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  • On Rationality and Delusions - Unreal Blog
    our commonsense So the notion of a nuclear bomb moving or obliterating a mountain is rational although we have never seen it You believe it because it is consistent with your worldview I believe it too trust me I was a nuclear physicist not too long ago And a god or faith moving mountains is clearly ludicrous to our rationality I m not asking people to give equal rational weight to faith and bomb moving mountains I m merely encouraging them to examine why they believe in one and not the other Calling one more rational is just another way of saying that you choose to believe one more than the other Why Thinking along those lines I come to the conclusion that it is only a question of worldviews or belief systems I personally subscribe to your worldview based on rationality as well which is why I consider myself also an atheist although one of my readers thought I was merely confused A god as an old man hiding behind the clouds is not consistent with our worldview But it may have been a metaphor for something else Let me explain We have these abstract concepts of happiness perfection grief etc Are these things real Should we believe they exist Such questions don t make too much sense because these concepts are all in our minds But then what isn t Let s take perfection for instance Let s say we assign some human form to it so that we could explain it to a child or something We then call it say the goddess of perfection or whatever Over generations for whatever reason the notion of perfection disappears from our awareness but the metaphor of the goddess remains Now to somebody who believes in the reality perfection and therefore the existence of the goddess it is not a delusion In that belief system in that context and worldview it makes perfect sense But in the absence of the abstract concept of perfection the goddess becomes a delusion I believe that a large part of our collective wisdom is handed down in the form of such metaphors Instead of dismissing them as delusions because their context is gone we should perhaps try harder to rediscover the lost concepts I also believe such metaphors exist in other fields that seem to work well Take for instance the Qi concept in traditional Chinese medicine the five elements or three body types in Ayurveda and so on To the extent that traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda work there has to be some knowledge buried in those practices If we write off their basis merely because their metaphors are not consistent with our rationality we may be writing off some potential sources of new or forgotten knowledge In addition I believe that some of our smarter geniuses indeed see delusional metaphors in what we take to be supremely real Share this Click to share on Reddit Opens in new window Click to share

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/on-rationality-and-delusions/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Atheism and the Morality of the Godless - Unreal Blog
    at least nothing that stands the test of time A mere two hundred years ago in the West slavery was a moral thing to do If you read Mark Twain s books carefully you will see how Huckleberry Finn grapples with his troubled conscience that he helped a run away slave It is not just a question of it being illegal it was in fact immoral at that time Having traveled and lived all over the world I know that morality is also parochial What is moral in India is human rights violation in America and what is the norm in France is patently immoral in India Although some crimes or sins are committed with the knowledge of their wrongness most are committed with a clear conscience and a firm conviction of their rightness I cannot imagine that the perpetrators of the Final Solution for instance thought it was an immoral and ungodly thing to do and went and did it any way I would think that to their mind they were performing an objectively moral if unpleasant act To some of them at least they were in fact carrying out God s work I think there are other indications that objective and innate morality is a myth Otherwise why would we need the ten commandments to live by Why would there be evil The question of evil is usually raised by atheists as a logical argument against the existence of an omniscient omnipotent and kind God And the response from the believers is roughly the same as in the cosmological argument who are we to presume to fathom God s intentions Listening to Dr Craig in other debates on the origins of morality it seems to me that he is merely presenting the current sense of western morality as something objective and of divine origin It sounds right or objective only to his western audience at this point in time In order to understand truly understand other yardsticks of morality you have be born and brought up in another culture Otherwise one would never be able to see why forcibly liberating a muslim woman from the tyranny of the veil is an action akin to stripping a western woman in public as Arundhati Roy put it I think the only way to understand objective morality is as a genetic phenomenon in the light of evolutionary biology The theist debaters like D Souza poke fun at this view and obfuscate the issue by confusing the hardwired self replication instructions encoded in the genes and their higher level expressions in our intentions aspirations and actions We as human beings do not want to kill all children other than our own in order to propagate our genes But our genes do have the instructions to ensure the its propagation So Sophie s Choice wouldn t have been much of a choice at all if one of the children was not her own 4 Resurrection of Jesus Dr Craig says that some historians

