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Have you ever pondered over the concept of reality? It seems most of us intuitively have an idea about what reality is but never really thought about it deeply. And why should we? For me discovering what reality is has been somewhat of a higher goal in life. I started valuing research into cosmology and the nature of reality higher than the personal things in life. In 2011 I was particularly obsessive with quantum mechanics and the nature of reality and I eventually lost myself in my quest. I haven't quite been the same since, and I suppose for this reason I want to share some of my findings and my theories about reality.


A description of reality

According to the English dictionary reality is the state or quality of being real. So essentially everything we know to be real is part of reality. In that sense there is not such a great distinction between the universe and reality. The universe denotes everything there is which hypothetically would include the nonexistent as well, but in practice the nonexistent… well, simply doesn't exist (i.e. it doesn't adhere to reality). I call these "flavor words" because they essentially refer to the same but both words have very different associations. So let me make a distinction between these two words which may not be justified but which will make this article a tiny bit less vague. When I think of the universe, I think of everything there is on a cosmological scale. When I think of reality, I think of the fundamental structure of the universe and space, which would be closer to the self and relate more to your (subjective) perception of existence… and quantum mechanics.


Fusing elements

Now that we have established a subtly less vague description of what reality is (or rather, the aspect of reality I want to talk about), let's first consider our place in reality. Most of the stars you see in the sky (including our Sun) are main-sequence stars. These stars are in the main phase of their life cycle, in which they undergo nuclear fusion to create heavier elements. These stars will primarily fuse hydrogen atoms together in a few stages into helium and stars above 1.3 times the mass of the Sun will use carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms to fuse hydrogen into helium. The more massive star will continue fusing atoms into heavier elements until finally a core of iron and nickel is produced. The fusion of these elements produce no net energy and so the nuclear fusion in the core will stagnate. When the mass of the inert core exceeds the Chandrasekhar limit of about 1.4 solar masses, electron degeneracy alone is no longer sufficient to counter gravity. As a result the star implodes while neutron degeneracy will halt the collapse of the core, causing the implosion to bounce outwards. As this happens, the expanding shock wave will take the material from the outer layers and blast it into space while the core briefly fuses iron into even heavier elements. This massive explosion is called a supernova.


Abundance of chemical elements

So what does the cycle of life and death of stars have to do with us? Well, when a supernova occurs, all the elements fused in the core of the star will be blasted far into space and this material will form new stars and planets, and indeed life. We have the atoms we consist of, our planet and our Sun thanks to a supernova explosion of a massive star from the generation of stars before our Sun. The content of the universe consists of about 72% dark energy, 24% dark matter and 4.6% normal matter. From this 4.6% of matter, roughly 74% is hydrogen, 24% is helium, 1% is oxygen, and 0.5% is carbon. I could name the other elements and the percentages but that's not relevant to this article. If you're interested about the percentages though, click here. So hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon are the most abundant elements in the universe. The interesting part is that the ratios of these elements correspond to the ratios of the elements we are made of, with the exception of helium as this element serves no purpose to our body—unless you want to talk at a high frequency.


Fundamental connection

If you haven't drawn any conclusions or dropped your jaw by now, let me do it for you. I'm sure you've heard of the phrase "we are made of star dust." It's obviously simplified but as I explained so far, it's literally true. We are made of the same stuff as the universe and in the same ratios. We have a fundamental connection with the universe. The majestic words of Carl Sagan come to mind here:
"And we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos we've begun, at last, to wonder about our origins. Star stuff, contemplating the stars organized collections of 10 billion-billion-billion atoms contemplating the evolution of matter tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet Earth and perhaps, throughout the cosmos."

This finally brings me to what I really wanted to talk about, which is the nature of reality. It seems most people think of being inside reality. I've learned that reality is relative and subjective. We don't only reside inside reality, but reality is part of us. Reality is the state of being real and we certainly are real (well, I am, anyway) but when I say that reality is part of us I'm referring to the fundamental connection we have with the universe. Essentially reality has a connection with your consciousness and so your perception of reality is distinct from someone else's. Not completely different, but you do have an influence on reality.


The double-slit experiment

To explain just how relative and subjective reality is, we must dive into the world of quantum mechanics. This microscopic world is absolutely bizarre and often defies logic and intuition. Let's talk about the double-slit experiment in particular, which was initially performed by Thomas Young in the early 1800s. Actually, rather than clumsily paint an image of the experiment with words, let me refer you to a video on youTube called "The Observer in Physics Double Slit Experiment and Example in Nature." It's a wacky video but it explains the experiment well. For a more elaborate explanation watch "Explained! The Double Slit Experiment." In the latter video two quotes are presented which I want to state here because they're applicable in regard to the fundamental connection with our consciousness I talked about earlier.

