This is after a discussion with a friend…
Having faith means the ability to withstand questioning and doubt. Its not wrong to say one has faith. I have faith in the goodness of humanity. Time and again I have been made to question that faith. Is it a need? Or some truthful insight that I am privileged to perceive?
Those are important questions and should not be ignored ones asked. However, admittance of faith is perhaps the first step. I guess faith is important. Now, I don’t mean faith only in the sense of the God argument. Look at from an extremely religious person point of view, telling them that chanting Hanuman Chalisa would not really cure them of the fever is basically asking them to put it on faith. Worse, faith on Science. Yes, yes, one can ALWAYS show them what is the biological process behind fever which would imply the way of curing also in a scientific way. But practically speaking, he or she would have to take a lot of fact on the face value, even if there is a notion of presenting more scientific evidence for satisfying their infinite doubt regression, because to know more this way is asking for time and energy. So why ‘waste’ that on this new way of dealing with regular phenomenon? Is not faith easier?
Do not get me wrong. I am not trying to mock or ridicule faith (ok I may be a bit but that’s not the point). I am just questioning the scope of the term itself and what is it become associated with today. There was a time when atheists or doubts had to be careful or ashamed for not having enough ‘insight’. But today it’s the people with living with traditional customs and belief in a modern rational world that suffer.
They almost admit to their belief and faith in an apologetic way. Not as simple as ‘I-am-sorry-I-believe’ more like ‘I-know-there-is-a-lot-of-hogwash-in-religion-but-I-can’t-help-sense-there-is-some-divine-power-that-I-feel-good-praying-to’. They do not seem to be too moved by the Science vs Religion debate or any philosophical discussion, because to them its not about talking and coming to some consensual agreement like ‘So that’s why there is probably no God’ (They would probably have an impassive expression at this point).
Response for the article ‘Complexity and arrow of time’ by Paul Davies
The second law of Thermodynamics states that Entropy i.e. the degree of disorder, in an isolated system always increases. Since 19th century, philosophers and scientist have been seeing if this applies to the universe leading it to its eventual ‘heat death.
While that was being debated, it was clear that there were abundant examples of entropy in the world – even our existence depends crucially on the state of thermodynamic disequilibrium occasioned by this irreversible heat flow.
The intriguing aspect of this was the arrow of time, which brought out themes of atheism and cosmic pointlessness. This in turn led to reactions of evading or refuting the second law to show that the world will get ‘better’. However, many of theories (such as Stephen Hawking’s backward timeline) were disproven or did not have enough empirical evidence (such as mystical belief in ‘cyclic universe’).
The theory finds it difficult to rigid definition of entropy when the cosmological case of an expanding (and later perhaps contracting) universe is compared to the expansion and contraction of piston-cylinder arrangement where the external force applied is replaced by gravitational field.
Dwelling further into this, scientist like Roger Penrose tried understanding the particular directionality of the arrow of time by checking the universe’s initial and final state of entropy. This leads further to an unsolved question in Physics –
Why did the universe have such low entropy in the past, resulting in the distinction between past and future and the second law of thermodynamics?
While the presence of this improbable initial ‘smooth and low entropy’ state of universe can be seen an evidence of design, a more plausible explanation for it comes from the field of Quantum cosmology, which uses the concept of ‘wavefunction of universe’ to discuss the possibility of multiple-universe (as branches of the wavefunction). The wave function as a whole can be completely time-symmetric, but individual branches of the wave function will represent universes with temporal directionality.
The introduction of Parallel dimensions or alternative may solve the problem of origin of the arrow of time. Due to the existence of time-symmetry offered by the wavefunction branches, any observers in these universes will by definition call the low-entropy end of their universe the big bang and the high-entropy end the big crunch.
What interested me in the section on ‘Arrow of Time’ of the article, was not just the problem of directionality of time but the reaction and explanation of scientist and philosophers, as it has a profound impact on the ‘point of life’ question.
Being fascinated by the concept of time and quantum mechanics since childhood, I sought to read books, listen to people and watch movies that learn as much as could understand. This article just added to my clarity of the subject.
I was experienced a sense of cognitive dissonance while coming across the Hartle and Gell-Mann multi-verse model as though intellectually it sounds rational enough (not to mention exciting by combining two of my favorite topics – time and quantum physics), I particularly find the concept of parallel universes seemingly far-fetched (and like the cyclical universe theory, no way of proving it).
The lectures of ‘Arrow of Time’ by theoretical physicist Sean Carroll made many points clear too.
However, despite its flaws, this seems to be the closest in giving a concrete explanation of the arrow of time.