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Hello all. Young physicist, anti-empiricist here.

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posted on May, 8 2010 @ 07:47 PM
Greetings everyone. Nick here. I'll start off by telling you all a little bit about myself and follow up with what lead me to this website. I have a feeling that the story of how I found myself here will break the intro forum rule about avoiding an introductory thread with a specific topic, but hopefully whichever moderator checks this post will find my inquiry interesting enough to resist the temptation to destroy it.

I believe that characteristics of mine most relevant to this community can best be shared through a discussion of my academic history and the schism that it opened, or perhaps revealed, in my psyche. So here goes. I have just received my bachelor's of science in physics and plan to continue on to graduate study next year with the goal of becoming a professor somewhere. My current area of interest is high energy (particle) physics. Suffice it to say that I have a natural tendency towards analyzing experience logically and sometimes even rationally.

My years of undergraduate study trained me in the scientific method and the process of building theories in the language of mathematics upon which to use it. While I am not yet a true physicist of any measure, I believe that the experience of immersing myself (admittedly only half-heartedly for a stretch) in the most fundamental of empirical sciences leaves me somewhat qualified to speak up in debates concerning the strength and, ultimately, the usefulness of science. I emphasize the idea that it is the most fundamental of empirical sciences. This is not in order to give myself an ego boost or to belittle any individuals belonging to a different order of scientists. In fact, due to its fundamental nature, physics becomes much too burdensome to wield while solving many practical problems in areas such as chemistry and biology. Physical theory, in particular numerical approximations made useful through computers (even the semiconductors used in the logic circuits of our computers were realized by physicists), has been applied to fundamental chemistry as well as biology at the molecular level to great success. However, without the models provided by the previously independent fields physics would have had no place to attach itself.

But attach itself it did, and though the practice of physics seems to be an exercise in investigating its own never ending explanatory deficiencies, it now appears as if the entire quantifiable realm of our existence can be explained, at the "deepest" level, through a relatively small collection of mathematical statements. I am not sure what this means. The mastery over our surroundings and bodies that this has given us is impressive in its own right, to be sure. Results of painstaking work carried out by generations of scientists have become as crucial to human society and individual experience as hunting and gathering once were.

Still... I am not sure what this means. Mathematical equations will never be able to adequately describe the color red to me. They may be able to explain the spatial and temporal properties of "red" light. They may even be able to explain what neurological impulses are sent throughout my brain upon "seeing red". These equations can say nothing of what it "is like" to see a red stripe upon a canvas. They are equally useless for telling me why I "enjoy" the melodic and rhythmic patterns found in music that suits my taste. It is certainly interesting that there is a simple relationship between the mathematical description of the pressure waves of two harmonic tones, but in my opinion there is quite a difference between the theory describing harmony and the perception of it.

Continued below.... please refrain from posting until I finish if you would, I am going to keep writing on the fly rather than preparing both posts a priori.

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 07:49 PM
reply to post by boddah27

Hi Nick, and welcome to the ATS community. For now, you can reply to any thread in any member forum you wish, as well as send & receive (PM's)Private Messages to Staff only.
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edit on 8/5/2010 by Sauron because: aditional text

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 08:23 PM
With the notion that the most fundamental of sciences is completely unable to explain even a single bit of a human's perception of the act of being alive and conscious--a notion that I am quite sure anybody reading this will agree with--I will now call into question the authority granted to science.

First I will describe what I mean by "the authority granted to science". People all over the world devote themselves to various causes and campaigns, generally with the goal in mind of "making things better". Whether these be political, environmental, religious/spiritual, or otherwise matters not to this discussion, although the religious/spiritual sphere has particular appeal for me. Arguments from opposing sides of these debates often derive their first principles from science.

Radical environmentalists would have you believe that they are able to predict the future course of global temperatures, despite the fact that the global climate is such an ideal chaotic (read: damned near perfectly unpredictable) system that it was used as a primary example in the mathematical paper which first coined the term "chaos theory". They would also have you believe that the panda going extinct would be the end of all humanity, despite the fact that animal and plant species have been springing into and out of existence since the dawn of life.

Atheist philosophers would have you believe that there is nothing to life outside of that which is capable of being "proven" by science. I would ask the atheists what the odds of inhabiting a universe seemingly governed by simple mathematics and yet simultaneously containing the depth of human experience would be.

I do not advocate a complete dismissal of science.... hell I'm aiming to get a PhD in physics, if you are suspicious of my motives, but...

I conjecture that by rejecting the necessity of logic and rationality in every part of one's human experience one frees oneself to start "reading between the lines" of reality, so to speak; to begin to see how much great (and usually helpful) cosmic allegory and metaphor there are contained within a mundane day's experience. With my "believing" eyes opened up, I am finding that every part of a day's experience can be much more coherently ordered into my idea of what it means to exist. I do not have a single belief system in mind, but I can easily say that works ranging from the Bible to psychological papers along the lines of Freud and Jung to the theory of relativity make a lot more "sense" to me now that I allow my imagination and the admission that logic somtimes fails to guide me. Everything seems to fit.

