petak, 26. travnja 2013.

Nothingness - Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate 2013

Snimka 2,5-satne rasprave istaknutih znanstvenika o postojanju ništavila. Prilično filozofično.

For 14 years now, the American Museum of Natural History has hosted the Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate – an annual meeting of scientific and philosophical minds, held in honor of one of modern history's most formidable intellects. The debates are always fantastic, but this year's topic – the existence of nothing – proved particularly compelling. This year's debate participants included theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, Princeton astrophysicist J. Richard Gott, veteran science journalists Jim Holt and Charles Seife, and Stanford physicist Eve Silverstein. The whole shebang is presided over and moderated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, spans close to two hours, and covers subjects ranging from space time to string theory.
The conversations are pretty fantastic, delving into deep scientific, religious and philosophical topics with a degree of intensity that only a subject as nebulous as nothingness can engender. -

Holt considers Leibniz and the invention of the calculus as a radical turning point in the history of science and philosophy:
The crucial notion of the calculus is the notion of the infinitesimal — the infinitely small. And what is the infinitesimal? It’s not nothing — but it’s not quite something, either. It somehow mediates between finitude and nothingness. … You have to have a temperamental attraction to dangerous ideas, and the infinitesimal is considered to be an extremely dangerous idea, and there was a great resistance to the calculus because of it.
One apparent universal the panel points out is the ubiquity of creation myths across civilizations, bespeaking some fundamental human need to understand how nothing became something — but Holt points to a curious exception:
The creation myth is always about how the world we live in came into existence. … There’s an Amazon tribe called the Pirahã, who are the only civilization known that doesn’t have any creation myth at all. When they ask about the world, they say, “It’s always been like this.”
But the soundbite of the night comes from Tyson himself, in answering an audience question about science vs. religion — which is really a meditation on the fundamentals of critical thinking and what science is:
There can be alternatives that are not always religious. That’s an interesting false dichotomy that’s often set up: If it’s not this, it must be religious. No: If it’s not this, it could be other stuff you haven’t thought of yet. You can’t assert an answer just because it’s not something else. That’s a false argument that’s been made throughout time, and the better scientists that move forward never assume anything just because one thing is wrong. -
Prethodne Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate:

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