Touch Another Life ...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Next time when a grass hopper accidentally flies into you and sits on your forearms, do not shriek and violently shake it away.

Look at it.

Look at its legs. Slender legs. Tiny horns on the legs. Legs, green and bent, moving at the will of the grass hoppers brain. Look at its antennae waving in the air, feeding its brain with a plethora of sensory inputs probably unfamiliar to you. Look at its compound eyes, a thousand tiny eyes, and the grass hopper looking into the world through the thousand of them. Look at its filmy wings, that gives it flight, so that it can move from one point to another without touching the earth.

See how all these fit together into it, see it moving slowly on your skin; as a whole being.

Its another life.

The Universality of Logic ...

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Stephen Hawking in his book, 'A Brief History of Time' writes,

"Now, if you believe that the universe is not arbitrary, but is governed by definite laws, you ultimately have to combine the partial theories into a complete unified theory that will describe everything in the universe. But there is a fundamental paradox in the search for such a complete unified theory. The ideas about scientific theories outlined above assume we are rational beings who are free to observe the universe as we want and to draw logical deductions from what we see.

In such a scheme it is reasonable to suppose that we might progress ever closer toward the laws that govern our universe. Yet if there really is a complete unified theory, it would also presumably determine our actions. And so the theory itself would determine the outcome of our search for it! And why should it determine that we come to the right conclusions from the evidence? Might it not equally well determine that we draw the wrong conclusion? Or no conclusion at all?

The only answer that I can give to this problem is based on Darwin’s principle of natural selection. The idea is that in any population of self-reproducing organisms, there will be variations in the genetic material and upbringing that different individuals have. These differences will mean that some individuals are better able than others to draw the right conclusions about the world around them and to act accordingly. These individuals will be more likely to survive and reproduce and so their pattern of behavior and thought will come to dominate. It has certainly been true in the past that what we call intelligence and scientific discovery have conveyed a survival advantage. It is not so clear that this is still the case: our scientific discoveries may well destroy us all, and even if they don’t, a complete unified theory may not make much difference to our chances of survival. However, provided the universe has evolved in a regular way, we might expect that the reasoning abilities that natural selection has given us would be valid also in our search for a complete unified theory, and so would not lead us to the wrong conclusions."

Richard Dawkins in his book, 'The Selfish Gene' gives a thorough analysis of the theory of evolution and how evolution functions to create better surviving organisms. He emphasizes the completely relative nature of evolution, and survival,

"For example, a number of attributes are desirable in an efficient carnivore's body, among them sharp cutting teeth, the right kind of intestine for digesting meat, and many other things. An efficient herbivore, on the other hand, needs flat grinding teeth, and a much longer intestine with a different kind of digestive chemistry. In a herbivore gene pool, any new gene that conferred on its possessors sharp meat-eating teeth would not be very successful. This is not because meat-eating is universally a bad idea, but because you can not efficiently eat meat unless you also have the right sort of intestine, and all the other attributes of a meat-eating way of life. Genes for a sharp, meat-eating teeth are not inherently bad genes. They are only bad genes in a gene pool that is dominated by genes for herbivorous qualities."

This leads to a question,

Is the way of logic, which mostly is considered a universally applicable method of interpreting things, really universal and absolute?

Can't it be just a product of evolution, evolved in accordance with the ways in which we sense our environment, so that it fits us, suitably, like the sharp cutting teeth in a carnivores body? Other possibly un-relatable logic can exist? and be good for survival? like flat grinding teeth, that look like an incredibly stupid way of approaching food, for us carnivores?

Can nitrogen breathing alien organisms that sense the universe not through electro magnetic waves think that 1+1=3?

... :-)