Thursday, September 09, 2010

Theories that Explain Everything

Stephen Hawking has a new book out, and he gives his great credibility to "M-Theory", which is another name for the 11-dimensional string theory. But they note:
One big issue is that M-theory makes more than one prediction about the nature of the universe. In fact, the number of predictions it makes is somewhere around 10 to the 500th power. That's a 1 followed by 500 zeroes.

"On the surface, that sounds like a bad thing," Krauss said.

Yeah, I'd say that sounds like a bad thing. Many think they have cast off the shackles of superstition and now come to their thoughts through rational, objective science (aka, positivism). Yet, many of those same people believe ideas based on their potential to either explain everything or generate the kind of future they like.

Anyway, it is interesting that many people think understanding the origin or end of the universe is important for humans to know. I have my doubts.


Slavko said...

I truly believe in the scientific notion that we are hard wired to create stories to explain/rationalize our chaotic existence. Hence more explanations, just from different source. I have to agree with you on that knowing how it began will somehow make it easier to go about our lives, seems improbable.

Anonymous said...

It's not so bad. One universe between 10^500 can be specified with less than 2 kB of information.

It would be obviously better to have an unique prediction, but a theory with even one unspecified constant has an infinite number of predictions.

Unknown said...

The human spirit is such that it craves to know where it came from and where it is going. Nevermind the fact we will never know the answers to these questions, it is important for humans to search for them.