"It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality." —Eugene Wigner

"Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of the mystery that we are trying to solve." —Max Planck


A determined future

So in the first video the particle/wave duality is explained and a conclusion is drawn that the very act of observing changes reality. This particularly frustrated Einstein. He couldn't accept quantum mechanics; he famously said "I like to think the moon is there, even if I am not looking at it". Erwin Schrödinger later devised the "Schrödinger's cat" thought experiment in 1935 which illustrated the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics (which holds that quantum mechanics doesn't yield a description of an objective reality but deals only with probabilities, and that all these probabilities are equally true as part of a superposition, until it's observed in which case waveform collapse occurs and the particles assume their final position) applied to everyday objects, resulting in a contradiction with common sense.

What the video doesn't show however is that the experiment was later repeated (I believe Clauss Jönsson's experiment from 1961 but I'm not completely sure) but this time the detectors were placed behind the slits rather than in front of the slits, so now it could be observed which slit the photon or electron already went through before it arrives either as a particle or as a wave on the screen. What's really fascinating is that placing the detector behind the slits made absolutely no difference; the photon or electron will still arrive as a particle when observed and as a wave when not observed. What does this mean? It means that the particle already knows whether you're going to observe it before you do. It actually gets information from the future and uses that in the present. The inescapable conclusion is that at least on the scale of the quantum mechanical world the future is as relevant to the present as the past is to the present. There is a deep connection through time, which begs the question to which extent determinism is true. Is it just causal determinism which is based on cause-and-effect or is it a broader form of determinism like logical determinism, beyond causal determinism?


No such thing as coincidence

I often find myself saying something is coincidental, but I actually don't believe in coincidence. What word should I be using for two caused effects which come together under unlikely circumstances but which are actually predetermined? It's a contradiction, so for lack of a better word I will continue to use the word ‘coincidence'. But really, I believed in coincidence most of my life. I think it all changed in 2011 when I was mentally unstable and very obsessive about quantum mechanics and the nature of reality. In this period I saw patterns in phenomena I would otherwise have considered coincidences. I mean, I won't deny that this is possibly just apophenia, but from my experience these coincidences happen way too frequently and they're way too "perfect". I draw a clear distinction between two events coming together by chance and two events coming together because they fit so perfectly. But let's not rush to conclusions; I do believe in free will. I would consider myself to be a compatibilist, meaning I believe determinism and free will don't necessarily contradict each other. I am free to act according to my motives, but my motives are determined. I suppose in this context you could speak of restricted free will, but to me it’s free will all the same.

I believe the fundamental structure of reality is based on probabilities (chance) which sparks certain events. Many of these events may lead to nothing of relevance, but based on my experience I would argue (well, perhaps rather speculate) that these events are often guided. Essentially these events come together in the subjective consciousness. The reason I think this is because I often experience two events coming together in such a perfect way, which then sparks an other event and you get this sort of chain reaction of "perfect moments" and with each sequence the chance of each of these events coming together so perfectly becomes increasingly improbable. So, it's not a matter of simple coincidence, but a coincidence which sparks more coincidences in relatively rapid succession. I think these kind of things will become prominent when you really focus on it. However, I'm convinced that obsessions necessarily produce certain delusions because you think you know a lot about the subject, but the more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. When you don't properly acknowledge this or don't frequently compare your findings with verified data you will devise seemingly logical solutions which have no relevance in reality. So I must confess, my theory about guiding events is highly speculative and apart from some associations with quantum mechanical principles, I don't feel justified in saying guiding events are likely. What I still believe in though, is that there is a clear distinction between coincidence and chance. As an observer I can consider a certain event to be coincidental, probable or determined, but how can I conclude which one it is without knowing the probabilities of two events occurring, and the probability of the two coming together in a way the observer perceives to be meaningful? I don't think it's possible. I also have to wonder if these events are meaningful only on a subjective level, or objectively as well. But then, what does the universe care if I miss my train?


The afterlife

Another aspect of reality to consider is the afterlife. No, I'm not referring to heaven or hell, or a world in a higher dimension you wake up to after your death or anything alike. When a part of your brain is damaged, that which makes you ‘you' is affected. So it's more than improbable that there is a life after death you get to with your personality and memories intact—it's downright illogical. Still, the concept of an afterlife doesn't seem completely lost. I have to wonder, where did consciousness come from in the first place? Let's assume your consciousness comes from what I would call "the abstract", which is basically pre-life. Is it then not logical to say that this consciousness must return to the abstract (post-death)? It seems a sort of borrowed energy. Also consider again our fundamental connection with the universe. To me it begs the question if there is a property of space which can spark consciousness. Life had to come from somewhere, and the universe itself seemingly came from nothing as well. Does consciousness come from nothing? It sounds illogical, but then to validate this requires knowledge external to our universe; knowledge which can never be reached.


