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Human observer & cosmological interpretations

  1. Jul 11, 2009 #1
    Hi! This is my first time on here and my first post. I don't do professional work in this field but it has been a keen interest of mine over the years. Anyway, if someone can share some insights, I would really appreciate it greatly!

    Given the divide between classical physics and quantum mechanics, string theory seems to offer the greatest hope to fill the void. However, there seems to be many things that are absolutely missing or unknown from our current interpretation of cosmology.

    Dark matter & Dark energy, these two are almost like wild cards in the current cosmological model; they are outside of our current capacity to interpret accurately using classical physics.

    So, here's my dilemma:

    Are humans (limited by our biological makeup and the ways in which we take in information) capable of interpreting and understanding the true nature of the universe?

    At the quantum level, strict rationality and predictability understandable by human standards no longer apply for so many instances. And so when we go to interpret the universe, in my opinion, we are only getting half of the picture with the four forces, general relativity and so on (classical physics). Dark matter and dark energy are like giant elephants in the living room that everybody is trying to avoid while trying to watch a TV show.

    For all intended purposes, we humans "live" in the classical physics ("orderly") world while putting up with quantum mechanics ("randomness"). Furthermore, the everyday human reality is pretty much a false one, as filtered by our biological apparatus. Of course, science operates with mechanical extensions and mathematics to correct human frailties. But as we are all learning now, there are limitations to this, too, as proven by quantum chaos.

    The more that I try to understand cosmology, the more I begin to doubt our capacity to understand our the true nature of the universe.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2009 #2


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    Why? It simply means we have more to learn. Frankly, I am not looking forward to the day when we have no more frontiers of knowledge to explore. What will motivate young students to enter a field if there's nothing left to discover?
  4. Jul 11, 2009 #3
    "The more that I try to understand cosmology, the more I begin to doubt our capacity to understand our the true nature of the universe."

    So today we don't understand it, tomorrow we'll hopefully know a bit more. Nobody understood that space and time were dynamic until Einstein thought in a different way. So while we ARE somewhat limited by our evolutionary make up, for example only being able to clearly visualize three dimensional space not ten dimensional space, we have constructs that take us further...especially mathematics. Don't give up yet!
  5. Jul 12, 2009 #4


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    Math makes my brain hurt. I sympathize with Beavis - 'numbers, there are too many of them'. Math gives us possibilities. Not all of them are physical - i.e., can be confirmed by observation. We live in a really big universe and have many more observations left to be made. Sort of like exhuming a corpse and deriving its life history.
  6. Jul 12, 2009 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    There is no way to know for sure except insofar as scientific progress hasn't stopped yet.
  7. Jul 12, 2009 #6
    I just got updated on string theory and my hope is now with the Large Hadron Collider; I hope they can come up with something to prove or disprove the existence of gravitons.

    But, it seems like they are delayed until October.

    Big particle collider restart delayed till October

    I'm sort of disappointed Fermilab hasn't made progress toward this end. http://www.fnal.gov/

    I guess I could live with the current state of interpretations if it weren't for dark matter and dark energy... It seems like such a big mess to me.
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