Sunday, March 4, 2012

Something from Nothing

Important science impacting philosophy and religion.

© 2012 Stephen Kent Stephenson, sks23@cornell.edu. All rights reserved.

On Stitcher I listen to a science podcast called, "Quirks and Quarks", from Canada. The last segment of the January 21, 2012 episode is about an excellent new book by renowned physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, "A Universe from Nothing: Why there is Something Rather than Nothing". (I read it on my iPhone Kindle Reader.)

Clicking a link at the end of the segment text takes you to Dr. Krauss's Media Page. It contains a must watch video, "A Universe From Nothing", predating the book, that explains the quantum mechanical physics of the instability of nothing forcing the emergence of something.

Also on Dr. Krauss's Media Page is the video, "Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science (CERN talk)". As a counterpoint to the prevailing education mantra that English is more important than STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), Dr. Krauss reports that on the undergraduate entrance exams to Princeton, Feynman got the highest ever recorded score in Physics and the lowest ever recorded score in English. But, "In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time." So at least in Feynman's case, English was not all that important. This supports the sentiments in my post, PAAC, not WAC.

I personally have struggled on the one hand with childhood instruction in a fundamental Baptist religion, and on the other hand my observations of various seeming paradoxes within those teachings, and clashes with rational scientific thoughts and theories. I agree with Atheist Alliance Int'l. that throughout history and even today many crimes against humanity have and are being committed in the names of various religions and superstitions. But the ceremonies and didactic methods of formal religions are attractive, as described in this TED talk. So while not yet ready to embrace outright atheism, pantheism has a lot of appeal. The Cosmos is God, and we're part of the Cosmos!