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/atheism-and-the-morality-of-the-godless/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Atheism - Christian God, or Lack Thereof - Unreal Blog
    doesn t it is not a God that meets the requirements of existence It is at best a placeholder for our inability to understand what the cosmologist means when he says space and time don t exist The thing to understand about the logical rational inquiry that is science is that the scientists are comfortable with ignorance A true scientist is the one who readily acknowledges the limits of our collective knowledge In fact he might even go one step further like Newton who said I do not know what I may appear to the world but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me But faith almost by definition needs to explain everything even though the explanation itself is little more than a veiled admission of ignorance So who orchestrated the Big Bang and created the universe God did Why and how Well who are we to presume to fathom God s intentions 2 Teleological Argument The physical constants of our universe are so finely tuned that any slight variation would have precluded intelligent life This implies deliberate fine tuning and an intelligent designer who has be be God This argument to me shows a deliberate perversion of the anthropic principle or a profound misunderstanding of it It is the result of a confusion probably a wilful one between the cause and effect It is true that if some of those constants were slightly off there wouldn t be life or matter as we know it But it is also possible that there would have been other kinds of matter and building material for potentially other kinds of life Then those life forms could have sat around wondering how their universe so was finely tuned for their existence and how that implied intelligent design In other words it is not that the design or the fine tuning is intelligent Intelligence happened Then it figured out that the conditions were right for it to have happened and started wondering they were so right for it to have happened for those conditions were so precise and hence so unlikely to have occurred by accident Let me illustrate the fallacy of this argument with an example Suppose you roll a die a thousand times and get a sequence let s say 3 6 1 5 7 a sequence of 1000 numbers between one and six The probability of getting that particular sequence is one in ten to the power of 778 which is a pretty small number Now does it make sense to say that it was divine intervention or intelligent design that made that particular sequence materialize given that it did materialize and it was so improbable Certainly not and in this case it is easy to see why Life and the fine tuning is

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/atheism-christian-god-or-lack-thereof/ (2016-02-16)
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  • The Big Bang Theory - Part II - Unreal Blog
    necessity of BB arises from the encoding of gravity in space time in GR Despite this encoding of gravity and thereby rendering space time dynamic GR still treats space time as a smooth continuum a flaw according to Ashtekar that QG will rectify Now if we accept that the universe started out with a big bang and from a small region we have to account for quantum effects Space time has to be quantized and the only right way to do it would be through quantum gravity Through QG we expect to avoid the Big Bang singularity of GR the same way QM solved the unbounded ground state energy problem in the hydrogen atom What I described above is what I understand to be the physical arguments behind modern cosmology The rest is a mathematical edifice built on top of this physical or indeed philosophical foundation If you have no strong views on the philosophical foundation or if your views are consistent with it you can accept BB with no difficulty Unfortunately I do have differing views My views revolve around the following questions What is space Why is the speed of light important in it Where does the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle come from These posts may sound like useless philosophical musings but I do have some concrete and in my opinion important results listed below Are GRBs and Radio Sources Luminal Booms An article published in IJMP D which became one of the Top Accessed Articles of the journal Light Travel Time Effects and Cosmological Features Trying to get this one published There is much more work to be done on this front But for the next couple of years with my new book contract and pressures from my quant career I will not have enough time to study GR and cosmology with the seriousness they deserve I hope to get back to them once the current phase of spreading myself too thin passes Share this Click to share on Reddit Opens in new window Click to share on Voat Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on LinkedIn Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window Click to share on Tumblr Opens in new window Click to share on Pinterest Opens in new window Click to email this to a friend Opens in new window Click to print Opens in new window Related Comments Ashtekar big bang theory cosmology paradigm shift Physics quantum gravity relativity spac time space time continuum universe Post navigation Previous Post Chaos and Uncertainty Next Post Terror and Tragedy in Mumbai 2 thoughts on The Big Bang Theory Part II Trent says April 20 2009 at 12 12 pm It s quite rewarding when someone with a solid grounding in science introduces the same problem as a laymen like myself has always had with the Big Bang theory i e that