Fractal universe

To conclude this article I do want to briefly get back to the universe, as this is reality on a cosmological scale. A few years ago an interesting thought occurred to me. Imagine you keep zooming out of the universe until it's but a single dot. You don't just zoom out from one direction, but from all directions. Perhaps for the sake of visualization rather imagine shrinking the universe. Keep shrinking it until the distances between galaxies equate to the distances inside an atom, or possibly smaller. This single dot could then be the spark of the Big Bang of the next universe and you get this infinite cycle; a fractal universe. It's nice to have a thought like this. What's unfortunate about a thought like this is that it has no physical implications; it's entirely an imagined concept which couldn't be possible. It would create a nice animation but nothing more.

But recently I had another thought. I was thinking, no matter if you look at the micro or macro level, you will always find spheres and orbits. On the micro level you have electrons orbiting an atom in quantum leaps. On a cosmological scale moons, planets, stars and galaxies adhere to the law of gravitation and maintain orbits according to this law of gravitation. But consider that in the early 20th century our entire known universe consisted only of our Milky Way galaxy. In 1922–1923 Edwin Hubble found nebulae which seemed far too distant to be part of our galaxy. He later realized that these nebulae were in fact entire galaxies consisting of 100 billion stars, and there are over 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe (in 1999 the Hubble Space Telescope estimated 125 billion galaxies, and those are only the galaxies visible in optical light). In such a vast and seemingly endless universe, why is it strange to think bigger than that? Who's to say the universe is not part of a bigger structure?

I'm sure you've heard of the multiverse theory, which is an idea derived from quantum mechanics. For those who don't know, the multiverse theory posits that the universe could be one of many universes. One of the reasons why this theory is relevant is to solve the improbability issue of the universe and to give a reason for the apparent fine-tuning of the fundamental constants which makes the universe suitable for stars and planets to form and for life to emerge. A theist would obviously assert that God made the universe, but there is no evidence to suggest this is true. The scientist would probably invoke the anthropic principle. The anthropic principle is the philosophical consideration that observations of the physical universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. This either means that the universe and life emerged out of necessity or inevitability, or that the universe we live in just happens to be one habitable universe of many or possibly an infinite universes. When thinking about a multiverse I imagine a gigantic structure of "metaspace" in which new universes "bubble" into existence. Many of these universes are not suitable for life; some of them are. Ervin László's Akashic Field Theory posits that the quantum vacuum is the fundamental energy and information-carrying field (and recent research shows the quantum vacuum may actually be dark energy, as the amount of dark energy grows proportionally to the expansion of space) that informs not just the current universe, but all universes past and present. This would explain the apparent fine-tuning of the universe. However you want to envision this multiverse or metaverse, when I extrapolate from what we know to exist, it really doesn't seem that far-fetched to me that there is a bigger construction than the universe and even the multiverse, and perhaps this goes on endlessly as either an open or a closed fractal.
I recently decided it was about time I would write an article about some of my findings, theories and speculations about the nature of reality. This morning I decided to write the article and I just finished it a moment ago. I hope you enjoy the article.
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:icontwilightmaestro:
Twilightmaestro Featured By Owner May 2, 2017
The only way I can describe time is through this saying 
Time is an ocean in a storm, you may go in any direction you wish but some are harder to go in than others
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:icontwilightmaestro:
Twilightmaestro Featured By Owner May 2, 2017
That's the spirit young explorer and to say it from my strange perspectives and points of view your practically on the bullseye but that this greater concious mentioned is simply formed of the bonds between people and the so called loophole in math (which is mentioned by others down here) is simply what I refer to as paraphysics basically a set of laws that govern what most would consider magical and supernatural and act as exceptions to the normal laws of existence and non existence although I have to say fate, free will, and chance do coexist but they aren't they only things
PS if your wondering I share similar view although I have encountered things I consider paranormal like demon and lived a relatively short but crazy life thus far
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:icondyun:
Dyun Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Have you seen this article? [link]
By the way, I love the way you think. :)
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
Fascinating! The holographic principle has been known to me for a while now. It would be amazing if these recent findings are consistent with that principle.

