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What is Reality?

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My favorite is from Philip K Dick: "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".

I saw Susskind here in Pasadena a couple of years ago. Should have taken my pic with him.

Parts of this I liked very much. I can't help thinking that a lot of people watch this kind of show and conclude that 'anything goes' because fundamental physics can be so weird. That thought is reinforced very often now when I see charlatans at HuffPo exploiting the weirdness to push stupidity. The BBC's presentation, in trying to picque their viewers interest, sometimes works to worsen that tendency.

The BBC's presentation, in trying to picque their viewers interest, sometimes works to worsen that tendency

hmmm, didn't think of that. on the other hand, you don't hide "the truth", or modern theories about it, just because deepak chopra might use it for his own nefarious ends.

anyway, huffpo was just sold (if i'm not mistaken) to aol. let's see how that goes, and whether it will make the internet a better or worse place. aol's behaviour as a company has been very odd and inconsistant from the beginning- i don't know who's in charge there now but i guess we'll see how it goes. i guess arianna's had enough, and is getting out while the gettings good. :)

there are ways to present the truth. Haven't seen the entire thing yet, but I've seen another doc where Brian Greene also mentions that QM allows for him going through a wall. It is mentioned that it's a very tiny probabilily but the real scale is not conveyed properly by that simple language. I think it is in one of his books that he mentions that if you tried evey second, you'll have to try longer than the age of the universe.

The "going through a wall" crap was particularly grating. Yeah, sure, you might go through a wall, but the probabability is vanishingly small even if you tried it over and over again for the age a billion times the age of the current universe. But hey, I'd like to see you try - get started now, by all means.

The odds of going half way and getting stuck are large enough that I have decided not to try.

You pessimist. The way I see it, let's have a billion people try it, and we'll only have to wait one time the current age of the universe.

AOL is one in a series of modern companies that get into a repidly changing tech field and acted like they were building light bulbs. "We will be here for 100 years." (Blockbuster, Curcuit City to name a few more)

Maybe AOL will improve HuffPo's science reporting for a short time, but overall, I think you will see the world rushing past them as they stand still.

I mean, the AOL Audience is largely older and conservative. Most Obama is a Muslim, Atheist, Kenyan Aliens have an AOL email somewhere. I am sure they See Huffington as a way to combine young and old. But instead I think you will see the content offending the older so much that the content changes and the progressive people get out of dodge.

Could I get more typos into that post, I think not.

see? in spite of my own research/experience, this is something i willingly defer to your call on- i'm sure you know more about it than me, and i wouldn't even think about arguing with your predictions (even though they were brought up by my questions/limited knowledge). why can't it work the other way around re: egypt, israel, etc.?

Because I am guessing on half of that.

so i'm just as dumb as you. yay! except, uh, i'm not just guessing re: my areas of expertise. but thanks for the warning, i'll take you less seriously in the future even if you happen to be talking about something you should know more about than me.

Well, I know AOL is dumb, as I was foolishly a customer once.

I know their audience is conservative, and likely older but haven't seen demographics.

And the rest of that is predictions, which as I am far from an expert I would just qualify as good guesses.

So if you thought that was a well researched Opinion editorial(containing unfinished sentences), you were dumb. If you though it was a comment with some valid, but potentially desputable, points you would have been right on.

And essentially that is how I view many of your comments, you have many valid insights, and knowledge we non jewish, non isreali folks lack, but at the end of the day I think the vast majority of your neighbors belong to a couple of belief sets that probably bias any conversation. Not that rational and detached conversations always get to the truth faster.

That said, you often give opion as if it was fact and then defend it with you historical and on the ground knowledge. The valididty of your expertise is something not worth attacking because really, all the expertise in the world doesn't mean your opinions become fact it just gives them more weight in a discussion.

well, from what i'm hearing you saying, you can't trust ANYONE: a fair and valid opinion imo, and one i respect, but can't live with myself.

thanks for your honesty., which if i were you i wouldn't trust- but i'm not you. lucky for you, probably. :)

I am just saying truth comes out when you balance opinions based on the wieght of the knowledge and emotion behind them.

If you present your opinion as fact you seem uninterested in a pursuit of truth.

if it's my opinion, i say so. if it's a fact (according to my judgement) i say so. at least, i try my best to do these things, which is more than i see most commenters here or anywhere else doing.

Unless you are god. Egypts future can't be a fact.

As far as I can tell 'string theory' is not a 'theory' in the strict sense as defined by scientists. It is not even an/a hypothesis. It is but a proposition..

Supposedly (according to people like Brian Greene and Sean Carroll) it does make predictions, and it is has testable hypotheses in principle, but it's currently bound by technology.

From the criticisms I've seen on string theorists, I think the worst you could say about them is that they're hopeless optimists.

The Trouble With String Theory

Yet the very sorts of elite-institution academics who snigger at creationists for revealing their ignorance of scientific terminology by calling evolution "just a theory" nonetheless uniformly say "string theory." Since what they're talking about is strictly a thought experiment (just try proving there are no other dimensions), from now on, "string conjecture," please.

The Great String Debate

Detractors, including Krauss, contend that after 37 years of effort, string theory has produced no experimental evidence to back it up and no testable hypothesis that could lead to those experiments.

"The point I want to make is it really hasn't lived up to its promise," Krauss said. "It hasn't really explained any of the things that originally we hoped it would explain. It, in fact, has gotten less and less clear as time goes on what the theory even is, and it's less and less clear what the ultimate predictions, if it can make them, are." In particle physics, he added, discoveries come from the interplay between theory and experiment, and "that interplay is missing in string theory. That doesn't mean it's wrong, but it means it's worrisome."

Greene shot back that the theory does make predictions, but testing them is beyond the reach of current technology. "Naturally," he said, "you'd like to make a powerful microscope and look down and say, 'There it is, the string!' But the strings we envision are pretty damned small, about a billion billion times smaller than the distances we can probe with even our most powerful accelerators."

He added that no matter how radical string theory sounds, its proponents are not trying to step outside the scientific method: "We will not believe this theory until it's experimentally tested."

I think what I said is consistent with your second quote/link. On the first one, Smolin is probably the best known string theory critic. Haven't read his book, but I have seen him speak and on debates, and somehow he just strikes me as a bit pessimistic, and a having a bit of sour grapes cause other competing theories took the hit when so many physicists wanted to pursue strings, and also the resources allocated, IIRC.

Greene does talk about specific predictions that string theory makes, but I've never seen Smolin deny them specifically, just making general comments that it's not testable, which of course people like Greene readily admit (on his books, and even on his most recent Colbert guest spot he stressed it a lot), with the caveat that it is in principle, just not currently.

But yeah, I can also see the other side. Talking about multiverses and such things really tests a layman's patience, but still, it's more fun than "goddidit". And, I think, also less unlikely.

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