Ever thought about predicting every upcoming incident in your life? Maybe tomorrow’s question paper ? or perhaps when your dad will buy you your next phone?
But why think small? Have you ever thought about predicting just about everything in the universe? If you have, you aren’t alone.
Marquis De Laplace was a brilliant scientist and futuristic thinker. He once felt that he could formulate a theory that would predict everything in the universe, or at least he aimed to. In principle, he said, there would be a set of laws that’d be defined by mathematics and physics that would not help us predict every incident that would take place but also each possibility that could! In words- it was a perfect theory!
But to every experiment and every thought, there is an inevitable catch! Our catch caught up with us when we started examining small systems. To make predictions that were accurate the complete state of the system at a given point in time was to be known.
Let us throw up a hypothetical question, let us say we know all the conditions of the universe, how viable do you think this theory is?
Only 44% felt that it was viable. Interesting data if you asked me.
When we carefully look at that idea itself – ” We know all the initial conditions,” the truth is the observer ( you) already exist in a predefined condition, essentially meaning that you can never be at the beginning of a system without something existing before it.
To make accurate and draw conclusions of a system, we must know the initial conditions, so when we study our planets and the sun we know their positions and speeds and can, therefore, use Newton’s laws to make predictions about the past and future. Laplace went a step further and made the claim that we could extend the idea to – Human Behaviour. Meaning if we knew the initial conditions that gave birth to – Intelligence- or the ability to think we could predict the future of human thought.
Through the polls, only 60% thought that it was an interesting perspective.
Exciting, wild or completely insane?
We know that during any observation we cannot accurately talk about initial conditions and that nature always imposes certain limits. When we talk about the uncertainty principle, we observe these limitations carefully, so in true scientist style, we stopped trying to find the way of the limitations and start observing the nature of the limitations instead.
When I talk about limitations, I am talking about how we cannot determine the exact position or velocity of the electron without knowing the other and so on so forth.
One of the first thoughts that surfaced during such a discussion was – ” Why do we face these limitations in the first place?” There were only two reasons- Either nature was building itself that way, or we didn’t have the knowledge to tap into more. 78% of the people thought it was the former.
Interestingly enough these ” Limitations” are quite liberating, they allow for the infamous ” randomness” or entropy of a system.
Randomness gives us insight into the aspect that a system will always have the slight possibility of choosing physical laws that are completely indeterministic.
And thus with randomness and entropy came a new field of – Quantum mechanics.
The Classical theories had always been with respect to absolute systems and absolute structures, where there had never been an issue or thinking that properties and physical laws change when boiled down to the atomic level.
To re-quote – ” God doesn’t play dice”.
In simple words, QM is a modification to classical laws with the difference that the quantum state is a combination of position and velocity defined within the limits of the uncertainty principle. There are no definite positions or velocities, and our experimental results show us only some probability factors.
So our new randomness theory makes it harder for us to find our theory of everything and the eternal debate comes up – Which is correct? GR or QM ??
62% thought it was Qm and the rest GR, but one person went far enough to claim that it was neither and the reason we had come to this fork in the road was that our understanding of the universe and physical laws were so rudimentary that our foundational thoughts had to be re-looked.
Quantum mechanics has worked wonders in fields of biology, chemistry, etc. But never in the case of gravity. The quantum theory of gravity says that in all The randomness and the possibilities that exist, a scenario of finite space-time exists. Such that there is no edge or boundary or no singularity at the end of the expansion. Essentially it’s an ever collapsing spacetime structure, which means if you started on one place of the earth and traveled you’d come back to the same after some time, the same would happen with the universe expect by the time you come back space-time would have collapsed and something else Would Exist there.
This brings us to a very intriguing point –
If there are no singularities, boundaries, etc. and there was an ever loop of self-sustaining matter why was there a big bang? Why the expansion?
Some would say this creates a space that has no physical point of creation.
43% said that it’s a constant loop and two felt it was too abstract to imagine.
If the universe is so self-sustaining and such a fantastic loop of perfect creation, why do we need the role of a creator? and if they did exist what role could anyone possible play in an already perfect system?