Did you know scientists are in an experimental phase of possibly building a warp drive? Read this article. Bizarre principles like these increasingly make me think reality is not so restricting after all. It doesn't necessarily point to a simulated universe, but whether the universe is simulated or natural (not sure if there is a distinction in this context), sufficed to say the universe is an absolutely bizarre and fascinating entity.
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:icondyun:
Dyun Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Wow.... that is just purely exciting!!! I know it may be many years away, but what an incredible idea. It gets the imagination going. I'm genuinely thrilled about this. :D
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah, I was positively shocked when I read it. It might be quite speculative and possibly nothing will come of it, but the fact that scientists found a loophole in the math is already quite exciting. There's something I don't like about the article though. The author is rightfully enthusiastic about the fact that instead of a Jupiter-sized ball of exotic matter we only need 500 kg of exotic matter to power this hypothetical warp drive, but it doesn't specify what kind of exotic matter and how we could obtain this exotic matter. Consider antimatter as a fuel for example, then this article will probably worry you already. Another problem I have with the article is that it doesn't specify how you get to 500kg of exotic matter to fuel a warp drive if you don't know what kind of exotic matter you're talking about. It actually says "we only need 500kg of hypothetical stuff to power this hypothetical machine". It sounds way too speculative for my taste. But as I said, these early experiments in itself are pretty exciting already. If not a warp drive then perhaps we can get other exciting technology out of it. I think the world of quantum mechanics also has a lot more to offer.
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:icondyun:
Dyun Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I think we are still far off from this taking place, but if scientists have hope, then I'm behind them.... whatever that exotic fuel might be. Just having a serious conversation about the very possibility in my lifetime makes me all giddy. Lol. I don't expect to travel to any planets even in my 80s, but my imagination goes wild with possibilities for those who will see this day come.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'm really excited about the James Webb Space Telescope launching in 2018. I'm already finding planets with the Kepler Telescope. The JWS Telescope will bring us one step closer to finding a true Earth. I think I will experience some interesting things in my life. It kind of makes make jealous at my youngest brother for being 10 years younger than I am, so he will likely see more technological advances than I will.
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:icondyun:
Dyun Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Well,... I'm sure we all will witness anything and everything that happens. ;) Maybe we'll even get to live it. :)
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:iconlaurenipsome:
LaurenIpsome Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013
Reading your work gives the "good" kind of proverbial headaches! I mean that entirely as a compliment. I just love the trips through the "rabbit holes" of your thought process. I also use the term "coincidence" in general conversation, though I don't "believe" in them, so I certainly appreciate your definition of "chance" in it's place - semantics, perhaps, but alas, we've a limited language. Time, like reality, is only relative, and in this particular "reality" we perceive it as linear, but in fact, it is my postulation that time is always happening congruent within itself, hence "precognition" is merely a mental "slip" in "our" reality. Recalling past-lives? Certainly, if, of course, we assume something of a "soul" survives physical death. Perhaps we are, in fact, as our electrons and quarks pop in and out of existence and are currently hurling through space at godspeed, we are, in fact, living many lives congruently. There could be a hundred-thousand-thousand of "me's" typing at this moment, each ponder the other, and making microscopic manipulations to what is ultimately "my truth" and my interpretation of this set reality. Maybe the universe doesn't "care" if I missed the bus or the train or whatever, but, perhaps in doing so, I was prevented from giving a stranger a passing nod that was the micron of humanity he needed to NOT jump onto the tracks. No, I hardly think myself that "important," but it surely would have made a difference to HIM if not the universe, and may have ultimately affected an entire family tree, merely from one missed step.
Dang it.... so much more I wanted to discuss if you were up for it, alas, my roommate is MIA, and, the dogs are ready for walkies. That's twice today, whence I was talking with you! Perhaps their "reality" is trying to keep us from speaking! Ha haa.... Anyway, love this piece! And hope to hear from you soon. Take care. -K
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'm glad my writings have this effect on people. I couldn't say whether my reasoning is water-proof, but then I never presented my information as fact. Whether it's true or not, there's enough interesting stuff in my head.

Language is very interesting. I often say philosophy tends to become a game of semantics, but that doesn't make thinking about it irrelevant. I think it's very interesting to explore how language restricts our understanding of things. I mean, it's exactly what makes it possible for us to understand things, but it's also definitely restricting. When I speak of reality, the universe, gravitation, eternity, or God, I vaguely understand the principles but I also have to conclude these are placeholder terms for things we don't necessarily understand. With language it's not so hard to trick yourself into believing in the validity of something which isn't actually there. I guess this is also a form of apophenia (seeing patterns or meaningful relations which aren't actually there).

Time, like reality, is only relative, and in this particular "reality" we perceive it as linear, but in fact, it is my postulation that time is always happening congruent within itself, hence "precognition" is merely a mental "slip" in "our" reality. Recalling past-lives?
I don't know. Time is another one of those principles I don't actually understand, and so I could only speculate. I think the arrow of time is very interesting though; how it's perceived to be linear and of only one direction. Interestingly enough the equation for entropy (which is the reason why time seems to have a direction) actually works both ways. One has to wonder then if indeed time does have more than one direction.

Certainly, if, of course, we assume something of a "soul" survives physical death.
In a theistic context the soul would be a part of you which is eternal. I think I would generally call the soul "consciousness", so I don't think it would survive death. But then, the principle of the soul is hardly descriptive so we can only speculate. I think current research on neurology may show us more. We can already make actual images of people's thoughts, so I'm really curious what things we may discover about the brain, consciousness and whatever you may call a soul.

