Sunday, May 5, 2013

So, What Is Science As We Know It Is at an End?

5/5/2013–– There is a book review in today’s New York Times of Lee Smolin’s book, Time Reborn, From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe. The reviewer, Alan Lightman, is disturbed by Smolin’s book. For Lightman, asking the question of the conditions that made the Big Bang possible is both a triumph and a defeat. It is a triumph because previous generations had neither the wherewithal nor the accomplishment even to ask these questions. But it is also a defeat, because “if we must appeal to the existence of other universes – – unknown and unknowable – – to explain our universe, then science has progressed into a cul-de-sac with no scientific escape.”

What does Lightman mean by a “scientific escape”? Does he mean that there is no escape within the methodology of scientific materialism? Perhaps it is that kind of scientific method that is at limit. That would not necessarily mean an end, however, to scientific discovery and advancement.

I guess what I mean is that we may be coming to the end of everything narrow and fragmented. All the methodologies of positivism, including of course the methodologies of law, will have to be rethought in view of the interconnectedness of all things shown by quantum physics and argued by Smolin.

In particular, in regard to science, Martin Heidegger referred to the realms of Geist in Introduction to Metaphysics. But these realms did not include science. Science was limited, at least in that part of Heidegger’s thought, to reactionary cultural values or modern service to technology. There was no sense of Geist in regard to science. But maybe the mysterious connectivity of all things to which Smolin refers is Geist.

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