On: “Is Science Coming to an End?”

Inspired by On Giants Shoulders pg 343

“The more you discover, the less there is to discover”-John Horgan

In the absolute sense, yes (in a finite existence because if we bring in the argument of an expanding universe then it becomes a whole different ball game which does not interest me in this context), but to say that science is coming to an end due discovery is reaching. The analogy of my puppy-love is here very appropriate. I can write this because he is no longer on FaceBook and unlikely to come across this blog, particularly since we lack mutual friends; singular attentions towards a man who has not declared you the love of his life are peculiarly loathsome to them. *NEVER DO IT*.  Men have a tendency towards self-hate, thus, if without going to all sorts of strides to convince you to love them you are all up on it, they get flustered: “There must be something wrong with you; why are you willing to settle for them so easily?”; “You must not really be as awesome as they thought you were because if you could really have any man you wanted why would you settle for them?” Thus, prior to earth-shifting declarations we must necessarily act nonchalant; acting as if not getting so much as a text from them the whole day doesn’t phase you; you are indifferent-they are that insignificant.

I digress….my  is a finite person, with a finite personality. Of course he continues to grow as he studies and lives and gains new experiences so in that sense we could say he is infinite but not in the God-sense since if one takes a snapshot of his entire being at any given point in time, he is finite; so once I know all about his physical person, I only have his mental/ emotional psyche to discover i.e. less to discover; this is a very obtuse approach. The single greatest scientific discovery should be that ‘an answer only leads to unanswered questions”- one of those cliches that are cliches because they are sooo commonly true.

With my , I discovered that he now likes to drink at home, and the discovery opened up a million other lines of questioning: “Since when?”; “Why?”; “Why  now?” and each one of the answers to these questions also gives rise to a plethora of questions; like when he said it’s because now he is a student and thinks going out is a waste of money, one wants to know whether he is a scrooge

or an economist     

-a whimsical distinction, some not-so-baselessly argue; is it because he is self-financed? or has a set allowance? or just sensitive towards not abusing his benefactors’ benevolence? The answers to these questions also give rise to more questions ad infinitum.

If the universe is expanding-which we know it is- or infinite, “we are getting to that state where we have discovered all there is to discover” is a completely inappropriate statement; but if we are talking about a snapshot of the universe at this given point in time I would say, knowledge-wise, we are a zillion centuries away from holding this stance.

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10 Responses to On: “Is Science Coming to an End?”

  1. bobdigi says:

    does he drink at home by himself?

    • boobsetal says:

      The right answer would be yes and no. If its only yes it would make him look like an alcoholic(?) but I also know that he is invested enough in alcohol to where he would drink alone….but the truth is I dont know. In this context you have just proved my point; knowing one little thing opens up a whole new world of things you dont know and might wanna know..what made you ask that?

  2. bobdigi says:

    wasn’t so much thinking about whether or not he drinks too much, but about drinking alone as a substitute for social drinking. feel like they’re two very different activities. personally, not too keen on drinking by myself. end up staring into the void and feeling miserable and lonely. sure this isn’t his experience of it, though, or he prob wouldn’t bother.

    has anybody actually argued for science being close to ending? when the Berlin Wall came down, an idiot economist called Francis Fukuyama argued for ‘the end of history’ i.e. capitalism won. sadly a lot of economists (lazy bastards, we) seem to have been deluded into thinking this is actually the case over the last couple of decades and see no need for new thought in the field. far too much innovation in the sciences to suggest anyone thinks they’re close to any kind of ‘end’.

    sci-fi writer called Vinge had an interesting concept called ‘the singularity’ whereby we’d come to a point (probably via artificial intelligence) where the rate of technological advancement would become virtually instant.. like if you can think of it, it can more or less become reality right now. kind of like how the rate at which microchips get smaller is getting faster and faster, so eventually time will no longer be a factor in their advancement (like we’re on a parabolic curve).

  3. boobsetal says:

    I don’t really think he is as neurotic about his drinking:i think his drinking is dictated more by his tastebuds and wallet than by a conscious thought process/ consequences of drinking scenarios. although, i did ask him, in passing, about his drinking habits and he said he gets the party going alone usually, then the party becomes a party.

    Yeah, at the time On Giant’s Shoulder’s was being written, John Horgan felt we had maybe 50 more years on science. His argument was that we are getting closer to unraveling the origin of everything-the true nature of the Big Bang; and this would consequently give us the theory of everything (TOE). His thought process is that many/all the significant discoveries (gravity, quantum theory, the atom, the cell etc) have already been made, all we are doing is applying what’s already there, like how back in the day we had all these really big gaps in science that needed to be discovered and no consensus on a lot of things whereas now, we have “theories” re: almost everything.

    I subscribe to capitalism-to the extent that it is the least of all the evils-but an evil still. I agree: new way of thinking! new way of thinking!

