Sunday, February 8, 2009

MicroBlog Mondays!

This is most concise explanation of the Large Hadron Collider I've yet seen. Sooooo cool. Incidentally, this largest of scientific instruments, ever, is in a very real sense, the most powerful microscope on Earth!

I'm just in awe constantly when it comes to the universe. That it takes an instrument so large people work inside of it, that crosses two countries (even though I suppose a telephone booth could do that too), and so powerful (so much so that the LHC can't be run in winter: they wouldn't have enough power to heat the city of Geneva!!) to "see" not just the smallest things in the universe, but perhaps the smallest things possible in the universe, is just amazing in its strangeness, and complexity, and such profound mystery.

A cool thing about being an atheist is not having any kind of mythological indoctrination for the origin of the universe. The sheer dread mystery of its beginnings, and even if there was another universe before ours, of different physical laws perhaps. A creationist arguement is that the fundamental constants are too exquisitely tuned for life to be chance (the nontheist rebuttal, that if we're here talking about them, then the constants of the universe couldn't be any different, we're possible, and here because of the constants, the constants are not here because of us, has the same virtue as the creation arguement: it only convinces the side it's coming from) doesn't take into account that, true, if you change just one value of one of the constants then life becomes far more unlikely, if not impossible, but different combinations of values might yield universes where "life" might indeed arise, and our universe may not be the first and only universe.

Interesting note about the Jewish creation story: it's different than most other myths in that it's so...procedural. Other myths have great beasts battling, pantheons of gods warring, gods and goddesses dying to become the universe: genesis is almoat a to-do list. Not judging, but it lacks drama and narrative drive. Does show the Jewish penchant for exacting rites and ritual, the character of their god, no wonder they have a thousand damn laws in the old testament, lol.

1 comment:

Nick Mangine said...

I think the drama of the Genesis creation story comes not from the creation of the world, but from the creation, and subsequent fall, of man.

It makes sense if think about it. God's all powerful and perfect. Not much drama there. We supply the drama.