There could be a hundred-thousand-thousand of "me's" typing at this moment, each ponder the other, and making microscopic manipulations to what is ultimately "my truth" and my interpretation of this set reality.
Are you referring to parallel universes? I used to believe in this but now I'm not so sure anymore. I've learned that in quantum mechanics particles manifest in superpositions and then the waveform collapses and the particles take their final position. You then have to ask whether these other possible configurations really do collapse entirely, or continue in a parallel universe. To me it never sounded so strange that with each choice or chance, reality splits up into different possibilities which are all equally real. But then, I have to think about photosynthesis, which actually works on quantum mechanical principles. The photons virtually take each path of transport within the plant but in reality only take the most optimal path. This is what makes photosynthesis so effective. In fact, without quantum mechanics photosynthesis wouldn't work; it would waste too much energy during converting. So I have to wonder, if these waveforms don't entirely collapse and do continue in parallel realities, then there must be a lot of universes in which photosynthesis doesn't work. Let's say a photon can travel through 5 different paths within the plant, then there is 1 universe where photosynthesis works, and 4 where plants simply can't grow. But then, who's to say there aren't 4 inhabitable universes or even millions of inhabitable universes for each one that is habitable?

and may have ultimately affected an entire family tree, merely from one missed step.
But that's merely cause and effect. This debate between William Lane Craig and Shelly Kagan comes to mind now. Craig posits that in a universe created by God, things can matter subjectively or objectively, and this objective morality can only come from God. Kagan makes the point why Craig believes that if something doesn't objectively matter to the universe (which Craig implied in regard to the naturalistic world view), why then conclude that therefor it doesn't objectively matter at all? I think it's clear that there is cause and effect and it may manifest in subjectively meaningful ways, but I really wonder if there is meaning beyond our lives. It seems strange to me that things can be relevant not only to us, but also to the universe. But then, what is the point of the universe if it weren't for us? Such a vast, beautiful and complex universe which can be understood (people take that for granted but the fact that we can make sense of the universe is absolutely amazing) would be pointless if there was no self-conscious life to observe it, wouldn't it? It's a bit like a beautifully decorated fish bowl for a world without fish.

Feel free to continue the conversation. It's nice to have people engage with my writings.
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:iconcskadoz:
cskadoz Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013   General Artist
interesting read :highfive: i think string-theory is important: energy bundles being sub-atomic particles which vibrate at certain frequencies. this calls to mind the "choir of angels" -- always wondered about that. put aside dogma and i imagine a "symphony" of energy -- big bang -- which crescendo s as the uni or multiverse expands. eventually it will diminish and contract, collapse within, reach critical mass and . . . big bang. ALL THINGS CYCLE.
think that dude from india has a series of equations concerning this.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Ahh string theory... I know nothing about advanced mathematics and in general I'm just not intelligent enough to even begin to understand any of the strains of string theory (the ones I know of are bosonic string theory, string theory and superstring theory) or indeed verify if the theory is promising.

I do know a few things about string theory you might not have expected though. In the last years string theory has been popular in science documentaries like The Universe, but you have to understand is that the cool concepts are dramatized and the science is way watered down. I personally like Carl Sagan-style documentaries a lot more; they're a lot more informative and way, way less speculative.

This TV dramatization aside, string theory is actually not strictly a scientific theory. Scientific theories make predictions so the theory can be tested. String theory makes no predictions at all, so it can't be verified to be true or false.

Another problem with string theory is that it's a very messy equation. String theory is devised to conform to reality, no matter if very ugly mathematics are required to reach that goal. Usually a theory makes sense on itself and makes predictions about reality. String theory is rather modeled on the expectations. Essentially it started with a conclusion and then worked to that conclusion with math. This is a very backwards and a very wrong way of doing science. But the creators of string theory do know this. They wouldn't present it as true.

What's also rather problematic is that there isn't a single string theory. There are different strains of string theory, which begs the question: which one is at least the most credible theory?

And lastly, string theory is based on super symmetry. Leonard Susskind and Gerard 't Hooft are two main players of super symmetries and gauge theory and more of that weird stuff I actually don't understand. I recently read this article about dark energy. Scientists now think dark energy may be the same thing as the quantum vacuum. Apparently if this is the case, it suggests that super symmetry can't be real. I don't know why that is, but the article is credible. So if this is true, then perhaps string theory is in big trouble, because as far as I know super symmetry is an essential part of string theory.

In conclusion, right now string theory doesn't seem so important. I mean, I can imagine it advanced some other ideas in physics, but as a Theory of Everything, it seems to be failing.

Also, as far as we know the universe doesn't go through cycles of contraction and expansion. It only expands at an exponential rate. This is due to dark energy. The larger the universe, the more dark energy there is and the more the expansion of the universe accelerates. I can imagine it's still possible for the universe to go through a cyclic mechanism, but contraction seems impossible. For most of the 20th century indeed scientists believed the universe does contract, but in 1998 it was discovered the expansion of the universe accelerates rather than slowing down.

