Let me immediately clarify the title of this thread.
By using the term magic
, I'm in no way implying a mystical or supernatural explanation behind the observed behaviour of the universe and its
constituent parts. Rather I'm using the term in a manner consistent to that expressed many years ago by Arthur C. Clark when he made the (now famous)
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
For the purpose of this thread, the entire set of rules governing the creation and workings of the universe are to be considered analogous to Clark's
use of the term "advanced technology".
Many years ago, as a youngster, I developed a strong interest in science with physics being one branch of interest to me and of particular interest,
sub-atomic physics. At that young age, I was quite surprised to learn that all matter in the universe apparently could be explained as being composed
of extremely small and apparently indivisible particles named electrons, protons and neutrons; and that in various combinations, these 3 particles
were basically all that was needed to create the entire matter universe surrounding us. Consequently, to my young mind, that was all that there was to
the universe ... and that the apparent complexities reduced down to very basic laws governing the interactions of these 3 basic particles by way of 4
simple forces namely, weak, strong, electromagnetic and gravitational forces.
The universe and physics, in my then limited understanding, appeared to be a reasonably simple and straightforward one to understand and come to grips
with. However with the years and ongoing scientific research by the scientific community, I eventually lost this simplistic attitude as the deeper
physics examined the sub-atomic realm, the more numerous the particles being discovered, the more numerous the forces involved and the more complex
the universe began to appear to me. So much so, that in recent years, I've essentially come to the conclusion that there seems to be no ready end in
sight to how deep we can "drill" down into the sub-atomic realm because no matter how deeper we look, no matter how much energy is expended by
instruments such as the Large Hadron Collider in their quest to find the 'ultimate
' particle, there always appear to be more and more of
these strange particles looking back at us.
However, having written the above, don't misunderstand it as being indicative of me trying to say that ongoing research and experimentation is a
waste of time and money ... far from it as each new discovery broadens our horizons on the nature of the universe and should be continued to the
greatest extent possible. What I am saying instead is that where we once may have believed that we would quite quickly achieve a full understanding
and grasp of the rules and structure of the sub-atomic realm, this understanding and grasp appears to be receding away from us with every new
discovery in particle physics that is made. And as our understanding begins to fall behind and lag our discoveries, we may eventually find ourselves
in the unique situation that we have to finally admit that we may never truly understand the inherent nature governing the rules of particle creation
and simply state that "particles exist and are created" through what may as well be a set of "magical rules" that we will never be able to
comprehend. What makes this current situation in particle physics research of an apparently "never ending" stream of particles being discovered is
that if we accept the Big Bang Theory as factual, then the "rules of particle" creation (if there is such a concept), came into existence
"automatically" at the very instance of the Big Bang taking place. These rules came from nowhere and came into existence fully formed, extremely
complex in nature and substance, and apparently ready to enable particle and force creation from the word go.
Nature is not a scientist neither does it conducts scientific research ... it's many rules simply popped into existence from seemingly nowhere, ready
formed and working perfectly with no guiding or supervising intelligence whatsoever. To me, I can't use the term "science" to describe such a state
of affairs ... instead, the term "magic" appears to be much more appropriate.
Even though the above primarily centers around the plethora or "zoo" of particles being discovered and the increasing difficulties in arriving at or
deducing some kind of overall simple "rule" to explain their existence, other branches of physics are now finding themselves in a similar situation
whereby their earlier beliefs that the ultimate laws of physics will be completely deducible in the near future and found to be explainable with
"simple" theories have proven to be completely misguided. Examples of the ever increasing complexity of the underlying substrate governing the
workings of the universe are to be readily found in Quantum Theory where even the basic principles such as super-position and action-at-a-distance are
proving to be incredibly counter-intuitive and difficult to come to grips with; also the attempt to come up with a Grand Unified Theory (GUT) and
Theory of Everything (ToE) are struggling with the many models being proposed - with some models needing to postulate a universe with 10 or more
Then we have additional recent concepts such as Multi-Verses and parallel dimensions to complicate matters even further and doing their part to make
this universe of ours and its associated "laws" ever more complex and difficult to comprehend.
So, after just a few hundred years of scientific research into the laws that govern the existence of our universe, we find that the deeper and deeper
that we probe, that far more questions than answers are being generated and that the stranger and weirder these "laws" and the underlying mechanism
of the universe apparently is becoming.
In fact, our entire technological society is based on the application of some of the "ways of the universe" without even coming close to a complete
understanding of why and how
these technologies work. We employ magnetism in almost every facet of our day to day lives ... we may employ its
effects but are hard pressed to explain it in detail. We use lasers everywhere these days, but I don't believe there's a single person able to
completely and precisely explain every
detail of what happens to an electron when it jumps from one energy level to another. In fact, is there
even a complete understanding
of what an electron is ? We can control its properties and create the wonders of tv, computers and radio ... but
is a complete description and understanding of an electron ?
And as for gravity ....
So, we employ the results of the universe without truly understanding the how
Which brings me to ask the question once again ...
Is physics rapidly leaving the realm of SCIENCE and RE-ENTERING the realm of MAGIC ?
to which I personally have to answer YES