Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Intelligent design

Times of India news:

Dover School Board votes to include intelligent design into school curriculum.

I do not know much about the theory of intelligent design , neither did I waste any time trying to learn about it. I never read about theory of evolution after school. At that time I felt that this theory is quite sketchy at least the way it was taught to in those horrible books by even more horrible teachers in our rural school (One day our biology teacher told us that plants don’t need oxygen to breathe, they breathe corbon-di-oxide! I disagreed and so he threw me out of his class and told me that I can attend his class again if I can prove what I said. I did that the next day and was able to hear his invaluable lectures again. I asked another science teacher what is the substance in ashes. He said it is carbon. I asked then why doesn’t it get burned like the rest of it. No answer). I want to read about I sometime in the future. But right now my knowledge is very limited. Then why am I opening my big mouth about this controversy about which so many PhD’s have given their opinion? I have a few points to make.

Dover school board members, who voted intelligent design into the school curriculum, said that they are not trying to promote religion. They want to promote free inquiry into an alternate theory. Fair enough. That is exactly what scientists want to do. They are also not claiming that the intelligent designer is God. According to their own testimony, all of them are deeply religious. So it can be safely assumed that they believe in the existence of God. So that leaves us with a creator and an intelligent designer for this universe. Being an IT slave, it seems me like a designer and a coder (God!). What a fantastic idea. It only lacks the analyst and the tester.

It is so obvious that the members are lying that we don’t even need to prove it, especially since this blog is a not a court of law. That leads me to my second point. The intelligent designer, who designed these school board members, wanted them to lie to spread this theory! I ask these board members do you really want to promote your God by lying, is your God so powerless. And if he has so little power is it worth worshipping him?

To those who want to undermine science and promote faith, I want to make an appeal. Think what science has done for you. Next time you turn on your light or make a phone call, imagine that these things were made possible because people refused to surrender to faith and dared to ask questions. They faced torture, they were killed, they burnt alive by people like you, but they refused to give up. They did not want money, women (most of them were men!), earthly pleasure; they wanted to conquer ignorance and fear. Most of them were did not want people to recognize them, but they did want people to recognize their goal, to know the truth and to dispel fear. Science does not promote hatred, it does not incite violence, and it does not provoke war. Science promotes freedom (freedom from fear, freedom from hunger, freedom from whims of the natures), it promotes justice, it promotes equality and it promotes happiness. Even after knowing all these simple things people choose to promote faith instead of science, I don’t know what to say to their designer or their coder. May be science should work a little harder to create tools that will make them understand this simple fact.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My correspondence with Paul Davies

The attached paper by me deals with precisely this issue. It was recently published in the journal Complexity.


>>> 05/11/05 9:51 PM >>>
I am not a scientist or a scholar, just an inquisitive man who likes to ask questions and know new things. I enjoy reading your books because they seem to answer my unasked questions, at least try to answer. I have a question. Please do not hesitate to ignore this email if you are busy doing something important. My question can wait.

From your book "The Mind of God" it seems to me that you subscribe to the idea that our mathematical model describing the universe works the way it works because the physical world allows it to work that way. I do not know why (probably influenced by your book), but I also like to think that way. It seems wired to me that mathematics should have an independent existence. After all it is only in our brain where mathematics works and our brain is very much dependent on the physical world.

So it seems to me, as you suggested in your book, that our counting system works because we have discrete countable objects to begin with. A natural consequence of our counting theory is the process of exponentiation and this particular mathematical tool works so well with many things that we do. But it does lead us to absurd numbers with no physical significance. For example a number like 9 to the power 9 to the power 9 to the power 9 can hardly have any physical significance, yet they look perfectly normal, even innocuous to us. Is there a contradiction here? If so, where can I find more material that deal with this issue in greater detail, accessible to a man with limited knowledge of physics and mathematics?