Thanks for the comment!
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:iconcskadoz:
cskadoz Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013   General Artist
still expanding. i prefer sagan too, much of the stuff seen today is based on WAGs (Wild Ass Guess).
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah. I also get really frustrated with the fact that everything is so dumbed down so every moron can understand it. In my opinion an astronomy/physics documentary shouldn't be for "every moron". All those ridiculous analogies they make. "A black hole is a bit like a kitchen sink". Dude... It's not like the analogy is applicable, either. A black hole is not actually a hole. It's a three-dimensional object. They wouldn't describe a neutron star as a sink either, so why do it with a black hole?
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:iconcskadoz:
cskadoz Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013   General Artist
:highfive: laughed my ass off when the dude on a scooter tried to demonstrate time vs lightspeed.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
I vaguely remember that. Isn't that the scene where this black scientist drives around in circles? Wasn't that about red shifting?

Ohh, do you remember the one where this scientist starts filling up these huge balloons with helium to show the relative sizes of a few specific stars like Rigel, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, VY Canis Majoris etc.? They wasted about 15 minutes on that while the 3D visuals worked way better and were way faster. In hindsight these things are pretty funny, but when I'm watching the documentary I actually get very angry.
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:iconcskadoz:
cskadoz Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013   General Artist
yeah, once about red shifting (circles) another about time contracting (straight down the side of a field)
hey, it's TV . . . what can you do but change channels?
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well, I should be ashamed because I downloaded the series. I guess I just wanted to see some stars.
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(1 Reply)
:iconmrwolfeconcoctions:
MrWolfeConcoctions Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
I've given a lot of thought to the idea of existence after death and before birth. For me it is based on a very unusual memory I can't account for. Something of a previous life I assume. But that's just it, I have virtually no recollection of any details about this past life if it is that. I'm going on the faith that it is for now.

I think there is a kind of transmigration of souls very much like energy. Would the same rules of entropy work on this transmigration? We lose our conscious memories when we die, that I'm certain of. But what if just a fraction of our memories are somehow carried over into our next lives assuming rebirth is real? Maybe my mind has invented this memory but to me it is very real and palpable. If the mind did invent it that is a very astonishing thing itself!

I'm pretty comfortable with whatever the answer may be at this point as I'm certain no one has a perfect picture of existence. I will continue to believe in a spiritual world though not in any scriptural way. I follow my own instinct on this and piece together new ideas of just what we are and how we fit in the cosmos.

cheers, friend! :)
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
A few years ago I saw a video of a little kid who has a memory of a past life and has been naming the place since he could talk. When he was a few years older his parents brought him to the place where supposedly he lived before and he recognized everything. I believe he lived somewhere in Ireland. I find stories like these fascinating, but I have no way to verify them. I also once saw a video of a man who claims he went to hell and back. So it seems more likely that these people either make stuff up for fame and money or they genuinely think it's real but their mind plays tricks with them. It takes a leap of faith to believe in these things, and I'm not willing to take that leap of faith.

I've never heard of a transmigration of souls. Why would you want to invoke entropy to this though?

But what if just a fraction of our memories are somehow carried over into our next lives assuming rebirth is real?
How though? When a part of the brain dies, part of your personality or memories—or whatever area is affected—dies. So how, when the brain is completely dead, could you suddenly take parts of your memory with you, subconscious or not? I wouldn't want to say this is absolutely impossible, but it seems extremely unlikely. I can't think of a physical mechanism in which this would be possible, anyway. You could bring up some weird principles like quantum entanglement, but that applies only to the quantum world and not to your memory.

If the mind did invent it that is a very astonishing thing itself!
Oh it definitely is! But then, we can demonstrate just how powerful the brain is and how easy it can deceive. In 2011 during a mentally unstable period I experienced two "time echoes" and skipping of time on my birthday. I have good reasons to believe my mind was playing tricks with me that day, although I must admit I have no idea why I experienced such things only on my birthday and never before or after. Without a doubt it will take some time to unravel all the mysteries of the brain and of (self-)consciousness.

I follow my own instinct on this and piece together new ideas of just what we are and how we fit in the cosmos.
I like to adhere to the scientific protocol so I don't usually deviate into the spiritual world, but I do leave plenty of room for speculation. It's fine to come up with new theories as long as you don't state any of it to be true without evidence to support it.

