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Eric S.: on 1/10/09 at 2:40am UTC, wrote Have we the courage of Copernicus to shake the very Earth? Maybe, or maybe...

William Orem: on 12/22/08 at 21:18pm UTC, wrote In keeping with the subject of Earth-shaking historical impacts -- the last...


Steve Dufourny: "John, Steve, Like I am not only focused on my own works, I discussed on..." in The Noise of Gravitons

Steve Dufourny: "Steve Agnew told that there is no reason to go beyond the actual standard..." in The Noise of Gravitons

PRASAD DIVATE: "Hi all, I just read that there are 64 dimensions in the universe and God..." in AI, Consciousness,...

Steve Dufourny: "sure, without doubting ,we must doubt :) I make the same for all my model..." in AI, Consciousness,...

click titles to read articles

Time to Think
Philosopher Jenann Ismael invokes the thermodynamic arrow of time to explain how human intelligence emerged through culture.

Lockdown Lab Life
Grounded physicists are exploring the use of online and virtual-reality conferencing, and AI-controlled experiments, to maintain social distancing. Post-pandemic, these positive innovations could make science more accessible and environmentally-friendly.

Is Causality Fundamental?
Untangling how the human perception of cause-and-effect might arise from quantum physics, may help us understand the limits and the potential of AI.

Building Agency in the Biology Lab
Physicists are using optogenetics techniques to make a rudimentary agent, from cellular components, which can convert measurements into actions using light.

Think Quantum to Build Better AI
Investigating how quantum memory storage could aid machine learning and how quantum interactions with the environment may have played a role in evolution.

September 23, 2020

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Impact, Part Two [refresh]
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Blogger William Orem wrote on Dec. 22, 2008 @ 21:18 GMT
In keeping with the subject of Earth-shaking historical impacts -- the last resting place of Copernicus has now been positively identified.

From Science News:

"Polish archaeologist Jerzy Gassowski told a news conference that forensic facial reconstruction of the skull, missing the lower jaw, his team found in 2005 buried in a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Frombork, Poland, bears...

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Eric S. wrote on Jan. 10, 2009 @ 02:40 GMT
Have we the courage of Copernicus to shake the very Earth? Maybe, or maybe not, but thankfully I doubt we need that kind of courage anymore to publish cosmological ideas, no matter how “heretical”.

Time does not, in a deep sense, exist? Hmmm.

The universe is inside a black hole? Hmmm.

The mathematics we arbitrarily choose ends up determining our fundamental reality? Hmmm indeed.

These days it turns out to be quite safe and easy to propose cosmological thought experiments, theories, and arguments.

I think the established religious orders operate very differently now than they did in the time of Copernicus, and their relationship to science has been one of defense and disengagement for the last century, rather than outright attack. Fundamentalists of all stripes have developed a full set of tools for ignoring and discounting arguments and opinions they don't want to hear; they've stopped actually engaging with those arguments long ago.

For the non-fundamentalists, current cosmology is so wonderfully weird and science fiction-y already, I can't imagine an idea that is so "out there" that it draws institutional shock, outrage, or violence. No torch-wielding mobs of villagers have attacked string theorists after all.

Publication itself is also very different now. We live in an age when any nitwit with computer access can "publish" any manner of nonsense. Anyone who has spent time browsing the internet has learned to just filter out ridiculous things, not react with shock and horror and cries of "Heresy!" to things we don't agree with.

The sheer bulk of crazy stuff probably makes it that much "safer" to publish radical new ideas, but it also makes truly revolutionary and useful new ideas that much harder to spot. Maybe we don't need the courage of a Copernicus in this information-glutted age, but rather the insight and perception of a Galileo to actually spot the next paradigm-shifting idea, and the tenacity to run with it.

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