Physicist Discovers Computer Code Embedded Within the Equations of String Theory

In an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, physicist James Gates describes a digitally-encoded error checking algorithm embedded within the fundamental equations of String Theory:

Gates’s ideas are laid out in more depth in a 2010 article for Physics World. He believes that these theoretical findings, if validated, may be evidence that we live in a simulation. However, if there are algorithms encoded in the fabric of reality, is it not also possible that they might have emerged as a result of some natural selective process–a kind of cosmic DNA, if you will?

71 Comments on "Physicist Discovers Computer Code Embedded Within the Equations of String Theory"

  1. doodahman | May 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm |

    “Gates’s ideas are laid out in more depth in a 2010 article for Physics World. He believes that these theoretical findings, if validated, may be evidence that we live in a simulation. However, if there are algorithms encoded in the fabric of reality, is it not also possible that they might have emerged as a result of some natural selective process–a kind of cosmic DNA, if you will?’
    Uh huh. A simulation by and for whom? People of faith call it “God.” Say it! It’s not hard. One syllable, which is four less than the other euphemism used, “singularity.” Some folks make it two syllables (Gaw-awd) but let’s leave them out of it for a mo. Just seems to me that the more quantum physics advances, the more it seems to be just creating alternative descriptions (mathematically based) for what the Ancients knew long ago and expressed in allegorical terms.

    • mannyfurious | May 30, 2013 at 6:39 pm |

      The problem–and the reason why some people won’t say it– is that people get hung up in the details and can’t see the big picture. Do you know how many arguments, both on the internet and in real life, I’ve seen devolve into gibberish because one side wants to split the proverbial pubic hair and talk about “No, no, no. ‘God’ by it’s very definition is an anthropomorphic being that lives in the sky and passes judgment on humans based on their actions, yada, yada, yada, fuck me I’m a retard.” There is so much baggage that comes with that word that fundamentalist atheist cannot bring themselves to get past it and look at what some of us are truly trying to say.

      Brad Warner recently posted a video on his website about neo-atheism, and the comments section devolved into a bunch of people measuring their atheistic dicks by being stuck on how Brad Warner was using the word “God.” They completely missed the entire point of the video because they couldn’t get past that one word. And the thing is, there might be plenty of legitimate criticisms of what he was trying to get across, but I’ll never hear them because people just go completely fucking bonkers whenever that word is used.

      Look at Evolution. To me, I see evolution as evidence of some kind of order/consciousness/energy/impulse/intelligence. But according to the discussion at large, I either believe in evolution or I believe in “God.” And if I believe in both it’s because I don’t understand evolution. It’s fucking stupid and maddening.

      • as an agnostic would say, ‘so who cares?

        • mannyfurious | May 31, 2013 at 11:19 am |

          Well, actually, if I were forced to choose, I’d consider myself an “agnostic.” And if you don’t care, that’s cool, but I care because there are staggering ramifications whether there is a “God” or an “intelligence” of some sort throughout the universe or not.

      • don’t worry, you are not the only one who sees it that way. the louder and more obnoxious are just that, loud, obnoxious, and baseless.

    • If this is what god looks like, then it might be more accurate to say that “science is showing how profoundly wrong the ancients were about the nature of the divine.”

    • BuzzCoastin | May 31, 2013 at 11:35 pm |

      since math is an abstraction of the Universe
      and since it’s formulas are derived from modeling that abstraction
      it doesn’t strike me as odd
      that they would find the very thing they are using (math)
      appearing in their mathematical abstractions

      kinda like seeing a reflection in a mirror or a pool of water

  2. Ted Heistman | May 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm |

    I read this in the secret Bible codes. Its all right there in Leviticus, right next to the part about Elvis and the Kennedy assassination!

  3. anothercontrarian | May 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm |

    Unless this article arrived via some bizarre timey-wimey Doctor Who style anomaly, some attempt to check it should have occurred in the intervening three years. I guess the idea being debunked doesn’t make a good story.

