D’où Venons Nous / Que Sommes Nous / Où Allons Nous?

gaugin was the first cosmologist

Gaugins’ painting (the title of this post) is a fitting background for the deep question(ing) that has appeared in several places this week. But Homers’ version of Le Cri is even more fitting to our psyches drenched in uncertainty. In many respects it is only proper the year ends with a bang and a whimper, concomintantly. Ugly in its search for the Higgs, the LHC works were remarkably whimperish: to much sigma fiddling, too much anxiety to sanctify theory. Ackward. The Science and Nature news of the year are remarkably lame, except for human origins. I missed gene expression regulation. And for ow long(er) will exoplanets be news?

Notable  among articles that open exciting bag of questions regarding final explanations , is Revkins’ NYT, Dec 23rd  (now DothEarth is in Opinions):  Is Confidence in Science as a Source of Progress?” based on faith or fact” A propos of the fully commented paper on virulent flu strain disclosure or not of data?. The other one is Alan P. Lightmans’ Harpers’ astonishing:  “The accidental universe: sciences’ crisis of faith (of faith?)?”  (Brooks has honored the article with his dubious awards). In here, Lightman makes this absolutely flooring disquisition:

whats goin on? (american/simpsonianism of gaugins frenchism)

“This long and appealing trend may be coming to an end. Dramatic developments in cosmological findings and thought have led some of the world’s premier physicists to propose that our universe is only one of an enormous number of universes with wildly varying properties, and that some of the most basic features of our particular universe are indeed mere accidents—a random throw of the cosmic dice. In which case, there is no hope of ever explaining our universe’s features in terms of fundamental causes and principles. It is perhaps impossible to say how far apart the different universes may be, or whether they exist simultaneously in time. Some may have stars and galaxies like ours. Some may not. Some may be finite in size. Some may be infinite. Physicists call the totality of universes the “multiverse.” Alan Guth, a pioneer in cosmological thought, says that “the multiple-universe idea severely limits our hopes to understand the world from fundamental principles.” And the philosophical ethos of science is torn from its roots. As put to me recently by Nobel Prize–winning physicist Steven Weinberg, a man as careful in his words as in his mathematical calculations, “We now find ourselves at a historic fork in the road we travel to understand the laws of nature. If the multiverse idea is correct, the style of fundamental physics will be radically changed.” (trumpets) (Weinberg the Grouching Grinch reasonable?).


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