#191 The Curious Case of the External World

#191 The Curious Case of the External World

Today’s comic is inspired by (or stolen from) a conversation with the fabulous Sarah Lesson; all rights for the philosophical moniker “The Curious Case of the External World” belong solely to her. If you haven’t already checked out her wonderful blog of random irrelevancies, you really should!


Discussion (12)¬

  1. EssBee says:

    You’re so ethical, citing me like that. Fair warning, though: I will steal scraps of our conversations and use them for my own purposes with no reference to you. Once you say something out in the world it becomes public property. Unless you call a patent on it or something, in that case I’ll give you props. Anyway… I love how happy Nester is that Gabe concedes his point. Yay!

  2. chaospet says:

    Thanks for the warning! I will now be sure to call patent on my contributions to every remotely interesting or funny conversation that we have.

  3. Emil says:

    Don’t you automatically have copyright to anything you uttered? I know that your laws already automatically grant copyright to private emails! These laws are crazy.

  4. Canuovea says:

    Guess what? I’ve heard some interesting news.

    Hawking published a book and he claims to have solved the “Quizzical question of creation”

    He claims that the universe, or the beginnings of it, appeared spontaneously etc etc etc. He also slags philosophy (as if it were closely linked to religion, which, in some ways I suppose it is). He has a scientific reason for the creation of the universe with no God required.

    Maybe take a look at some things he has to say: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704206804575467921609024244.html

  5. wm tanksley says:

    I did see that, Canuovea. It sounds to me like Hawking’s book will be fairly mathematical in nature, so we’ll have to see what it says. If he’s releasing a new theory, though, it would be a disappointment, since that means he’s decided to forgo peer review.

    His previous work was centered around the topic of M-theory, a subject which contains room for a pseudo-eternal multiverse. A brutally terse summary might be that M-theory randomly generates a LOT of universes without the timelike properties this one has; one of them randomly happens to have a 2-dimensional time (as we discussed previously); that 2d (and thus eternal) universe happens to spawn this universe with its 1-dimensional time.

    This conjecture nicely provides for a purely physical origin of the universe that complies with known laws.

    The only imaginable reply at this point (with no released details) is that this explanation is not scientific, although it uses apparatus otherwise used for science. M-theory is a fascinating structure, but it’s so complex and flexible that nobody’s ever built a null hypothesis, much less an experiment, to test whether or not it’s true. M-theory can describe literally anything. Hawking would have us assume that some unspecified (so far) subtheory of M-theory is correct, but we don’t know whether M-theory is even possible.

    -Wm

  6. chaospet says:

    From what I’ve read about the book, Hawking is indeed drawing from his and others’ recent work on M-theory. I’ll have to pick the book up, I’m interested in seeing how this argument is supposed to go. I’ve also read that he declares in his introduction that “Philosophy is dead”; I hope he’s wrong about at least that much.

  7. wm tanksley says:

    I’ve seen that sort of claim a LOT before… Do you think they’re actually trying to warn us that Philosophy is some kind of zombie?

  8. Emil says:

    For a completely unrelated comment, the new subheader (is that what it is called?) is nice:

    Now updated every day that it is updated

    😀

  9. chaospet says:

    Emil, I try to be as informative as possible. 😉

  10. chrims says:

    I’m feelin it

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  12. Emil says:

    Now updated every day that it is updated, except that it isn’t!