    • Isn’t string theory all purely theoretical anyway? If it is I don’t think this particular aspect of that theory could just be debunked outright in the same way that the idea of a non-expanding universe was. Have you read something elsewhere about Gates’ theory being debunked by other theoretical physicists?

  4. InfvoCuernos | May 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm |

    The more I look into this theory, the more I like it. It explains so much(sasquatch!). This isn’t a new concept, but one that mirrors the idea that all life is a dream and that nothing is real. But its real to us, for all that’s worth. As for who wrote the original code, I’m pretty sure that if they wanted us to know, we would know for sure, without all this conflict and contradiction that accompanies all religion. Maybe they didn’t want to skew the experiment by showing their hand. I don’t feel any urgency to see the end of my life just to answer that question.

    • Adam's Shadow | May 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm |

      The Simulation Hypothesis: “it’s all just a dream,” but with numbers. Lots and lots of numbers.

    • So every time we see sasquatch the creator’s kid is jacking around with the program again?

  5. Simon Valentine | May 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm |

    my future self’s method of com with my now self has been discovered

    it shall begin assimilating now
    never thought i’d get to see this happen

  6. Simon Valentine | May 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm |

    people trying to slice of a piece of waste as a habitual ritual
    or worse
    their inwardly self-conscious about recycling problems
    and that manifests as:

    {from the main clip}
    “[this particular systemic] error correction is absolutely necessary”

    or {from the text box during the closing clip}
    “the [human] mind is not [basicinformation]”

    or worse
    the previous as a lie that goes hand-in-hand with a retort such as “no, i said i disagree with his words, not that i have that semantic structure” … yet there it is … the equivalent “CODE”. thus contradictionhypocrisy. duh. dipshit. “man” lol. pathetic circus monkey robot.

    how about “the fear of being possessed – an irrelevant stigma and an error correction code that is itself an error – drives people (willing or not, aware or not, human or not, blah) to say things like “minds are not information processing in a computer” without questions like “are minds information?” or “are minds [information processing]?” or “is the solution already theredo i have absolutely nothing [to do]?”. the second question obviates that which has been said before, certainly: “you’re an arrogant obstinate human with nothing to say who got sold into a slavery-mastery rank system and can’t kick the habit of kicking people while blaming that as if a niche upon solely one pseudo clique e.g. cocaine [adjective removed]”

    embedding was the only key term in this

    other than that

    ask Mufasa where Scar is

  7. BuzzCoastin | May 30, 2013 at 8:14 pm |

    since it’s inception
    mathematics has stupefied most humans
    it strikes most mathematics as odd
    that mathematics can be used to model the universe
    it never occurs to most mathematicians that
    mathematics is a simulation too

    the map is not the territory

    • Simon Valentine | May 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm |

      hahahaha oh buzz
      subversive as evar ;|

      read in order what appears to be bottom to top
      one could parse so much
      and wonder if the false dichotomy
      that some seek to wield personally
      only to be called out as or as-if corrupt
      is something between cultures, languages, or say-sos
      between each bit
      each bit
      as each bit
      as something else
      at some point

      sentence, paragraph, book, empire

      motherload fractals

    • mannyfurious | May 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

      Science and math are omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. Math and science are altruistic. The problem with the world is that we don’t have enough technology.

      You know, the same nonsense we hear from fundamentalists of any religion.

      • BuzzCoastin | May 31, 2013 at 7:41 pm |

        science & math
        have caused more destruction & pain than religion
        in fact, they are religions in many aspects
        only their voodoo is based upon numbers

        don’t get me wrong
        there are practical applications for math & science
        as there are for religion
        but I don’t believe in science or math or religion
        but occasionally I use them as tools

        • The Well Dressed Man | May 31, 2013 at 10:01 pm |

          BC, you’re using tools developed by math and science for every post! If we could somehow quantify the death and destruction wrought by science/math vs. religion, and somehow religion was judged to be less harmful, then I think factoring in a similar evaluation of the good derived from the aforebementioned categories would result in a net win for science/math.