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/the-big-bang-theory-part-ii/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Ashtekar Archives - Unreal Blog
    shift by encoding gravity into space time thereby making it dynamic in nature rather than empty nothingness Thus mass gets enmeshed in space and time space becomes synonymous with the universe and the spinning body question becomes easy to answer Yes it will experience centrifugal force if it is the universe that is rotating around it because it is equivalent to the body spinning And no it won t if it is in just empty space But empty space doesn t exist In the absence of mass there is no space time geometry So naturally before the Big Bang if there was one there couldn t be any space nor indeed could there be any before Note however that the Ashtekar paper doesn t clearly state why there had to be a big bang The closest it gets is that the necessity of BB arises from the encoding of gravity in space time in GR Despite this encoding of gravity and thereby rendering space time dynamic GR still treats space time as a smooth continuum a flaw according to Ashtekar that QG will rectify Now if we accept that the universe started out with a big bang and from a small region we have to account for quantum effects Space time has to be quantized and the only right way to do it would be through quantum gravity Through QG we expect to avoid the Big Bang singularity of GR the same way QM solved the unbounded ground state energy problem in the hydrogen atom What I described above is what I understand to be the physical arguments behind modern cosmology The rest is a mathematical edifice built on top of this physical or indeed philosophical foundation If you have no strong views on the philosophical foundation or if your

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/tag/ashtekar/ (2016-02-16)
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  • big bang theory Archives - Unreal Blog
    that I don t know it yet May be some of my readers will point it out to me Second what s with dark matter and dark energy The Big Bang cosmology has to stretch itself a bit with the notion of dark energy to account for the large scale dynamics of the observed universe Our universe is expanding or so it appears at an accelerating rate which can only be accounted for by assuming that there is an invisible energy pushing the galaxies apart Within the galaxies themselves stars are moving around as though there is more mass than we can see This is the so called dark matter Although dark signifies invisible to me it sounds as though we are in the dark about what these beasts are The third trouble I have is the fact that the Big Bang cosmology violates special relativity SR This little concern of mine has been answered in many different ways One answer is that general relativity trumps SR if there are conflicting predictions or directives from these two theories I was advised to always trust GR Besides SR applies only to local motion like spaceships whizzing past each other Non local events do not have to obey SR This makes me wonder how events know whether they are local or not Well that was bit tongue in cheek I can kind of buy this argument based on curvature of space time perhaps becoming significant at large distances although the non scientific nature of local ness makes me uneasy During the inflationary phase in the Big Bang theory were things local or non local Third answer In the case of the Big Bang the space itself is expanding hence no violation of SR SR applies to motion through space Wonder if I could ve used that line when I got pulled over on I 81 Officer I wasn t speeding Just that the space in between was expanding a little too fast Speaking of space expanding it is supposed to be expanding only in between galaxies not within them apparently I m sure there is a perfectly logical explanation why probably related to the proximity of masses or whatnot but I m not well versed enough to understand it In physics disagreement and skepticism are always due to ignorance But it is true that I have no idea what they mean when they say the space itself is expanding If I stood in a region where the space was expanding would I become bigger and would galaxies look smaller to me Note that it is necessary for space to expand only between galaxies If it expanded everywhere from subatomic to galactic scales it would look as though nothing changed Hardly satisfying because the distant galaxies do look as though they are flying off at great speeds I guess the real question is what exactly is the difference between space expanding between two galaxies and the two galaxies merely moving away from each other One concept that I find bizarre is that singularity doesn t necessarily mean single point in space It was pointed out to me that the Big Bang could have been a spread out affair thinking otherwise was merely my misconception because I got confused by the similarity between the words singularity and single People present the Big Bang theory in physics pretty much like Evolution in biology implying the same level of infallibility But I feel that it is disingenuous to do that To me it looks as though the theory is so full of patchwork such a mathematical collage to cook up something that is consistent with GR that it is hard to imagine that it corresponds to anything real ignoring for the moment my favorite question what is real But popular writers have embraced it For instance Ray Kurzweil and Richard Dawkins put it as a matter of fact in their books lending it a credence that it perhaps doesn t merit big bang theory black hole galaxy little universe Physics relativity singularity concept Steven Weinberg Debates Physics SFN Science Forums Universe Size and Age March 26 2007 manoj 1 Comment I posted this question that was bothering me when I read that they found a galaxy at about 13 billion light years away My understanding of that statement is At distance of 13 billion light years there was a galaxy 13 billion years ago so that we can see the light from it now Wouldn t that mean that the universe is at least 26 billion years old It must have taken the galaxy about 13 billion years to reach where it appears to be and the light from it must take another 13 billion years to reach us In answering my question Martin and Swansont who I assume are academic phycisists point out my misconceptions and essentially ask me to learn more All shall be answered when I m assimilated it would appear This debate is published as a prelude to my post on the Big Bang theory coming up in a day or two Mowgli 03 26 2007 10 14 PM Universe Size and Age I was reading a post in http www space com stating that they found a galaxy at about 13 billion light years away I am trying to figure out what that statement means To me it means that 13 billion years ago this galaxy was where we see it now Isn t that what 13b LY away means If so wouldn t that mean that the universe has to be at least 26 billion years old I mean the whole universe started from one singular point how could this galaxy be where it was 13 billion years ago unless it had at least 13 billion years to get there Ignoring the inflationary phase for the moment I have heard people explain that the space itself is expanding What the heck does that mean Isn t it just a fancier

