Thursday, 15 April 2010


I was watching one of reruns of the BBC's "science" shows the other night, Horizon; I think it was entitled "Parallel Worlds" or something similar. They were discussing String Theory and how this appeared to supersede Super Gravity Theory and how the former postulated ten dimensions (including time) and the latter, eleven; then, they found, they could combine the two theories to form M-Theory and found that, by including the eleventh dimension, this dimension could contain Branes (kind of membranes) - vastly complex topological structures - which, when they collide, in a "Big Bang", could give rise to enclosed universes such as our own. There could be an infinite number of these enclosed worlds, some similar to ours (populated by creatures like ourselves acting out conterfactual scenarios); others with vastly different physical laws. Different physical laws? I thought to myself. But isn't the idea of physics that it's universally applicable? This M-Theory has no empirical verification. The best you can say of it is that it forms a model which we can loosely superimpose on "our" enclosed universe in a complex, multidimensional, game of snap. Another so-called merit of this theory is its internal consistency or "elegance". But again, "universal" is a term that encompasses everything; universal: every-where-thing. (Does the set of everything include itself?) So the idea of an "enclosed universe" is inconsistent, more appropriately, it is only a partially enclosed (in certain "physical" respects) region of the universe . What I am obliquely getting at here is: what kind of "universal", "no exception", physics is it that makes these wild claims which encompasses possible worlds with deviant laws? Wait! Isn't calling these "deviant" laws a little bit like supposing - viewing - our region of the universe as being central? A little bit like supposing everything revolves around the sun? Let's just think about that and the mind-body debate. Dualism is the opposition to the idea that you can reduce mental life (in terms of explaining the phenomenon of conscious thought) to explanations of physical events (alone). But haven't we looked - in M-Theory - at a theory which suggests the realm of physics, as we know it, could vary and may not be universal? And doesn't the dualist stance against physicalism accept - in it's opposition to physicalism - the model of science that is closed, i.e it won't allow that there can be physical explanations of the mind because it has no place for deviation outside of the that law-circumscribed domain? Now if these "fully closed" assumptions are abandoned on both sides, we can have something more like pluralism; a pluralism that both encompasses regionalism, or partially enclosed phenomenon, as part of the universal?

Having said, even if the laws of physics are not constant, those of mathematics are.

Pop-Pop retrieved some more flint from his navel and re-stoked his magic pipe as he passed out on the next puff.

He dreamed of dreaming that he presented his ideas to Alpha-Alpha for incorporation into the Unlikely Solutions Ltd marketing literature and that Alpha-Alpha had hit him over the head.

How prescient that dreamed dream would become viewed from 20-20 hindsight.

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