Humility, Physics, and Philosophy

Useful suggestions from "Physics Vs. Philosophy: Really?" by Marcelo Gleiser (2012), discussion of the ongoing food-fight between philosophers and physicists about the nature of everything and nothing:

... The central dogma of science is that nature is intelligible: with the diligent application of reason we can construct explanations of natural phenomena that can be tested and falsified. Within this framework, no explanation can be deemed final: as concepts and measuring tools evolve, so do our explanations of the world. ...


... we are making enormous progress in our understanding of the universe, and we can even conceive of models where the universe can be explained as a zero-energy fluctuation out of the quantum vacuum. But why not say just that, and not extrapolate this over to the much more ambitious and, as of yet, unjustified claim that science provides a solution to the first cause. Current experimental knowledge of physical processes remains some 15 orders of magnitude below the energies prevalent near the beginning.

Given that there is so much that we don't know, humility is at least advisable. ...

(cf Certainty and Doubt (1999-04-27), Edge of the Universe (1999-06-08), No Concepts At All (2001-02-22), Grand Design (2010-11-26), ...) - ^z - 2011-11-13