Monday, March 12, 2007

"But then, to what end," said Candide,
"was the world formed?"
"To drive us mad," said Martin.

Will biology solved the Universe?

This isn't going to ruffle any feathers... While Robert Lanza will be exalted by those in the biological sciences, everyone from philosophers to physicists will hate him at first. Then, the inevitable switch... for it is inevitable, as even physicists think he's right...


"For years, scientists have tried to develop a universal theory of everything. Steven Hawking predicts that such a theory will be discovered in the next 20 years. A new theory asserts that biology, not physics, will be the key to unlocking the deepest mysteries of the universe, such as quantum mechanics.

"The answer to the universe is biology -- it's as simple as that," says Dr. Robert Lanza, vice president of research and scientific development at Advanced Cell Technology. He details his theory in The American Scholar's spring issue, published on Thursday. Lanza says scientists will establish a unified theory only if they radically rethink their understanding of space and time using a "biocentric" approach. His article is essentially a biological and philosophical response to Hawking's A Brief History of Time, in which he questions how we interpret the big bang, the existence of space and time, as well as many other theories -- assertions that might ruffle the feathers of some physical scientists."

--Aaron Rowe, Wired News
WiredNews: In your article, you make the assertion that time and space do not exist. What do you mean by that?

Lanza: There is something very unusual about them. We can't put them in a marmalade jar and take them back to the lab for analysis. Space and time are forms of animal sense perception. Space and time are not objects or things -- they are forms of animal sense perception.

Thousands of articles and books have danced around the desire to toss off the current mechanical world view that has dominated Western culture for hundreds of years. While some imply that time and space may not in fact exist, this article diagrams, for the first time, such a universe -- a universe in which time and space do not exist as physical realities independent of humans and animals.


WN: You seem to disagree with how the world was created.

Lanza: There are serious problems with the current world view. We pride ourselves in our current beliefs and then we (scientists) say, and by the way, we have no idea why the big bang happened.

WN: Can you explain why we should doubt the things that are accepted as the truth in science classes everywhere?

Lanza: For the first time outside of complex mathematics, this theory explains the provocative new experiment that was just published in Science** last month. This landmark experiment showed that a choice you make now can actually influence an event that has already occurred in the past.

Scientists continue to dismiss the observer as an inconvenience to their theories. Real experiments show that the properties of matter itself are observer-determined. A particle can go through one hole if you look at it, but if you don't look at it, it can actually go through more than one hole at the same time. Science has no explanation for how the world can be like that.

**Jacques, V., et al. Experimental Realization of Wheeler's Delayed-Choice Gedanken Experiment. Science. 16 February 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5814, pp. 966 - 968 DOI: 10.1126/science.1136303.


There's always been something wrong, from Einstein to Newton to Maxwell to Godel, there's always been something that didn't iron out in physics. Beginning with the largely ignored hole pointed out by Kurt Godel which says that time cannot exist, moving on through 5+ dimensional theories like string theory, to incompleteness and uncertainty theorems, there has always been something sketchy about physics.

My hypothesis is that the difference in mindset for physicists versus biologists is irreverance: physicists are significantly more likely to belong to an organized religion, or believe in god, and are therefore less likely to accept (for a while) the hubris of Lanza's theory. Biologists are more unimpressed by life; they see its flaws, its inefficiencies, its downright absurdities; life is evidence against a creator. Physicists try to maintain the idea that the universe can remain pristine, untouched by our observations, unsullied by the human mind. But the last century has changed that. With the mounting evidence for ten dimensions, the increasingly serious attempts at forms of time travel, and increased demonstration of uncertainty and the central importance and influence of the observer, all coming from within physics itself, has caused the world to sit up and take notice.

Not all biologists sit and look at test tubes of DNA, paying the hired CS grad student $20/hr to write a program that will compare two nearly identical strings; some biologists have a strong physical or mathematical background, and a tendency to theorize about more than just life.

In walks Lanza, a brave and brilliant man who has created more than his share of controversy. What will the world think? We'll find out on Thursday...


RIP -- Richard Jeni (Oct 31, 1957-March 12,2007)


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