[P]hysicist Sean Carroll of Caltech and Cosmic Variance addressed a vastly different subject that, nevertheless, led him back to a similar theme. Sean's talk was about, well, the nature of the universe. Mystery solved: It turns out that it's roughly 5% stuff like us, 25% "dark matter," and 70% "dark energy." Or as Sean joked: "The good news is that we understand a lot about the universe. The bad news is that it makes no sense."One problem I always had with my religious upbringing and much of religious thought nowadays (and I know this does not apply to everyone) is the way it encourages complacency--God/Jesus/Etc. loves you, and that is all you need to know. If there is a God(s), He has been incredibly busy, and there is much more of his creation to be admired than we could possibly imagine. It at least puts sporting events into their much broader persepctive.
But even as Sean gave us a complete and highly entertaining tour of reality, he hit on a much broader theme. The latest research in cosmology suggests that the universe is friggin weird. Indeed, there's probably no bigger blow to the human ego than the fact that because it is of an incomprehensible "dark" nature, "most of the universe can't even be bothered to interact with you," as Sean put it. Nevertheless, he concluded that there's something deeply uplifting about a way of thinking that allowed us to not only uncover but embrace this jaw-dropper of an inconvenient truth -- something that we would never have expected to find, but that becomes inescapable once you survey all the evidence. And by the same token, Sean pointed out that there's something rather shallow and small about an outlook that can't be bothered to confront facts of this unsettling nature.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
We are very very very very small...
Some more food for thought from this guy's report from YearlyKos: