Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Dawkins: Universe too queer to grasp

From the BBC:

Professor [Richard - Author of 'The Selfish Gene' ] Dawkins ... in a session called Meme Power, explored the ways in which humans invent their own realities to make sense of the infinitely complex worlds they are in; worlds made more complex by ideas such as quantum physics which is beyond most human understanding.

"Are there things about the Universe that will be forever beyond our grasp, in principle, ungraspable in any mind, however superior?" he asked.

Because different species live in different models of the world, there was a discomforting variety of real worlds, he suggested.

...[O]ur brains thought about things in order to help us navigate our "middle sized" world - the medium scale environment - a world in which we cannot see individual atoms.
He concluded with the thought that if he could re-engineer his brain in any way he would make himself a genius mathematician.

You've gotta love Richard Dawkins, this is a view I've held since my days as a Philosophy student, but I could never express it as eloquently as that. Why should we expect to be able to understand the niceties of things that never enter into our concrete experience?

The idea of Bounded Rationality is also quite enlightening when considering the frailties of the human mind.

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