A little more than a year ago, I decided to step away from social networks. It's time now to look back at that year, and count all the ways this was a positive or negative change. Spoiler: it was ALL GOOD.
Yesterday I uninstalled the Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn apps from all my devices and I closed the tabs I had pinned on my computer. I didn't delete my accounts, but I'm drastically changing how I'll use those services going forward. I'm doing this for a number of reasons that I'll explain in this post. It's not because I'm better than thou, but because I hope I can convince you to do the same.
Spoiler Alert: this post contains huge spoilers about the end of the TV show Devs.
Devs, starring Sonoya Mizuno, Nick Offerman, Alison Pill and other wonderful actors, is an amazing and aesthetically impeccable story that relies heavily on modern interpretations of quantum mechanics. You don't need to understand QM to enjoy the show, it's already fantastic even if you don't, but man does it have layers... An understanding of quantum mechanics certainly enhances the experience and allows you to understand the story in a much deeper fashion. I'll attempt to be your guide in this incredible journey.
Few things push my buttons like sanctimonious “love the sinner, hate the sin” declarations. The very concept of sin is a cancer that rots the mind. It is the substitution of morality with dogma. Take homosexuality. There is no moral argument to be made against it. Many have tried, and it always comes down to subjective ickiness, religion, or both. It takes religion to transform an act of love into an “abomination”, to tell people who they are is bad and that they must fight it, which means fighting against themselves. All this, even when they are harming nobody.
The multiverse hypothesis is that what we used to see as the Universe (which is supposed to be all that there is) may be part of something larger, that includes other universes like, or unlike our own. This is not a hypothesis that was proposed to conveniently solve the Anthropic paradox (we don’t know why the Universe can support life at all whereas it could be a lot more hostile and sterile than it already is, as far as we can tell). It does solve that problem, but wasn’t proposed for that reason. It emerges, actually, in four different forms, as a necessary consequence of scientific theories for which we have very good evidence. Some levels of multiverse are more controversial than others, of course, but in this post, I want to bring forward another argument in favor of multiverses, based on symmetry.
The past two days have been nerve wracking for the French, and for friends of freedom of speech. We’ve all been floored by the savagery of the attacks, but it’s been heartwarming to see support messages from all over the world, as well as the extraordinary unity of the French people overall, including the Muslim community and clergy, as well as all other confessions (but of course, let’s not fool ourselves, there are already brain-dead violent reactions against the whole Muslim community, which is exactly the sort of division the terrorists are trying to create).
Correlation is not causation. How many times have we heard that sentence? Too many times maybe, because we seem to be mithridatized by it. Nowadays, it seems like it’s nothing more than an easy way to discard inconvenient facts. It is true that correlation is not causation, but what does that mean?
In yesterday’s post, I explained how during my whole time as a physics student, I’ve never seen an example of a religious claim, positive or negative, creeping into the science teaching. It’s not that physical science is inconsequential to religious claims, it’s not. However, religion is off-topic in a science class, and there is only a conflict if someone brings religion into the classroom.
Here’s a great example of projection: many members of the religious right in the US are convinced that non-religious universities are indoctrination centers for the far left and atheism. Case in point, my fellow blogger Ambrose writes:
The reason that higher education in the sciences and philosophy purportedly reduces religious belief has as much to do with contemporary popular antitheistic indoctrination in those fields as any supposed increase in knowledge, much less baseline intelligence.