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Despite the advances in science over the past century, our understanding of nature is still limited. Scientists still don't know what the vast majority of the universe is made up of or how consciousness arises from mere matter.
Some philosophers argue that we will never understand some things and that human science will one day hit a hard limit. They may already have done so.
"Mysterian" thinkers give an important role to biological arguments and analogies.
Late philosopher Jerry Fodor argued that there are bound to be thoughts we are unable to think. Similarly, philosopher Colin McGinn claimed that all minds suffer from "cognitive closure" about particular problems. Just as animals will never understand prime numbers, so human brains are unable to consider some of the world's wonders.
Mysterians present the question of cognitive limits in fixed terms: either we can solve a problem, or we will never be able to.
A possibility that eludes mysterians is one of slowly diminishing returns. We keep slowing down, even as we exert more effort, and there is no point where progress becomes impossible.
Even if we do find the answers to the mysteries, we still have to understand the meaning of the answer. Quantum physicist Richard Feynman admitted that "nobody understands quantum mechanics." According to quantum mechanics, particles can be in two places at once or randomly come out of empty space.
But mysterians forget how mindboggling other scientific theories and concepts were when initially proposed, such as the theory of relativity or heliocentrism.
To consider if our small brains can really answer all conceivable questions and understand all problems, we have to understand the human's ability to make tools.
What makes humans unique is that we are capable of cumulative cultural knowledge. Many human minds are much smarter than any individual brain.
No single scientist would be able to unravel the mysteries of the world. But by collaborating with peers, scientists can extend the scope of their understanding and achieve far more together.
If mysterians claim that some problems will never be solvable, they have to show in some detail why no possible combination of mind extension devices will bring us any closer to a solution.
By spelling out the problem, you set in motion the very process that might lead to discovery.
Indeed, some mysteries may forever remain unknown because human intelligence is not up to the task.
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Understanding consciousness and how it fits in the universe is a perennial puzzle for decades. Some call it the holy grail of science.
Quantum physics is able to describe the atomic and...
Modern science is hesitant to talk about consciousness due to it opening a pandora’s box, putting their previously ‘bulletproof’ theories under suspicion.
Quantum Theory had a similar ‘uh oh’ moment when it was found that the behaviour of atomic level particles changes when we (a conscious observer) are looking at it, or not. This is known as the Observer Effect.
Physicists argue that objectivity might as well be an illusion, and consciousness has to be put in the picture of its worldview.
The two puzzles of Science, Consciousness and Quantum Mechanics, might as well be closely related, with one arising because of the other.
Many insights of Albert Einstein are now part of popular imagination: black holes, time warps, and wormholes show up in movies and books.
Less famous, but probably the most revolutionary pa...
The most fundamental aspects of nature stay the same.
For example, Einstein's papers on relativity show that the relationship between energy and mass is invariant, even though energy and mass can take on many different forms.
Even though matter produces energy, the energy-matter content of the universe never changes. Matter and energy are less fundamental than the underlying relationship between them.
We often think of things as the heart of reality. But most often the relationship is more important, not the stuff.
We may think "stuff" like space and time are unchangeable aspects of nature. In reality, the relationship between space and time stays the same.
According to physicists, quantum particles are responsible for three forces of nature:
The ‘curves in space’ theory of gravity is falling out of favour due to the fact that Einstein’s equations seem to work on our solar system but begin to break when we apply the same near a black hole or back in time, during the initial big bang.
String Theory, which conceptualizes that gravity and all other forces are products of tiny vibrating strings, is the prime candidate to replace Einstein’s work.
Einstein's General Theory Of Relativity provides a rock-solid description of gravity, black holes and even the Big Bang, but fails to explain the very ‘singularities’ that signal towards infinity.
The extraordinary force of gravity can be researched with new-age engineering experiments but there is a risk of pushing too far and risking extreme damage by accidentally creating a black hole.