When it comes to philosophy for example, I'm just not intelligent enough to think up many of these things myself. And yet, when it comes to reality most of my theories I thought up myself and I later realized the (theoretical) physicists came up with the same theories and conclusions. Obviously my theories lack predictions and calculations and everything you need to have to devise a proper scientific hypothesis, but it's great to realize I'm generally not being too speculative, and my ideas are pretty much in line with the academic opinions.
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:iconmrwolfeconcoctions:
MrWolfeConcoctions Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
I need to add that when I say physics I mean the hefty stuff. I get general physics but the moment the words "String" and "Theory" are put together I make this face... :iconderpplz:
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
Haha I get what you mean. I'm obsessed with cosmology and astronomy and all that so I understand some of the principles, but I don't have a deep understanding. I'm an amateur planet hunter but beyond that I really couldn't consider myself a scientist. I suck at mathematics for starters, so I certainly don't understand such things as string theory, super symmetry, gauge theory, quantum cosmology etc.
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MrWolfeConcoctions Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
Astronomy is great stuff. My youngest has recently taken a liking to it. My grandpa worked for NASA for years and somewhere in our stash of cooler memorabilia are some papers signed by Wernher Von Braun.

My math skills have improved drastically over the last five years but I'm still nothing better than an amateur. But I'm learning slowly and happily.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
Fascinating! I think the stars and planets easily speak to a child's imagination. When I was around 10 I was absolutely fascinated with our solar system. I don't exactly know why this fascination left me for some years, but then in my late teens it came back, intensely.

Are you working towards a certain goal when it comes to math? I can easily calculate percentages and basic stuff like that, but a particle physics lecture by Leonard Susskind I don't follow.
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:iconmrwolfeconcoctions:
MrWolfeConcoctions Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well I want to learn more into differential geometry. For the moment I'm working my way through calculus and brushing up on algebra.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
Is it just a hobby or is there a specific field you want to contribute to?
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:iconmrwolfeconcoctions:
MrWolfeConcoctions Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
I realize a rant on theology vs. science would be inevitable at this point so I'm going to try to spare us both that torture. :XD:

So I'll tell you where I stand as best I can. I'm not a very good theologian. At best I can say I've read the Bible and Hindu scriptures because I'm curious about religion. This does not mean I'm religious. Just curious. Currently I'm reading through that ever so dangerous of Holy books the Qur'an. It's fascinating but I'm not finding anything more than another person's claim on truth.

If science is anything it is the opposite of truth because it does not claim to be perfect. Dogma claims truth. Instead science refines theories through experiment and thorough grinding fingers to the bones doing research. If it claims to have even an ounce of truth there will be plenty of people willing to question, criticize, scrutinize, and break down the theory till all that is left is a weeping distraught scientist with scattered papers.

Look at what happened with the Piltdown man when that WASN'T the case! Nobody bothered to question it and it took 50 years (I think that's the length of time) to be revealed as a hoax. Talk about an embarrassment to the scientific community. Now we understand human evolution better than ever before and have tossed Piltdown Man with its cousin phrenology. It's true many fundamentalist Christians will gladly attack any and all theories pertaining to evolution, but then this is a group of people who already have the truth as far as they're concerned. Questioning validity and established "Truths" is what science is all about, yes?

I used the term Transmigration of the Soul because I like the ring of it. It's an old term and probably very outdated. So why do I keep it? Simply because it explains something I believe in and because I'm a word nerd.

I appreciate science but understand it as much as it pertains to botany, zoology, geology and math. Beyond that I'm relatively ignorant and hope you'll forgive that. This is not to say I'm exclusive to these, it's just I haven't braved the frontiers of physics yet.

I take a big leap of faith believing in spirituality. But it is not without reason. In my life I've experienced things I can't explain and to supplement this I've taken a liking to spirituality. But it is always changing. To say truth would only be on my own personal level of understanding. No one else has to believe what I do and if they did I might suggest they seek professional help. :)
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MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
At best I can say I've read the Bible and Hindu scriptures because I'm curious about religion. This does not mean I'm religious.
I was obsessed with esoteric Christian theology and Jewish mysticism in my late teens but I never believed. Without a doubt religions offer a lot of fascinating stories and food for thought. I can't see anything more than that though. I definitely can't understand why people would think the Bible for example is a moral book. I've read only parts of the Torah and I never got to the Qur'an so I can't judge those books completely, but I did read the Zohar, which is as far as I understood it a moral compilation book from the Torah. I really liked the Zohar.

If science is anything it is the opposite of truth because it does not claim to be perfect.
That's really flawed reasoning. Indeed science is not about absolutes, but to say it's the opposite of truth just because it doesn't deal with absolutes, that's odd. Dogma indeed claims truth, but doesn't actually offer truth. Well, subjective truth, and that's the danger.

If it claims to have even an ounce of truth there will be plenty of people willing to question, criticize, scrutinize, and break down the theory till all that is left is a weeping distraught scientist with scattered papers.
I think you might be fundamentally misunderstanding science. Indeed, a scientific theory is questioned, criticized and all that, but that's exactly why science works. It's not about personal opinions, experience or anecdotes. A hypothesis is devised and tested and the findings are published for peer review. Then the process of criticism and scrutiny begins, and only when the hypothesis survives this process will it become a scientific theory. If after that process all that is left is a weeping distraught scientist with scattered papers, then it just wasn't a prevailing scientific theory and it won't be part of science.

