Tuesday, November 08, 2005

String theory and religion

Professor Lawrence Krauss discusses how religion is similar to string theory in certain respects. This comparison, for the most part, is essentially a matter of human nature for Professor Krauss, which he speculates is itself a byproduct of human evolution:
In my own field of physics, theorists hotly debate the possible existence of an underlying mathematical beauty associated with a host of new dimensions that may or may not exist in nature.

School boards, legislatures and evangelists hotly debate the possible existence of an underlying purpose to nature that similarly may or may not exist.

It seems that humans are hard-wired to yearn for new realms well beyond the reach of our senses into which we can escape, if only with our minds. It is possible that we need to rely on such possibilities or the world of our experience would become intolerable.
And as Cosmic Variance points out in its discussion, Professor Krauss does not surrender the position that falsifiabilty is an essential difference between science and religion.

The really interesting thought that this article evokes is prompted by the statement that "Religious belief that the universe is the handiwork of an all-powerful being is not subject to refutation." One form of athiest thought is that religious belief can be refuted, at least in the sense that one can demonstrate such beliefs to be irrational. Or to put it another way, the proposition that god exists could be demonstrated to be false on purely logical grounds even if one accepts that the existence of god has no material consequences. It seems, then, that the real difference between science and religion, in this light, is that science accepts physical experimention as a decisive method of falsifying hypotheses.


Blogger idil said...

and what if science prooves religion? why is the idea that string theory and membranes have already communicated with us and is maybe leading us to find the answer in one way or another so ridiculous? why does science have to act dogmatically on its own way to proove, whereas it could find ways to support itself with other strong facts of simple life? considering science is nothing without people practicing it, why does it proceed as if it is the only way to find an explanation? If string theory is unification, why cant science unify with other practices occuring in the world it is examined in? I have started believing in religion 3 months ago after I learned more about string theory, and would be grateful if some scientist could answer the considerations they have done over these questions I, and probably others, have asked. After all, these people are incredible - working only for less scientific people as myself. Thank you.

12:21 PM  

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