It's up to us to develop the sensitivity to pick up on it. Pedantry can be the enemy of insight. This gives students the idea that there is a book somewhere with all the right answers to all of the interesting questions, and that teachers know those answers. And if one could get hold of the book, one would have everything settled.
Hawking Copyright Stephen W. This is taken from the text used by Professor Hawking's speech synthesizer. While most of the spelling and punctuation peculiarities required by the computer translator have been corrected, some may still exist especially names.
Which came first, the chicken, or the egg. In other words, what agency created the universe. And what created that agency. Or perhaps, the universe, or the agency that created it, existed forever, and didn't need to be created.
Up to recently, scientists have tended to shy away from such questions, feeling that they belonged to metaphysics or religion, rather than to science. However, in the last few years, it has emerged that the Laws of Science may hold even at the beginning of the universe. In that case, the universe could be self contained, and determined completely by the Laws of Science.
The debate about whether, and how, the universe began, has been going on throughout recorded history. Basically, there were two schools of thought.
Many early traditions, and the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions, held that the universe was created in the fairly recent past. For instance, Bishop Usher calculated a date of four thousand and four BC, for the creation of the universe, by adding up the ages of people in the Old Testament.
One fact that was used to support the idea of a recent origin, was that the Human race is obviously evolving in culture and technology. We remember who first performed that deed, or developed this technique.
Thus, the arguement runs, we can not have been around all that long. Otherwise, we would have already progressed more than we have. In fact, the biblical date for the creation, is not that far off the date of the end of the last Ice Age, which is when modern humans seem first to have appeared. On the other hand, some people, such as the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, did not like the idea that the universe had a beginning.
They felt that would imply Divine intervention. They prefered to believe that the universe, had existed, and would exist, forever. Something that was eternal, was more perfect than something that had to be created.
They had an answer to the argument about human progress, that I described. It was, that there had been periodic floods, or other natural disasters, which repeatedly set the human race right back to the beginning.
Both schools of thought held that the universe was essentially unchanging in time. Either it had been created in its present form, or it had existed forever, like it is today. This was a natural belief in those times, because human life, and, indeed the whole of recorded history, are so short that the universe has not changed significantly during them.
In a static, unchanging universe, the question of whether the universe has existed forever, or whether it was created at a finite time in the past, is really a matter for metaphysics or religion: Indeed, inthe philosopher, Immanuel Kant, wrote a monumental, and very obscure work, The Critique of Pure Reason.
In it, he concluded that there were equally valid arguements, both for believing that the universe had a beginning, and for believing that it did not. As his title suggests, his conclusions were based simply on reason. In other words, they did not take any account of observations about the universe.Jonah, I think you have the light ray in your illustration of refraction bending in the wrong direction: you have shown the apparent bending of a stick thrust into water, but .
Richard Feynman, in full Richard Phillips Feynman, (born May 11, , New York, New York, U.S.—died February 15, , Los Angeles, California), American theoretical physicist who was widely regarded as the most brilliant, influential, and iconoclastic figure in his field in the post-World War II era.
Similar essays can be found in Professor Hawking's book, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, Bantam Books, , ISBN: "It is an important and popular fact that things are not always as what they seem. For instance, on the planet earth, man has always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much: the wheel, New York, wars.
I care about truth if there is a God. But why should I care about truth if there is no God? In fact if there is no God, maybe I shouldn’t care about truth because it would be too sad to know I’d rather live out my life with the illusion of happily ever after in that case.
Nanotechnology is an expected future manufacturing technology that will make most products lighter, stronger, cleaner, less expensive and more precise.