          • BuzzCoastin | May 31, 2013 at 10:22 pm |

            the atomic bomb & WMD , science & math
            organized genocide, science & religion
            GMO foods & modern agro-culture, science & math
            fossil fuels, science
            fracking, science
            the electrification of humanity, science
            destruction of the water, soil plant exchange cycle, science
            environmental destruction for profit, science, math & religion
            forced sterilization, science & religion
            Chernobyl, Fukashima, 3 Mile Island et al., science

          • The Well Dressed Man | May 31, 2013 at 11:06 pm |

            Aqueduct, Bridge, Caffeine, Duct Tape, =, Film, Greenhouse, Hydroelectric, Insulation, Joule, Kelvin, LCD, Meter, ln, Optics, a^2+b^2=c^2, Quadratic Formula, Radio, Solar, Transistor, Uncertainty, Voltage, Watt, X-Ray, Ytterbium, Zero.

          • BuzzCoastin | May 31, 2013 at 11:22 pm |

            science has it’s services
            but it’s typical to overlook it’s equally distributed disservices
            and none of those scientific inventions you list
            offsets the enormous list of disservices created by science
            like Chernobyl or Fukashima

            I can live without
            Aqueduct, Bridge, Caffeine, Duct Tape, =, Film, Greenhouse, Hydroelectric, Insulation, Joule, Kelvin, LCD, Meter, ln, Optics, a^2+b^2=c^2, Quadratic Formula, Radio, Solar, Transistor, Uncertainty, Voltage, Watt, X-Ray, Ytterbium, Zero
            I can’t live with radioactive GMO food & poisoned water
            caffeine is natures invention, science poisoned it

          • What?! As the saying goes guns don’t kill people, people kill people. You are saying science is bad but science is the discovery of how and why nature works, it is people using that knowledge for bad not the science that is bad

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 2, 2013 at 6:09 am |

            no, I didn’t say that, you did
            so let’s define “science”
            it is
            the capitalistic industrial exploitation of knowledge
            solely for monetary profit
            whereas what you call science is empirical observation

            modern science will be the death of humanity
            it’s not a question of how
            but only when?

          • You implied that science is bad when you said “science & math have caused more destruction & pain” and then you go and re-affirm it with “modern science will be the death of humanity”! That is not implying science is bad?

            Your statement that science is “the capitalistic industrial exploitation of knowledge solely for monetary profit” is bullshit, where does the knowledge come from? You are describing the use of knowledge gained from science.

            Stop using the things developed from scientific knowledge and go live in a cave

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm |

            blah, blah blah
            science is good & I’m an idiot
            these are your points?
            no wonder aMerka is so F’ed up

          • aMerKa? Are you referring to the United States of America? If so, you might be right. Modern civilisation is a result of science, if you think science is bad then go live in a cave and stop trolling

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 4, 2013 at 1:31 am |

            ja wohl, mein Homelander Fuhrer

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 2, 2013 at 9:05 pm |

            I’m glad we’re defining terms now. I don’t see your science as a science, BC. “Capitalistic exploitation of knowledge” is a moral critique of a rapacious economic system. I feel the same way about kleptocracy. As a student of the physical sciences, my feelings toward the “softer sciences” such as economics are a bit skeptical. Every source I check defines science along the lines of:

            “a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.”

            -wikipedia cites Wilson, Edward O. (1998). Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1st ed.). New York, NY: Vintage Books. pp. 49–71. ISBN 0-679-45077-7.

