Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

String Theory: should we care?

Posted 02 Feb 2014 / 0

On BeingReimagining the Cosmos

I always find myself stuck on the fence when it comes to the confrontation between physics and philosophy (and by extension religion). This episode effectively captures my ambivalence.

On the one hand, I like that Brian Greene really sticks to his guns on the “sensation of free will”. If there is not even a dimension on which we could understand free will — or a soul — operating, we need to accept and eventually celebrate that it is a genius illusion of our evolved mind. Those who want to believe in a soul should embrace this construction, as I don’t think that it really changes the way we should operate as social, moral human beings.

But then this all slips into another aspect of our evolved perceptions that theoretical physicists frequently seem to get wrong. Greene spends all this time talking about how wrong we are about the world we live in, how much we misperceive it without the aid of mathematics that he apparently thinks will be first grade material in some unspecified future. This bothers me because it ignores how well the lies our brains tell us about the world work out. Pretty much all the people of the earth — save a few who develop the technologies that operate within the “more real world” — are very well served by not being aware of the real world… by living in the very practical illusion created by our minds.

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Belief, Consciousness, Emotion, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Physics, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Religion

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