Talk about an embarrassment to the scientific community.
Ohh it definitely was. Sufficed to say the scientific protocol was seriously ignored here. I never said there is no pseudo-science. We're dealing with humans with big egos after all. Although this hoax was a definite embarrassment for the scientific community, the fact that the hoax was exposed is a victory. It only shows that science works, IF the standard procedure is followed.

It's true many fundamentalist Christians will gladly attack any and all theories pertaining to evolution, but then this is a group of people who already have the truth as far as they're concerned. Questioning validity and established "Truths" is what science is all about, yes?
The scientific community is glad that people don't take all science for granted and are willing to question it. What the scientific community doesn't appreciate however is this endless debate with people who:
1. Mostly fundamentally misunderstand science
2. Most of the times don't have a PhD in any relevant subject they're criticizing
3. Assert things to be true without evidence
4. Misinterpret evidence because they first drew a conclusion and THEN selected (only) the evidence which supports their conclusion and ignore the rest
These kind of people can't be reasoned with and the debate is entirely fruitless. I wonder why science is being attacked constantly without valid reasons; you wouldn't walk up to a barber or whatever profession and assert you're better at cutting hair than the barber, so it's odd this DOES happen constantly when it regards some of the most advanced fields of study there is. It's not for nothing that it takes years to study science. Not only are the specific fields difficult, but you also have to learn how science itself works.

I take a big leap of faith believing in spirituality. But it is not without reason. In my life I've experienced things I can't explain and to supplement this I've taken a liking to spirituality.
I think it's quite fair to say everyone has strange experiences like that. When I was younger I saw shadows and felt people which weren't there. Perhaps the logical thing to do is to believe in ghosts, but I have my reasons why I don't. First off, when I really think about what ghosts could be (while ignoring what ghosts are supposed to be according to myths and movies), I have to conclude that half of the stuff which makes up the myths are very illogical. I wouldn't say there are no ghosts (I'm not fond of absolutes), but I've personally theorized about ghosts being reflections from an alternate dimension and things like that. It's all very speculative though and I certainly wouldn't actually "believe" in this just because it sounds logical. Actually, I've dismissed the existence of ghosts, not completely but for me personally. If there is such a thing as a ghost (whatever it is) then science should eventually be able to explain it. Until then, I simply can't get into it too deep. As for personal experiences, I'm aware the brain can so easily delude itself. That's in fact why the scientific protocol is devised. Science can't prove everything, which is why we have philosophy. I would consider some theological claims to be somewhat philosophical or metaphysical. I certainly think it's relevant to think about these subjects and explore unrevealed terrain, but it does annoy me when someone claims an absolute truth when:
1. The person asserts truth rather than proves it
2. There are no absolute truths to begin with. Not in science, nor anywhere else.

But it is always changing. To say truth would only be on my own personal level of understanding.
I think this is only human. It definitely applies to scientists as well. I believe about 30% of scientists in America is religious. I think it's fine to have personal truths or delusions as long you don't bring that to work. A scientist has to follow the evidence wherever it goes, and sometimes you don't like what you find but you have to accept it.

I must also say, I think if we were only to listen to what people of authority have verified, then I think you will stagnate intellectual progress and advocate ignorance. It's very important to remain skeptical, and certainly to explore yourself. I'm certainly not against exploring spirituality, or any other field of study or general experience.
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:iconmrwolfeconcoctions:
MrWolfeConcoctions Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
I do think I understand science even if only on a fundamental level. It may be I'm not wording my ideas well enough. My opinion is simply this, taking science for granted is not understanding it. It's lazy to me not to question something established. Otherwise how can you know it really works?

It really bears down to the definition of truth for me. Dogmatic truth has already made up its mind about what it is and therefore questioning its authority is a big no no. In science if you want to get anywhere you have to start by assuming nothing and asking questions.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
Ahh I was speaking generally. It didn't really become clear to me how you understand science and spirituality, but there were just some things I wanted to make clear.

I don't think taking science for granted inherently equates to not understanding it, but I did make the point that science is based on skepticism and it's indeed good to question everything, including science. That's quite different from merely having an opinion about scientific theories though. Creationists simply have no ground to stand on.

Dogmatic truth has already made up its mind about what it is and therefore questioning its authority is a big no no
Well, according to dogma itself. It's careful to protect itself that way. That doesn't mean that dogmatic truth is the highest truth available. As I said before, reality simply doesn't work with absolutes. It's not only a matter about getting evidence for the existence of God, but the things which are preached within the dogma simply aren't consistent with reality.
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