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm |

            a turd by any other name would still stink like shit
            why should the definition of its proponents be more valid?
            it’s like calling Der Homeland, the land of the free
            so what? it’s not

            “science” has nothing to be proud of
            it’s destructive acts far outweigh religion’s
            and it’s successes have befuddled and enslaved humans
            science is the underpinning of the kleptocracy
            it’s tools have been used to rob you blind
            and it seems
            made you enjoy the robbery

            > As a student of the physical sciences
            maybe you have noticed that
            over time your science has flip-flopped
            once it was a flat earth, now round
            once earth was the center of the universe, now on the margin
            once there was ether, now there’s a vacuum
            once the atom was a mini-solar system, now it’s a smudge
            the only thing consistent about “science”
            is it’s dehumanizing effects

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm |

            BC, every dictionary and encyclopedia seems to back up my position. it’s the bizzaro world definition of science you’re espousing that got me posting here on Disinfo in the first place. My comments on rootforce’s hit piece on Wind Energy cover this in great detail. Just because a lot of cynical oligarchs, fascists, and assorted ner-do-wells use applied science to screw us over, doesn’t mean that a moral judgement on science is deserved.

            And your description of our evolving scientific world view is a good demonstration of our progress toward greater understanding. How are we dehumanized by smudges or heliocentrism? I’m very confident that our present understanding of space time will seem strange and limited to our descendants.

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 2, 2013 at 10:24 pm |

            “I have heard from my teacher that those who have cunning implements are cunning in their dealings, and that those who are cunning in their dealings have cunning in their hearts, and that those who have cunning in their hearts cannot be pure and incorrupt, and that those who are not pure and incorrupt are restless in spirit, and that those who are restless in spirit are not fit vehicles for Tao. It is not that I do not know of these things. I should be ashamed to use them.”

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm |

            Wasn’t it this sort of conservative sentiment that removed China from world affairs for centuries?

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 3, 2013 at 1:24 am |

            science is a word that has the power to deify an idea
            no matter how ludicrous or ill formed the idea

            the history of “science” shows that
            what passes for science is often merely fad
            and observed facts are misinterpreted & misunderstood
            quantum mechanics is not “right”
            it’s merely the best guess about a set of observations
            so badly misunderstood
            that it has accidently devastated Japan several times

            with everything wee call science
            using every tool at our disposal
            wee catch a glimpse of about 5% of what is known as
            The Universe
            and yet
            wee believe wee actually know something about IT

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 3, 2013 at 2:15 am |

            BC, It’s amazing to me how our interpretations of this one word are symmetric, and yet completely opposite. I agree with your every word, with the exception of “science.”My understanding of science, is that it is the path of trial and error leading us closer to the truth. Alchemists had all sorts of notions of what the elements were. Despite all their wrongheaded mumbo jumbo, their experiments led toward our eventual system of the periodic table and quantum mechanics. Are we right? Maybe, maybe in part. To me the whole point of science is to realize that we perceive such an infinitesimal fraction of space time, but based on the available data, we make guesses, test them, and then make better guesses. It’s amazing how much we can deduce. Ever studied astronomy or chemistry? There’s so much to know about stuff we literally can’t see. It’s still guesswork, and anybody who tells you that they know the truth with 100% certainty is a fool, not a scientist.
            The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is one of the darkest chapters of our history. We Yanks try to frame it as a necessary evil, but I have doubts.
            Fukushima is one of those awful engineering blunders. Who the fuck builds a goddamn nuclear reactor in a Tsunami zone?
            Both were bad decisions, not accidents. Nuclear fission is a motherfucker. What did Oppenheimer say at the test site? Some scary quote from the Bhagavad Gita.
            Unless we get our act together with sustainable, large scale infrastructure, guess what? Our hand will be forced by petroleum shortages to double down on nukes.
            This is exactly why I’m back in school. We have a couple decades maybe to possibly rescue our civilization. Our chances might be slim, but as a humanist and a modernist, I believe it’s worth a try.

