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Old 09-09-2011, 11:08 PM
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Default "The ultimate triumph of science"

I saw this video a few days ago, and one line caught my attention. Near the end, Stephen Hawking says, "We need a theory of everything. Perhaps, the ultimate triumph of science." (Incidentally, watch the video, it's very nice.)

As a summary, a so-called Theory of Everything is the holy grail of particle physics: it would be a single mathematical model describing all known interactions in the universe at all scales, in all possible circumstances. It would be a single, unifying description of, in principle, the entire universe.

Physicists have been after this for about 20 years now, and I have a question for you: what if it was found? What if the physicists came back and said, "this is reality, at its deepest level?" Physics is now done; completed; finished. All other science is mere abstractions on top of the Ultimate Theory of particle physics. The goal science set out to solve (describing the universe) has been completed: the universe has been exactly described. If you want to use the steorotypical example, we know exactly what God said that was summarised in Genesis as "Let there be light."

What does this mean, emotionally or spiritually? How does it affect us, if a group of us can say precisely how reality behaves? Once we know precisly how the world works, what is there for philosophy to do?
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:19 PM
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Well I don't have time to post a complete reply at the moment, but if physicists want to find the 'holy grail' of science, then good luck to them. It'll probably take a long time.
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:31 PM
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Heh, first I thought you may have posted this in the wrong section, but now I see the question you are asking

I'd say that there is no single way of explaining the world. Sure, one day it may be possible to explain precisely how the world behaves - but there would still be a billion other ways to explain the world, too. It's like if we would develop perfect eyesight - we'd still have all out other senses to explain the world through, as well.

I also believe that there is much in the universe that cannot be explained in words - only experienced. So to me, personally - someone achieving this "triumph", it wouldn't mean a thing.

Also, for everyone - while this thread is perfectly on-topic (discussing something scientific through a spiritual perspective), I would still urge you to avoid turning this into a debate. Just saying, since I can see the eventual risks here.
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:16 AM
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I wish I could offer I smart answer, but I really can't!

Just as Steven Hawking says that the supposed theory is "just beyond our grasp," I think knowledge of how the theory would affect us is beyond our grasp too. We wouldn't really know the full implications until they arrived.

Interesting stuff to think about, though.
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eltu View Post
It's like if we would develop perfect eyesight - we'd still have all out other senses to explain the world through, as well.
Apart from the fact that there isn't such a thing as perfect eyesight.
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:28 AM
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Oh, it was a metaphor.
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Old 09-10-2011, 08:17 AM
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Well, if physics has answered the "how," spirituality must still answer the existential question of "why."
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eltu View Post
Oh, it was a metaphor.
I was talking metaphorically.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:40 AM
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In my metaphor, there is such a thing as perfect eyesight.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:51 AM
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Then use a better metaphor.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:53 AM
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I never asked for anyone to agree with or understand it.

Also, moving quite a bit offtopic here - let's drop it before it gets out of hand.
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:06 AM
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Well, as a metaphor it's completely flawed. Truly perfect eyesight would allow visual interpretation of everything from subatomic particles to sound waves to dark matter, and so, by definition, yes, it would allow understanding of everything with it alone.
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:08 AM
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I'm saddened you do not view the metaphor as I do and thus cannot understand it - but, I'm not asking you to, either.

And to avoid making this all too offtopic, I suggest we leave it at that.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eltu View Post
but, I'm not asking you to, either.
[Nevermind, see here.]

Since your metaphor does not work, why not explain it literally?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
Well, if physics has answered the "how," spirituality must still answer the existential question of "why."
What "why" is there? I'm fairly sure that what most physicists accept as a ToE would explain the origin of the universe.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:46 PM
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As I said, I am not interested in discussing that particular issue because I view this current discussion as offtopic - I can gladly continue discussing it in private though, if you wish. That's all I will say in this matter.
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