Friday, April 22, 2011
A Quantum Interlude
Here is little excerpt from The Quantum Portrait of Dorian Grey for your Earth Day enjoyment.
The universe goes on just not your universe
“There is no reason to think that our technological society is going to last. We assume that it will but what is that assumption based on? This belief is the very basis of your job. Vigilance will ensure our survival. We all have bias and we all have built in flaws in our logic that we have to recognize. Your’s are preventing you from really hearing what I am saying to you. You are listening and making listening noises but you have dismissed me as crazy and are now busy thinking about disengagement.” He smiled at the man having arrived inquisitor transformed to confessor.
“I’ll give you an example. I was doing some surfing and came across something that confirmed my own bias towards experts and forced me to confront it. I encounter this type of thing all too often unfortunately. A noted popular culture elite was on about the end of evolution in humans. The man is a clever writer and seems to know a lot about physics but as a biologist he makes a good plumber.”
The agent got a puzzled look on his face at the long outdated colloquialism. “OK you have my attention. What the fuck are you talking about?”
Keith picked up the tale without missing a beat. This had been building in him for months and now it all had to come out. “I know a little about a lot of things and a lot about a few and every time some one I think knows about things ventures into the area that I know a lot about they have shown remarkable ignorance of a subject that they are speaking about. In this case a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution. He was extrapolating our technological culture to the world of nature and trying to claim that selection pressures had been erased by technology. That idea alone is sort of dubious but it ignores the evidence based nature of science. Snips occur at a regular rate and these snips are the random changes in the DNA that allows for the modification in descent with modification. His statement is easy to check, is the rate of change in DNA changing in any way and is it slowing down? I can find no data to show any rate changes so he is talking out of his ass and yet has no clue that he is and so those of us with a bias toward authority tend to believe what it is they are saying. I am rambling but this is my point there is no reason to think that in a thousand years we will not be back to a culture of hunter gathering and all our tech crumbled if there are Hominids at all.
I think about my luck every day to some extent. To have lived in a time when I can read and study the great knowledge of the world from an obscure room in an obscure corner of the universe. One looks at the pattern and think it has a purpose and a direction. When the climate destabilizes to a level that much of the world becomes inhabitable what keeps society from being destroyed. I don’t want to predict a dystopian future but there is certainly no reason for it not to happen.
The reason some of those biases have hung around is that they are sometimes beneficial. When the Doctor first told me about the cameras and the whole finite number of, “Many Worlds” things my bias allowed me to listen to him and buy in. For you the crazy dude in the sewer bias is doing just the opposite.
Nick had seated himself across from the bearded man and for the first time since the dude had spoken the words, “Extra Dimensional Apocalypse” he began to pay attention to the man. Even if he was nutty as an almond joy bar he was telling the story well and this was a hell of a tale.