Like I said above, I do not advocate the complete dismissal of science. Science saves and improves lives! That said, I do advocate the removal of scientific authority from our interpersonal interaction to a large degree. When walking through campus, rather than hearing about the panda bear's plight or the threat of global warming or the idea that whatever metaphysics I choose to believe in is wrong... I would prefer to have somebody come up and say "hey, how's it going". Not that I'm needy for comfort or attention. I just think that on the grand scale things would be a lot better if we humans would savor the possibilities we have (and can give to others less fortunate) to treat our existence as a playground. Some would say that without all of the special interest groups out there nothing would get done to "improve" the quality of life around the world. I say that much of the greed and corruption in the world is due to the fact that many currently alive have been blinded by science and are unable to see what it really means to be alive. Sorry I can't be more concrete about the whole being alive thing, part of the charm I suppose... just try to open your "believing" eyes honestly and you may see what I mean. You don't need to believe in a dogma if it doesn't suit you.

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 08:26 PM
All of that probably came across as rambling... I'm not that great at articulating things of this nature.

On to my question. Bonus points if you can think of why I am asking about this image... think physicist.

Have any of you seen an image like this before? Ancient civilizations, perhaps? It doesn't need to be repeated as I have shown here... I just thought that the repetition looked cool.

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 08:29 PM
Well said!

It's great to see someone going into the field of science, that actually realizes that science is NOT a dogma.. And science (as we know it) does not have most of the answers.

Hell, science can't even really say what gravity is.. And they have the laughable concept of the "strong" and "weak" molecular forces.

Is anti-matter even real? Or a bogus excuse to keep their outdated models, after the numbers didn't add up.

The key to progression is to realize that we are still a primitive society, with primitive understanding of the universe.

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 08:36 PM
Lol. The picture on photobucket is enjoyable.

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 08:39 PM
Oh gravity and antimatter are certainly real and well described. Gravity hasn't been integrated into force carrying particles yet, but it will be soon I'm sure. Antimatter is routinely created in high energy experiments... and get this, the description of antimatter is actually that of regular matter going BACKWARDS IN TIME!!!

The strong and weak forces are very well understood at this point... an analogy would be the electromagnetic force. At one time it all seemed like wizardry, etc. Now it enables us to sit at these keyboards and type. Who knows what kind of contraptions we could build with a better understanding of the more subtle forces?

And primitive is relative... do you know any other life form in the universe that can tell you to within inches where you are on a planet's surface using orbiting hunks of metal, plastic, and semiconductor? That kind of precision requires a very sophisticated idea of how spacetime and matter interact, not to mention computer logic and data transmission... no small feat.

I agree that science should not be looked at as a dogma or a key to the meaning of life, but don't short change it, either

Don't mean to come across hostile if this reads that way. Thanks for the interest!

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 08:40 PM

Originally posted by onequestion
Lol. The picture on photobucket is enjoyable.

Know anybody or any resources that may be able to tell me if it has appeared anywhere previously in human culture?

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 09:02 PM
reply to post by boddah27

Nope sorry to say...

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 09:03 PM
Avatar test. Won't show up on my existing posts.

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 09:08 PM
Is gravity an affect of consciousness? What school did you graduate from? What is your current occupation?

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 09:08 PM
Blame macintosh. Doublespeak.

[edit on 8-5-2010 by onequestion]

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 09:16 PM
reply to post by onequestion

Is gravity an effect of consciousness? Science won't be able to say, I'm afraid.

Here's how I look at it:

If we can describe how the interactions amongst the matter in the universe take place using mathematics, which we seem to get better and better at all the time... we arrive at a chicken and egg problem. Mathematics are a product of consciousness it seems, and that would imply that cognition is in some way fundamental to the existence of the universe. Then again, we don't know of anything that is able to "think" that isn't at least partially made of matter. So which came first? Gravity and the rest of the forces, which allow expression of consciousness, or consciousness itself?

posted on May, 8 2010 @ 09:30 PM
I believe that gravity exist within consciousness, as our conscious awareness changes, so does that the affect of gravity. I am curious on your view of mathematics (You will have to excuse me as i have educated myself, and built a lot of my own philosophies). I have a hard time believing in mathematics because of how they apply relatively to our perspective on what's "real". Did i word that properly for understanding? Allow me to use this as an example...
Space/Time/Infinity and the Holographic Universe
I use this example because it best describes what i think of mathematics. I see consciousness as the space that matter exist within, matter still being conscious.

P.S. - I am just trying to understand your perspective as you have an educated opinion. I don't want to push my beliefs, more or less looking for an alternative perspective, and mybe get to know who you are!

[edit on 8-5-2010 by onequestion]

[edit on 8-5-2010 by onequestion]

posted on May, 9 2010 @ 12:14 AM
I don't believe people are blind, because of science. Children are conditioned at a young age not to question authority and to conform and bombarded with negativity. I absolutely do believe mankind is very poor spiritually and are still at the 'crawling baby' stage as far as growth, which clearly shows our path of destruction. I always say that science and spirituality will merge with the god particle, lol.

posted on May, 9 2010 @ 01:52 AM

I think the idea that matter exists within consciousness completely is a great thing to roll around in the ol' noggin to help undo some of the effects of a matter-oriented state of mind. The persistence of memory and the seeming stability of the 'external' world along with at least the 'perception' of free will are strong enough indicators of at least some sort of external reality to me.

posted on May, 9 2010 @ 12:22 PM
reply to post by boddah27

Ahhhh I agree. We seem to agree. Anyway nice to gettin to see ya around, look forward to your intellectual approach to the topics here on ATS.

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