    Vinge’s ‘singularity’ concept is a bit daunting no? “superhuman intelligence” “SUPER HUMAN” intelligence. I feel a foreboding about intelligence without ‘human consciousness” (please refer to upcoming blog) –reeks of irobot. What’s your take?

    • bobdigi says:

      respect, it’s all about ‘being’ the party and having a gravitational pull of sorts for fellow revelers and whatnot. speaking of which, do you know anybody who has house parties here? have run out of places to meet people.

      how old is that book? think we’ve discovered a lot but, really, as far as the big questions, like where everything came from and how to create life/overcome death, we’re no closer than when we started. first thing I thought as a child upon hearing about The Big Bang was ‘what started that?’ and – at least until I have some grasp of string theory – I’m yet to have it answered by science, religion or anything else.

      capitalism was embraced/enforced globally, but communist countries were generally isolated, even if some of them were quite big. Slavoj Zizek argues that if ‘real existing communism’ were given the same scope as capitalism it would have worked far better than it did (i.e. imagine a scenario where the US and perhaps a couple of Euro nations were the only capitalists and we were all focused on the betterment of our proletarian bros and sisters around the globe..).

      Marx’s ultimate vision was more democratic than what so-called capitalist democracies are today, although the authoritarian regimes of Stalin and Mao gave socialism a bad image. whether it can be introduced without degenerating into dictatorship is the big question, but I don’t discount it completely as an alternative. America used to say exporting capitalism = exporting ‘freedom’, but look at the Chinese.. also, the free market capitalists don’t allow free capital markets; hence all the ugliness and inequality we see coming to a head at the moment.

      re: AI, I think a generation nurtured on myriad viewings of Terminator and Matrix films are bound to be scared of the machines taking over :D.

  4. boobsetal says:

    house parties…..?trying to think but i am such a social recluse. how about you just move here? promise to find out all the “happening” places and hang out with the “in” crowd and ‘introduce you to all the people you would not have met otherwise’ #social network style.

    On Giants’ Shoulders was written in 1998.

    I have always said communism is a perfect system; we are just an imperfect people.

    Do YOU have reservations about AI?

  5. bobdigi says:

    re: AI, we’re not far advanced enough for me to give it much serious thought.

    re: the end of science, without having read it, that sounds like a really lame thesis for a book and I hope that’s not what the whole thing is about.

    re: moving, I might do at some point, though I’ll likely still find a way to feel sad and lonely at least 50 – 60% of the time. need to win the lotto so that I can afford a psychiatrist. maybe I’d really benefit from being in analysis. suspect at some point, if put under major stress, I’d be highly susceptible to a complete mental breakdown. do you know if we have any psychiatrists in private practice here? anyway, I’m rambling now.
    re: communism. the frustrating thing for me is that we see free market capitalism and communism as opposite ends of a spectrum within which we’re obliged to exist and none of us seem capable of thinking outside of that box. I graduated with my BEconSc in 2007 and at that point none of my lecturers, aside from in my development classes, would even consider arguments for alternatives to the path we’d been sent down by Friedman/Reagan/Thatcher.

  6. boobsetal says:

    I replied to this but my internet must have chewed it up.

    re: lame thesis–its actually an awesome book. “The fascinating story of science unfolds in this account of the lives and extraordinary discoveries of twelve of its greatest figures – Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Lavoisier, Faraday, Darwin, Poincaré, Curie, Freud, Einstein, Crick and Watson. Exploring their impact and legacy with some of today’s leading scientists and historians, Melvyn Bragg elucidates the core issues of science past and present, and conveys the excitement and importance of the scientific quest”-blurb. Horgan is quoted in the ‘where are we now?’ section of the book.

    oh i see; being depressed is your ‘thing’; your party trick. the mysterious, brooding, young intellectual. i can see how that can be attractive. Go ‘head. Here I was thinking you are depressed cause your life really is shit.
    re:the meeting of the big Cs; what did they say in development class?

  7. Bobdigi says:

    You must not think much of me if you think i’d trivialise mental illness. I’m not quite fucked in the head to the point where i’d consider it ‘cool’. It’s a matter of genuine concern for me. I lost about 6 months because of it a couple of years ago and i don’t want it to happen again. I’ve had close relatives who needed help but lacked the self awareness or the support to deal with it and in one case someone took their own life. Depression isn’t a symptom of a fucked up life. It causes fucked up lives.

    • boobsetal says:

      First and foremost, I would like for you to apologise to the word ‘vehemently’ for doing it a world of injustice.

      RE: You first statement. Is that qualitative or quantitative? ohhh, the use of the ‘of’ seems to suggest qualitative and you know I LOVE you. and since you are not a relative and I don’t ‘have’ to love you for who you are, but I love you because of who you are, it goes to show that my estimation of you is quite high.

      Re: “Depression isn’t a symptom of a fucked up life. It causes fucked up lives.”- but you must ‘think’ something is fucked up for you to be depressed about. Are you just ‘depressed’ and can’t quite put you finger on ‘why’?

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