Saturday, April 02, 2005

Hawkins, a lost bet and my Religion

I'm not a typical follower of the goings on of the quantum mechanics horizon but this caught my attention. Even someone of Hawkin's caliber can change their position and after thirty long years. I wonder if there is a moral in that story and what it means to me as human being and me as a Hindu.

At some point in my life I would like to see if science and philosphy will validate my primitive concept of God. I am not passionately curious to know right now or even on an ongoing basis. To me the points , counter points, theory, postulates are like so many sounds of dissent as thinking people try to supress one hype-cycle after an other gasping, trying to reach the whole truth. If at the end of my life the truth is still obscured by the hypothesis I would leave without having known. I don't believe I would be much the worse for that.

The plainer truth is that I have little to no grounding in either physics or philosophy to be able to provide intelligent commentary on the goings-on. It is as if to this end there is this very insightful comment from a Slashdot reader..

"I once heard a beautiful analogy that said that mathematics was to physics what musical notation was to music.

By extension, just as one can appreciate music without necessarily understanding the notation, I think that it is possible to cultivate an appreciate of physics without having a firm grip on the math but, in like manner, you capacity to appreciate it is going to be bounded and is going to be much shallower than a person who can.

It goes without saying that if you don't know the notes you can't, of course, write the music. People who think that they can contribute to the body of physics, in any substantial way, without an understanding of that math are, of course, deluding themselves."

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