Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ten discoveries that would change the way we think about ourselves

New Scientist has published a list of ten ideas that, if true, would change the way we perceive ourselves and our place in the universe [World Turned Upside Down]. I think some of them are pretty good—many of them really would have a profound effect. Of course, some of them are never going to happen and some of them are silly. One of them is already true.

Here they are ...
  1. What if most of reality is hidden?
  2. What if we discover we can see the future?
  3. What if we learn to talk to animals?
  4. What if we are not alone?
  5. What if we don't need bodies?
  6. What if we have no free will?
  7. What if we came from space?
  8. What if intelligence is a dead end?
  9. What if the universe is an illusion?
  10. What if we find god?


  1. I already talk to the animals. I also talk to the trees.

    1. Oh, yes. They're such good listeners! They never disagree or argue.

  2. My animals talk to me and I understand them, does that count. Of course, they are cats so it's pretty much "feed me" and "leave me the F* alone".

  3. What part of where we are is not space?

  4. Which one is true? #1 or #6? Pleasesay1pleasesay1...

  5. They are all silly. I recently saw a youtube video on aristotle. His thoughtfulness makes this list boring and embarrassing if its a accurate sample of thoughtfulness today.

    Animals don't talk to animals because they have nothing to say. They are dumb.
    we are not animals and are smart. Even the list authors.

    If we came from space then it must mean there is room for doubt about evolving from fish! Unless the fish came from space!!
    They so easily drop evolution if a better option comes. I saw this on the old Star Trek series.
    What if Genesis is true???
    What if accurate scientific methodological scrutiny was applied to evolutionism??
    How many folks would need to get another job? i don't know? how many is it?

    1. I could name quite a few people who are pretty dumb and have nothing to say, but they talk none the less.

    2. What if Genesis is true???

      What if the Quran is true?

      What if the Book of Mormon is true?

      What if Dianetics is true?

      ... Harry Potter?... etc.

  6. Pretty sure 1, 3 and 6 are already true. For sure 3 and 6. Three is just silly, I'm pretty sure humans have been able to communicate with dogs for quite some time now, and list beyond that is very extensive.

  7. Replies
    1. I assume the common worry that human intelligence will ultimately be responsible for the extinction of our species through war or pollution. It's the common explanation why we haven't encountered aliens -- that intelligent beings end up destroying themselves before interstellar travel is possible.

  8. If 10 is true we should start a revolution to abdicate him.

  9. 1. We will never know what is outside the observable Universe. It could be huge. It doesn't matter. It's not causally connected to us.

    2. We can see the future. Newton's Laws do a great job for a lot of things. The law of large numbers helps a lot too.

  10. 1: generally assumed to be true in mainstream physics
    2: obviously true, but I guess they had a special (mystical) type of "seeing into the future" in mind
    3: not only do we already talk to animals, they also show a pretty decent understanding when we do
    4: obviously true, but I guess they had a mystical interpretation in mind
    5: need them for what? I'd say obviously true unless they specified a particular purpose in the fine print
    6: true
    7: true (for any sensible interpretation of "coming from space")
    8: no idea what this is supposed to mean
    9: silly
    10: true (psychology and sociology provide a pretty good understanding of where gods come from)

    So: 8 true, 1 meaningless, 1 silly. Which was the one you think is true?

  11. 1 is true according to the most recent mainstream physics. We can currently observe, as "ordinary" matter and energy, just a little over 4 1/2% of the universe. Gravitational effects lead to the conclusion that 24% of the universe is dark matter. The observed expansion of the universe leads to the conclusion that 71.4% of it is dark energy.

  12. @ Konrad & judmarc

    #9 is no less silly than #1... i.e. neither are "silly"

    I have a copy of Susskind's book on Black Hoes in front of me right now! He is no intellectual slouch and definitely is not "silly"!

    According to Susskind, Maldacena may be on to something and the universe in fact is nothing but a "hologram"... evoking memories of contentious debates past dontchya know.

    I am curious which ones Larry would deem "silly".

    1. Am I the only person reminded of an certain episode of Jeopardy?

  13. What exactly does it mean to say that the universe is a hologram?