I was travelling through the Sahyadri Mountain and I was awestruck by the beauty of the mountains. I was thinking what makes a thing beautiful. Sometimes symmetry makes something beautiful. For example, the geometric design of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London makes it beautiful. But in case of mountain that is not true. It is also not true that just because it is different from my everyday sights, I tend to like it. Because on my way I saw many places that are different from my everyday places. I did not find them beautiful.

If we take it a step forward, we may ask the question what is pleasure. Why certain things like listening to music or having an orgasm are so pleasurable. What electro-chemical reactions take place inside our brain so that we feel pleasure? If we can precisely find what which reactions are pleasurable, we may be able to recreate those reactions in our brain artificially and hence can have those pleasures without actually doing the activities. That way we can get rid of most of the human sufferings. For example, I assume Hitler used to get a lot of pleasure by killing the Jews. But that was not funny for the Jews. If we could artificially simulate that pleasure in Hitler’s brain, then he did not have to kill the Jews! Now science has already found ways to have children without committing the ‘original sin’. Then we can even get the pleasure of orgasm without doing the ‘sin thing’. That way we can all go to heaven and have two fathers together, earthly and heavenly.

About time

Of all the measurable quantities, time is probably the most abstract. Yet it is one of the fundamental quantities, like space and mass. The measurment of time would not be possible without periodic events. We measure time as a mapping from a set of periodic events to integers. As for example in Gregorian calendar, we map the event "sunrise on the day Jesus Christ was born on a particular longitude" to the integer 0, and each next sunrise at the same longitude as the successive integer. We then extrapolate this to the prior events as negative integers. Two interesting points are to be noted here. First, we take the biggest set of periodic events which repeat at the same rate and measure time according to their intervals. For example if we have 20 clocks, of them 15 are running at the same rate, then we assume that their intervals are even and the other clocks are "slow" or "fast". But we could as well choose the other 5 clocks as "good" and the rest 15 as "bad" without affecting any measurement.

Another interesting point to be noted is, initially time was mapped from discrete events to integers. Then we started to break them down to "fraction of an event", for example half a day, thereby mapping them to rational numbers. Then we extrapolated in to the extreme, to real number. In physics, when we think of time as a variable, we think of it as a continuos variable of a real number.

A thought from 21 July, 2001

Last night I was watching a Playboy Playmate profile featuring a gorgeous twin from Peru. Man they were beautiful! They drove me crazy. Then came their mom for an interview. She was saying how proud she was for her daughters. I was thinking she can't be serious. Who will be proud of her daughter who takes off her clothes for money? Then I thought why not? If her daughters were singers or chess players, she would definitely feel proud of them. But that's exactly the same thing. Using your god given talent to entertain others. May be a singer or a chess player hones his talent a little. For some like Mozart, even that was not necessary. But so did these two girls. They kept their bodies trim and their beauty intact. So what's wrong in showing something so beautiful? It is our social stigma against sex which makes us think differently. In my opinion that stigma originated because we feel guilty to get so much of pleasure.

Opening remarks

So finally I opened an account! The main purpose of this blog is to record the flash ideas that I get from time to time. The other purpose is to express my outrage against irrationalism and pretentiousness. Yet another reason for this page is to post questions that keep vexing me, hoping that someone will answer them. So let me start with the last one first. Here is a question that is bothering me for last few weeks. If you know the answer, please let me know.

There are two iron platforms A and B. B is moving to the right along A with velocity v. Two events happen on two different places of the platforms that leave permanent marks on both platforms and send sound signals along the iron platforms. The marks on platform A are X and Y and marks on platform B are P and Q. Observers L on platform A and M on platform B monitor the events. L finds that he is exactly at the midpoint between X and Y. Also L received the sound signals from X and Y simultaneously. M finds that he is exactly at the mid point between P and Q. My questions are as follows.
Why shouldn’t M find the events at P and Q simultaneous, since the speed of sound is constant through iron and since M is stationary with respect to the iron media carrying on the sound signal?