6 replies on “Paul Davies”

  1. I just read his latest book Cosmic Jackpot. Very mind bending. He explains the various scientific and religious models of how the universe came about, including the latest theories from cosmology and quantum physics. He concludes that life and intelligence must be a fundamental part of the universe which could not exist without people being there to observe it.

  2. Can you go further?
    The laws of the Universe provide the cosmic accidents, in small and in large: and the result is, everything happens what can happen in the endless time “accidentally”.
    In other words, the sure accidents guaranteed by natural law.
    “And the rest is history.”
    What is the meaning of life? From your viewpoint, what you give to it. And this is true from everyone’s viewpoint. The final meaning can be reaching God level – but of course this is not compulsory, just worth.
    (And this is called Life-universalism.)

  3. It is interesting when people who do not knows each other, neither personally nor from their writings, and with different approach, come to the same or similar conclusions in the big questions of life.
    Thank you for mentioning him. Maybe a new relationship… We will see.

  4. So I’ve read the article, not the book. Here’s some thoughts based on that read.

    Despite what he claims, a lot of what he’s talking about still is Philosophy, not Science. Where’s the data, where’s the experiment, where are the falsifiable hypotheses, where is the theory that can predict something?

    Science is able to talk about more and more things as time goes on, but not everything yet. It may be that Science can answer these questions some day, and it’s important that there be people like Paul Davies examining the issues now in order to get Science to that day, but it’s not there yet. (Please excuse the over-personification of “Science”.)

    I wouldn’t quote me on that, though, because I don’t have a satisfactory definition for the difference in scope between Philosophy and Science 🙂

    Some things, though, will always be Philosophy. The idea that an external entity designed our Universe as a computer (like the Matrix), for example. That possibility will always exist; nothing we observe can rule it out. I suppose it may be possible to verify that it’s true, but is not (and never could be) falsifiable. It’s incredibly fascinating from a Philosophical perspective, but really boring from a Scientific one. Why? It doesn’t predict anything; it’s totally useless as a Scientific theory, even if it is an “OMG that totally rocks my world” perspective on things.

    Viewing the universe as a giant information processing system, however (ignoring whether or not some external entity created it and for what possible purpose), is a Scientifically useful perspective. It opens up a lot of questions (and even some answers) about the laws of physics by approaching the subject from an Information Theory perspective. There’s cool research going on about how the laws of physics are intertwined with information theoretic resources and how they limit each other.

    The “Matrix” idea, though, at least in the article, was tangential to his central ideas. I’d bet he either he says something similar to the above critique about it in his book, or it’s just there as attention grabbing fluff.

    His big idea, though, that human observation has been a prime mover in shaping the laws of physics sounds internally inconsistent. To paraphrase:

    This one law of physics (observation in Quantum Mechanics) leads me to conclude that the laws of physics are changed or selected by human observation.

    He’s using a law of physics to argue that the laws of physics are selected by humans. Is that one law of physics somehow special, then? He doesn’t address that (though perhaps he does in his book). Totally interesting idea, though.

    To break my chain of negative sounding thoughts, I find these kinds of ideas really interesting (regardless of whether you label them Philosophy or Science), so I think it’s cool such a smart person is thinking about them.

    Toni, any chance I could get my hands on that book?

  5. About the definition of the genre (because I met with this problem in 2000, what MDAwaffe mentioned).

    That is rather obvious, if somebody considers Paul Davies’ books as pure science, then he or she missed the right category.
    The existing thinking and philosophy of life category approx. these are:
    1.) religion (for e.g. belief in the existence of God and soul, without scientific evidence)
    2.) esotery
    3.) philosophy
    4.) natural philosophy
    5.) fake science (sci-fi sold as reality, like UFOs, free energy, etc. ““ not so hard to make fake, hoax scientific news)
    6.) pure science (as the case of effort for such evidences which are close out any doubts)

    What for e.g. the ancient Greeks did, that is a mix of philosophy (speculation, fond of thinking), and the exact science (as for e.g. mathematics). This category has reason for the existence nowadays too, because otherwise the pure science would progress in very small steps relevantly to its border areas. Because of this, for e.g. the pure science frankly can not tell anything about the existence or non-existence of God, because can not prove none of the case. Then we do not speak about God at all? This is nonsense.
    That is why there is reason for the existence of those speculative hypothesizes which leans on pure science, and think further these, mostly based on the principle of highest possibility. (Or at least I do so.)
    Here is what I wrote in 2000:
    http://mek.oszk.hu/00600/00624/html/#Contents
    Can be a big disappointment that only the Contents in English; but I am sure nowadays nobody will translate into English this hardly understandable material.
    I am thinking a simpler version of this, integrated into Life-universalism.
    (Meanwhile I know “I enrich the science”, politely said.)

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