirac, Riemann, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrödinger…) have been hyped by media beyond “reasonable doubt” making the present Physics and Mathematics practically uncontournable, becoming intellectual obstacles to any new physicists and people of science. It should not be like this. Actually, it was never like this.

Today’s scientists are baffled with their comprehension of the world and their bafflement is “sold” onto us as Science. You might be surprised but I tell you now, it isn’t. The explanations and add—ons that are put into the Standard Model, from the sub—atomic “particles” to the gigantic Universe, from the present time to the beginning of times a.k.a. Big Bang, quarks, muons, higgs bosons, dark matter, dark energy, inflation, deflation, all of these have no Science whatsoever in it, they sit conceptually on the same league as the Giant, The Turtle and Its Four Elephants.

It is now that Rumsfeld becomes relevant. His words may be just a “Gödel for Dummies”. Kurt Gödel was an Austrian mathematician famous for his Incompleteness Theorems but also for his Completeness Theorem. His Incompleteness Theorem states that any system can only be proved consistent if and only if is inconsistent to start with i.e. some initial axioms or premises can never be proved or disproved. These are the “known unknowns”. His Completeness Theorem, for closed simple systems, is what we Humans tend to do everyday, the “known knowns” and what we can deduct through them. This is where Science rules, the Experimental Method at its best. However scientists not only struggle with the process of explaining the unknowns, they go one step forward (or backward) and try to systematize them, to “scientifize” them.

A long time ago we Humans through The Hindu mythology stated that the world was held by four elephants on the top of a turtle. Conceptually this is necessary as the world is not falling and we are not falling with it either. In the same fashion, the ancient Greeks found an equivalent but this time a Giant, Atlas. Is there any science in this? No. Can this be disproved? Yes, but only as recently as 1960 where you can see photos of our planet, showing no turtle or giant holding it. However the question “Who is holding Atlas or the Turtle?” was never mentioned in these mythologies and it would have put them to rest pretty fast. The same applies to all the scientific contemporary mythology, dark matter, higgs and the rest, no more than self—appointed “alchemists” trying to turn lead into gold if they only had the Philosopher’s Stone or... a Large Hadron Collider.
Rumsfeld has an additional thought… “the unknown unknowns” which Science tries to hide under the rug or fantasize about. With our intellectual power there are things we will never be able to capture, to understand, to explain, that are beyond our comprehension. Therefore it is of no use whatsoever to resource to concepts like multi dimensions, time travel, time recursive formulae. The more we try to use these, the more they become like Turtles and Giants. What we need to understand and explain has to be inside the confinements of our intellectual and reasonable experience. This does not mean that the Universe or the beginning of times or other anxious questions cannot be answered. They can and they will if you stick around here for a bit longer, but not with the present Science Mythology.

Quoting Albert Einstein “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." That is what I am doing now… moving in the opposite direction.

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