Enter "The Matrix": Reality is but a holographic projection

I thought about writing a Naturalistic Fairy Tale about this, but I have far too much material for future editions of that. We now turn to a recent claim of scientists, and that is “Our

Which will you choose?

Which will you choose?

world may be a giant hologram.”(1) Wow, break out your copies of The Matrix.

I think perhaps some of these physicists could team up with biologists to make the Red vs. the Blue pill. Which would you take?  I’ll go ahead and take the red pill to wake up from this false world of naturalistic fantasy. As an aside, I don’t think I noticed that prominent scar between Morpheus’ eyebrows previously.  I wonder what that means?

Let us consult the edges of the Universe. Seriously.  The folks set up a pretty expensive experiment to examine Einstein’s theoretical notion of gravity waves.  Little did they know, there was a glitch in The Matrix.

For many months, the GEO600 team-members had been scratching their heads over inexplicable noise that is plaguing their giant detector. Then, out of the blue, a researcher approached them with an explanation. In fact, he had even predicted the noise before he knew they were detecting it. According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time – the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into “grains”, just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. “It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time,” says Hogan.

So far so good? How about this?

If this doesn’t blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab’s Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: “If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram.”

Have I ever told you that I love Sci-Fi? That’s a rhetorical question, I know I have. But, right now I’m absolutely itching to watch The Matrix again (By the way, the first one is by far the best). So, supposedly, according to this theory, the edges of the spherical universe are amplified somehow so that the tiniest aspects of time are observable in the interior of the Universe. This has been previously thought to be well beyond the realm of possibility.

The “holographic principle” challenges our sensibilities. It seems hard to believe that you woke up, brushed your teeth and are reading this article because of something happening on the boundary of the universe. No one knows what it would mean for us if we really do live in a hologram, yet theorists have good reasons to believe that many aspects of the holographic principle are true.

I know what it means, I want the Red Pill right now. I just hope I don’t wake up at the edge of the Universe with no oxygen. Supposedly, they are upgrading their detector gadget, and this will help them to know if we really are in a giant hologram. This will also allegedly allow them to possibly falsify other theories associated with string theory (you know, more unmeasurable/unobservable aspects of the Universe). They do all the usual disclaimers about how this is very preliminary (so that you do not think they are completely crazy), and say that “more research is needed.” Until then, I’ll have to be satisfied with watching The Matrix.

Hogan agrees that if the holographic principle is confirmed, it rules out all approaches to quantum gravity that do not incorporate the holographic principle. Conversely, it would be a boost for those that do – including some derived from string theory and something called matrix theory. “Ultimately, we may have our first indication of how space-time emerges out of quantum theory.” As serendipitous discoveries go, it’s hard to get more ground-breaking than that. (emphasis added)

Oh, I almost forgot, they like a 5 dimensional view of the Universe,(2) but noted it may be shaped like a Pringle. Even better!

(1). Our world may be a giant hologram, New Scientist
(2). The Five Dimensions: A Creation Science Cosmology Theory

On Challenging Assumptions

I think all good science employs a basic concept.  That is challenging the assumptions of other theories.  Intelligent Design challenges the assumption that life could arise solely from natural processes.  Creation science challenges the assumptions of the uniformitarian views of the Earth and the Universe.

The case of Gregor Mendel1 is a case in point.

At first Mendel’s work was rejected, and it was not widely accepted until after he died. The common belief at the time was that Darwin‘s theory of pangenes were responsible for inheritance. The modern synthesis uses Mendelian genetics.

So, here is one example of how challenging evolutionary assumptions advances science in a way that is applicable and beneficial to society.  Mendel’s work was not highly regarded at the time.  The scientific consensus was against him.  But what has history shown?

Einstein also challenged consensus and contemporary notions.2

His paper on the particulate nature of light put forward the idea that certain experimental results, notably the photoelectric effect, could be simply understood from the postulate that light interacts with matter as discrete “packets” (quanta) of energy, an idea that had been introduced by Max Planck in 1900 as a purely mathematical manipulation, and which seemed to contradict contemporary wave theories of light (Einstein 1905a). This was the only work of Einstein’s that he himself called “revolutionary.

Louis Pasteur challenged widely accepted notions of abiogenesis.3

Louis demonstrated that the fermentation process is caused by the growth of microorganisms, and that the growth of microorganisms in nutrient broths is not due to spontaneous generation but rather to biogenesis (Omne vivum ex ovo).

So, for me, the moral of the story is that you must always question the basic assumptions in science. Intelligent Design theory and Creation science do that very well in my opinion.

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendel
2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Pasteur

On the Public Educational System

I admit to being a bit odd in high school–I talked to my fellow students about the theory of relativity.  I was planning on being a theoretical physicist, a computer scientist, or an engineer.  I was actually interested some books that were in the library (yes High Schools have libraries).  I lived in the sticks, so there were only about 10 rows.  I didn’t find much of interest int he school library.  However, when I was 16, I took a computer science class at a local community college.  After attending the first few classes, the instructor told me that it was useless for me to attend further except on exam dates.  After the first exam, he told me that my grade would only be based on my class project and that I did not have to attend further unless I wanted to.  My class project ended up being the class project.  And for the next 8 years, students were assigned sections of computer code that I had written and were required to provide an explanation for what the code did.

Thus, I deemed computer science to be rather useless as an educational pursuit.  However, while in the college, I did numerous searches in the college library system.  I read numerous books where Einstein and Freud were the topics, as well as one book that was a collection of correspondences between Einstein and Freud.  I read about cosmology.  I read about theoretical physics.  But when you get right down to it, I was interested in the “ultimate questions.”  Why are we here?  How did we get here?  How did the universe begin?  What is the nature of the universe?  And so forth.

What did I discover?   From a naturalistic perspective, I discovered nothing more than fairy tales.  Einstein believed in some kind of God, but because of a conversation with an uniformed priest, continued believing in an uninvolved god.  Freud was an atheist, despite admitting several personal aspects that led to his atheism.

So, what was to be concluded with my early experience with the public educational system?  What I ended up concluding was that the ultimate questions come down to issues of faith, and are very personal.  Since that time, 17 years ago, I have not found anything to contradict my earlier conclusions.