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/tag/big-bang-theory/ (2016-02-16)
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  • paradigm shift Archives - Unreal Blog
    shift by encoding gravity into space time thereby making it dynamic in nature rather than empty nothingness Thus mass gets enmeshed in space and time space becomes synonymous with the universe and the spinning body question becomes easy to answer Yes it will experience centrifugal force if it is the universe that is rotating around it because it is equivalent to the body spinning And no it won t if it is in just empty space But empty space doesn t exist In the absence of mass there is no space time geometry So naturally before the Big Bang if there was one there couldn t be any space nor indeed could there be any before Note however that the Ashtekar paper doesn t clearly state why there had to be a big bang The closest it gets is that the necessity of BB arises from the encoding of gravity in space time in GR Despite this encoding of gravity and thereby rendering space time dynamic GR still treats space time as a smooth continuum a flaw according to Ashtekar that QG will rectify Now if we accept that the universe started out with a big bang and from a small region we have to account for quantum effects Space time has to be quantized and the only right way to do it would be through quantum gravity Through QG we expect to avoid the Big Bang singularity of GR the same way QM solved the unbounded ground state energy problem in the hydrogen atom What I described above is what I understand to be the physical arguments behind modern cosmology The rest is a mathematical edifice built on top of this physical or indeed philosophical foundation If you have no strong views on the philosophical foundation or if your

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/tag/paradigm-shift/ (2016-02-16)
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  • spac-time Archives - Unreal Blog
    dying dream there is something else that is a bit weird I mean one would normally say If I died now I would die a happy man or something to that effect Why would time die Is it my secret conviction that when one dies one s time also dies That there is no common universal time but only our own individual personal times Perhaps I m not talking about Newton s universal times vs Einstein s relative time There is something philosophical here that is just beyond my grasp Like a name at the tip of your tongue These are deep waters and I really need to learn more Back to school some day The fanciest of my dreams I was James Bond once Complete with a bicycle that turned into a wooden canoe when I hit the local beach Philosophy spac time Debates Philosophy Physics SFN Science Forums The Big Bang Theory Part II November 20 2008 manoj 2 Comments After reading a paper by Ashtekar on quantum gravity and thinking about it I realized what my trouble with the Big Bang theory was It is more on the fundamental assumptions than the details I thought I would summarize my thoughts here more for my own benefit than anybody else s Classical theories including SR and QM treat space as continuous nothingness hence the term space time continuum In this view objects exist in continuous space and interact with each other in continuous time Although this notion of space time continuum is intuitively appealing it is at best incomplete Consider for instance a spinning body in empty space It is expected to experience centrifugal force Now imagine that the body is stationary and the whole space is rotating around it Will it experience any centrifugal force It is hard to see why there would be any centrifugal force if space is empty nothingness GR introduced a paradigm shift by encoding gravity into space time thereby making it dynamic in nature rather than empty nothingness Thus mass gets enmeshed in space and time space becomes synonymous with the universe and the spinning body question becomes easy to answer Yes it will experience centrifugal force if it is the universe that is rotating around it because it is equivalent to the body spinning And no it won t if it is in just empty space But empty space doesn t exist In the absence of mass there is no space time geometry So naturally before the Big Bang if there was one there couldn t be any space nor indeed could there be any before Note however that the Ashtekar paper doesn t clearly state why there had to be a big bang The closest it gets is that the necessity of BB arises from the encoding of gravity in space time in GR Despite this encoding of gravity and thereby rendering space time dynamic GR still treats space time as a smooth continuum a flaw according to Ashtekar that

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/tag/spac-time/ (2016-02-16)
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