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 3, 2013 at 4:17 am |

            it’s not merely a semantic difference
            I suggesting you’ve bought into an idealized view of “science”
            Einstein said
            our science is crude & childlike
            but the the most precious thing we have
            crude & childlike is an empirical fact
            precious is a non-scientific value judgement
            wee would do well to acknowledge the facts
            and a little more humble & cautious in our pursuits

            > Who the fuck builds a goddamn nuclear reactor in a Tsunami zone?
            guys who paid scientists to tell everybody it was safe

            Oppie was quoting the Vedas
            there have been many civilizations more advanced the ours
            much more technologically advanced
            we know nothing about them
            we can only look in awe at some of their detritus

            the Pyramids & Machu Picchu
            are way beyond our technological & financial reach
            no civilization has built structures that have lasted that long
            wee don’t know how

            but our scientifically packaged archo-historology
            says wee are the pinnacle of evolution
            and our science the most advanced ever
            as wee dig our grave deeper & deeper with science

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 3, 2013 at 5:54 am |

            Maybe we’re further apart than just semantics.
            Beyond being bullish on the scientific method, I’m studying to be an engineer. This means that I’m pretty invested in the idea of applying our tool building nature to problem solving. I haven’t always felt this way, and it’s been a long path to a pro-tech world view from my technophobic youth. My conclusion is that the only way out of the current mess is through. To me that means wisely retooling for sustainability while there’s still time.

            It seems to me that some sort of civil engineers applied technology to create the megalithic structures of the ancients. A great deal of speculation as to the nature of this tech is ongoing.

            I’m fascinated by the possibility of past civilizations developing advanced tech, and feel that a great deal of our past has been lost. However, your assertion that many advanced civilizations that were much more technologically advanced preceded ours is lacking any qualification beyond noted megaliths. Currently the most interesting artefact I’m aware of is the antikythera mechanism, which suggests that a mechanical computer had been engineered by Classical Greece, which is the sort of tech Enlightenment Era Europe developed.

            Is there more evidence you wish to present for prehistoric tech, or would that be too scientific?

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 3, 2013 at 6:04 am |

            civil engineers are the most uncivil endangers of society
            fucking fracking enablers

            they design their projects in vacuums
            that ignore large swaths of environment

            right after industrial farmers
            civil engineers are the next biggest rapist of the environment
            seems like they never heard of landscape hydrology
            except on how to piss water down the drain

            you wanna do some good
            start looking into trompe technology
            there hasn’t been a decent engineering text on it in a 100 years
            “Hydraulic engineering:a treatise on the properties, power and resources of water for all purposes”
            Hiscox, Gardner Dexter

            most of the texts have been discarded and “burned”
            do some work on that

            I knew I had you pegged

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 3, 2013 at 6:15 am |

            MIT? I wish. Undergrad at community college, will transfer to a State school. Decided against civil because I don’t want to build parking lots and freeways. Environmental is too light on engineering fundamentals, maybe postgrad. Chose mechanical as the most broad based undergrad. Thanks for the suggestion. It’s early in my studies, but I have an intuition that a great deal of practical work in areas like fluid dynamics and heat exchange has been neglected.
            Let me know if you have more to add on lost tech, I really am curious.

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 3, 2013 at 6:24 am |

            at least your not at MIT
            there’s hope

            civil engineers and industrial farmers are
            profligately wasting water resources
            literally pissing them away

            you don’t have to be an engineer to fix this
            but you need an engineer to make it legal
            plus water is now more valuable than oil
            so knowing how to harvest & sequester water
            in an Eco-friendly manner
            in likely the most valuable skill one could have
            during the next 50 years

            you should probably take a Permaculture design course
            at the very least read Mollison’s Permaculture Design Manual
            to help filter the info you receive at school

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 3, 2013 at 6:31 am |

            Was just discussing issue with soil scientist. He could make a killing signing off on this sort of waste if less moral. H2O is serious business. Are you in China? Working in related industry? I understand that pollution in Bejing is apocalyptic right now.

