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Friday, January 11, 2008

Today at the Mindful Hack

Spiritual Brain authors in the media

Intriguing study of consensus - is it really what you think or what your buddies think?

What I say to people who think that the human mind is an illusion

Coffee break! Coffee break! Monkeys and fairness

Does behaviorism work?

The large hadron collider - gateway to other universes?

I'm really hoping to get started on another book soon, with a physicist, on multiverse theory.

Basically, that means - if you accept the multiversers' premises - that there are way more universes than pigeons in the park. And this article, "God's Laboratory," by Toronto science journalist Dan Falk, on the large hadron collider (LHC), which may help us find out, helps explain my impatience:
In the 30 years since proposing the Standard Model, theoretical physicists have forged ahead with ever-more complex theories to explain how the universe works. One such theory – string theory – envisions a universe composed of tiny vibrating strings, along with unseen extra dimensions and perhaps universes beyond our own.

[ ... ]

Finding evidence at the LHC to support extra dimension or supersymmetry theory would herald a revolution in our view of the universe, says Teuscher. “For the first time, we’d have proof that these are not just dreams of ours – that they’re really something solid.” It’s no wonder that the completion of the LHC is one of the most anticipated events in the international physics community. When the LHC comes online next summer, it will mark the high point in the careers of hundreds of scientists. These theorists and experimentalists have been waiting for decades to see what lies beyond the familiar quarks and photons and electrons of the Standard Model. “It will be all unknown,” says Teuscher. "It will be like going to a continent for the first time and exploring a new, uncharted territory."

Assuming we find a publisher, I will start another blog to host stories related to this topic. I start a new blog for each book, so as to seg stories for reader interest. For now, I am suspicious that multiverse theory is primarily intended to try to get around the fact that our universe appears to be intelligently designed - but we will see.

By the way, Dan Falk is author of Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything and soon-to-be author of a book about time (McClelland & Stewart, 2008).


Today at Design of Life: The Avalon explosion: Another intricate, Darwin-busting puzzle

Contrary to popular misconceptions, the history of life shows no steady Darwinian march of progress, and the recent discovery about the Avalon explosion is yet another blow to an idea that is kept alive only by ideology, not evidence (and perhaps because the Darwin bicentennial budgets have already been spent?): Excerpts:
Because the Ediacaran creatures are so little known, the significance of their sudden appearance and disappearance is often overlooked: Many scientists have been hoping to find a smooth, orderly transition from the earliest cyanobacteria to the Cambrian creatures, precisely the sort of transition that Darwin's theory of evolution predicts. But the Ediacarans are not only no help to their theory, they are actually quite a setback. An entire complex fauna came into existence quite suddenly (in terms of geological time), and just as suddenly disappeared. Worse, the Ediacarans are NOT ancestors of the Cambrians.

[ ... ]

There was no road between Avalon and Cambria at all. The most remarkable thing about Avalon life is that it strutted its strange stuff a while and then, as far as we know, just disappeared, as did the trilobite and the dinosaur.

For more go here.

(The gen is that the 600 million year old (and incredible) Avalon life forms did not increase in complexity, as expected. They were complex from the beginning, and then they just disappeared ... Whatever theory explains that will not be Darwin's.)


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