• Posted: Jul 04, 2008 14:46:39
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Cosmology is the nexus where science, religion, and philosophy meet on an almost equal footing. Using what we have in the way of thoughtful abilities, all comers strive to make sense of who we are, where we are, what is happening, why it is happening, and what wise and appropriate use we might make of our conscious lives in this vast mysterious universe. The effort has been going on for quite some time and progress has been made. Witness all the material transformations we've made in support of an ever expanding population. That we've likely irreversibly fouled our nest is beside the point. The evidence is that without a doubt we have made considerable progress understanding answers to our cosmological questions. The answers just aren't complete nor comprehensive, nor widely shared and accepted.
Complexity is an undeniable aspect of the world we both live in and contemplate. By filtering the complexity we can often come to a better understand of the whole through studying parts of the whole. By filtering the complexity we often can identify aspects of reliability in the workings of the world, aspects of reliability we label rules or laws. The foolishness we fall victim to is deciding we have reliably understood the workings of the whole when in fact we've only gained insight into parts of the whole. That foolishness is called reductionism. It is foolishness because reductionism assumes simplicity comprehensively accounts for all the complexity when it doesn't. Foolish simple-think reductionism has been a hallmark of the most listened to voices of the late 20th and early 21st century. The truly sad part is that those doing all the listening haven't objected.
Nature does not run backward. However, if it did one could ask if events would reliably repeat themselves once Nature reverted to forward again. Very likely they would repeat exactly. That means our sense Nature behaves according to invariable rules is not without foundation. And that allows hope we might one day comprehend those rules in all their intricate detail. However, until then, we will continue to suffer the high water consequences of inadequate understanding and foresight.
Thursday, June 12th, 2008
36.1 mm 171 mm