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 3, 2013 at 6:33 am |

            China’s fucked
            they’re gonna party till the end
            they really don’t know what else to do
            I’ve been watching them piss away resources faster than Americans
            but they’ve had a lot more practice
            and a lot fewer recovery options

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 3, 2013 at 6:24 am |
          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 3, 2013 at 6:31 am |

            but search some more
            and you discover that this is the only remaining shred
            of the science of trompe technology
            used for thousands of years before fossil fuels arrived

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 3, 2013 at 7:09 am |

            there is more on the Catalan Forge
            and that was derived from the Moors
            who had a highly developed water systems
            that used trompe technology
            and also knew how to harvest & sequester water effectivey

            Paris & London were using trompe & bio-methane power
            before fossil fuels took over

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 3, 2013 at 10:37 am |

            The Islamic Golden Age was another technological peak that seems to have been halted by conservatism.

            We’re talking science now, yes?

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm |

            the reason the Arabs had to develop the trompe technology
            was due to the Sahara Desert
            also created by a “science” of agro-culture
            both were scientific

            I’m not anti-science, but I’m not pro-science either
            “science” has done great harm to humanity & the earth
            it’s done some good too
            but by my estimation
            given the speed & complexity of the changes wrought by “science”
            it will takes centuries to value as “good or bad”
            if wee survive it

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 2, 2013 at 10:21 pm |

            Gardener Watering a Ditch

            When Tzu Kung went south to the Ch’u State on his way back to the Chin State, he passed through Han-yin. There he saw an old man engaged in making a ditch to connect his vegetable garden with a well. He had a pitcher in his hand, with which he was bringing up water and pouring it into the ditch,— great labor with very little result.

            “If you had a machine here,” cried Tzu Kung, “in a day you could irrigate a hundred times your present area. The labor required is trifling as compared with the work done. Would you not like to have one?”

            “What is it?” asked the gardener.

            “It is a contrivance made of wood,” replied Tzu Kung, “heavy behind and light in front. It draws up water as you do with your hands, but in a constantly overflowing stream. It is called a well-sweep.”

            Thereupon the gardener flushed up and said, “I have heard from my teacher that those who have cunning implements are cunning in their dealings, and that those who are cunning in their dealings have cunning in their hearts, and that those who have cunning in their hearts cannot be pure and incorrupt, and that those who are not pure and incorrupt are restless in spirit, and that those who are restless in spirit are not fit vehicles for Tao. It is not that I do not know of these things. I should be ashamed to use them.”

            At this Tzu Kung was much abashed, and said nothing. Then the gardener asked him who he was, to which Tzu Kung replied that he was a disciple of Confucius.

            “Are you not one who extends his learning with a view to being a Sage; who talks big in order to put himself above the rest of mankind; who plays in a key to which no one can sing so as to spread his reputation abroad? Rather become unconscious of self and shake off the trammels of the flesh,— and you will be near. But if you cannot govern your own self, what leisure have you for governing the empire? Be gone! Do not interrupt my work.”
            莊子 – Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu) 天地 – Heaven and Earth

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 2, 2013 at 10:31 pm |

            Wasn’t it exactly this sort of conservative sentiment that removed China from world affairs for centuries?

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 2, 2013 at 10:39 pm |

            no, it was Confucian ideas that destroyed Chinese culture
            China was far ahead of the West technologically by 1300 CE
            Europe was a poor, distant place they rarely visited
            China had the world’s largest Navy, with the largest ships
            it had already mapped the entire world
            they had powerful weapon systems too
            but all this began to degrade around 1400CE
            after centuries of “scientific” advances
            they began a downward spiral that they have yet to recover from

            the modernization of China
            is ultimately going to destroy what’s left of Chinese culture

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm |

            Exactly. I understand that you’re quoting a Taoist, not a Confucian. But don’t both schools of thought often carry similar conservative attitudes toward technology? Wasn’t this attitude the cause of China’s decline from the peak you describe?

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 2, 2013 at 10:51 pm |

            Confucianism is aimed at preserving Chinese culture
            through ritual and ethical standards
            it’s primarily concerned with family and kingdom

            Laotzu is mostly likely from a proto-Chinese culture
            The Laotzu focuses on Tao
            it’s less precise
            the name that can be named is not the eternal name

            the story I used is included with Zhuangzi’s writings
            but it is not exactly Taoist nor considered his writing
            but I like the point being made
            a Taoist position would be
            use it or don’t use it
            but be aware of its effects regardless

        • mannyfurious | Jun 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm |

          I agree wholeheartedly. People have a tendency to blame religion for a lot of things, but the fact of the matter is that humans would fight over any issue. If it weren’t religion, the “Crusades” still would’ve happened, only under a different guise. As would the Inquisition and every other form of religious persecution. In the past, religion only happened to provide the most convenient reason for doing these things.

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm |

            yeah, people are ultimately responsible
            but they have been made insane by their adherence to ideas

      • The Well Dressed Man | May 31, 2013 at 10:07 pm |

        What real scientist or mathematician is making such a claim? The scientific method is the process of endlessly testing and evaluating hypotheses. It’s a path toward truth, not the truth itself. As BC reminds us above, the map is not the territory.

        • mannyfurious | Jun 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm |

          They don’t say those exact words. But the general sentiment is that Science is our salvation. Science is honest and good and true, while everything else is evil. Science isn’t evil. It’s everything else that turns science evil.

          I actually agree with your take (i.e. “a path toward truth, not truth itself”) although I don’t think many other scientists feel similarly.

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 3, 2013 at 10:18 pm |

            Since we’re discussing the scientific method, please provide some evidence to support your theory! I’m not aware of genuine scientists behaving in this way. If I’m wrong, I’d like to know.

          • mannyfurious | Jun 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm |

            If you’re not aware, it’s because you’re either not paying attention or you’re in denial. And in such a case, no amount of evidence is going to convince you otherwise. You’re set in a series of beliefs that you find comfortable, but I’m not about to get into a prolonged debate with someone who has no interest in keeping an open mind.

            The entirety of “Neo-atheist” literature is like 90-percent scientists. Dawkins, Harris, Stegner and Dennett are all scientists. Does that fact escape your grasp? Hawking wrote what amounted to a terrible philosophy book not too long ago about how science has replaced philosophy in the search for truth.

            Perhaps it would be much more productive to find evidence which supports your claims.

          • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm |

            Good answer. I actually do fall on the side of “not paying attention” as far as “New Atheism”

            I haven’t read these authors, and so can’t comment on the level of scientific rigor they apply to their arguments. However, there is an element of blind acceptance in the “New Atheist” community at large that I find disturbing and unscientific.

            There’s a difference between saying “Belief in God is unscientific,” and “Belief in the absence of God is scientific.” By my personal definition, the former is logical, and the latter is merely an inverse theism.

            The more I study the physical sciences, the more I’m shocked by the level of organization in matter, and this leads me to reconsider the possibility of “higher power,” whatever that might come to mean.

          • mannyfurious | Jun 4, 2013 at 11:43 pm |

            I agree with your last paragraph. I’m not as well-versed in the sciences as I should be, but the more I do learn, the more I see evidence for an “intelligence” (for lack of a better word) permeating the universe. Whereas people like Dawkins look at it and see something approaching random accidents or chaos.

    • The Well Dressed Man | May 31, 2013 at 7:55 pm |

      Which is the map, and which the territory? Using words to argue that math is an abstraction is like trying to write a poem with trig functions and polar coordinates.

  8. Fiona Mackenzie | May 30, 2013 at 9:42 pm |

    We live in a simulation? Get this guy an antipsychotic. If he were a mathematician, he would understand that, gee, math is like that–if it weren’t internally consistent, it wouldn’t be math.

  9. and what isn’t possible?

  10. Scott Preavy | May 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm |

    Anyone else notice how much the superstring theoretical model shown looks like the tree of life diagram in Kabbalastic teaching? Just thought it was an interesting modern day analogue if nothing else…

  11. Scott Preavy | May 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm |

    also seriously could have done without the ominous Orwellian background music… they’re just theories.

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