TED Conversations

Emily Baker

The Institute of Art and Ideas

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Can science uncover the origin of everything?

I started thinking about this when I came across this quote by Einstein:

“It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.”

And then I found this talk about the boundaries between science and philosophy when it comes to explaining the universe and nothingness:


So what do you think? Can science satisfy our craving for knowledge about our origins? Or would it be too dry? Do we need to hang on to a part of mystery?


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    Apr 23 2013: Let's say for arguments sake that you have nothing. What is contained in this situation that will allow you to alter your situation?

    0 + 0 = 0

    The way I see it something has to exist to alter any situation. If something cannot come from nothing then something must have always existed.
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      Apr 23 2013: Would a single star cast a shadow?
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        Apr 23 2013: Sounds poetic. What are you implying?
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          Apr 23 2013: i guess i am implying that it would, So when the light travels back to its source how would that single star interpret it own light coming back to it's self?

          "Well I would trust that the Dean is educated enough to understand Einstein's point that any ray of light ( a straight line ) send out will eventually return to its origin and therefore he would understand that there are no "straight lines"" ~Ed Schulte
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      Apr 23 2013: You are correct metaphysically. Cognition, for example needs differentiation to come into existence. If there is only one being/thing and nothing outside of it, it cannot have cognition.
      But physically, something can come from nothing.
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        Apr 23 2013: Simply stating it as a fact is not proof.

        0 + 0 = 0. This is a fact.

        Neither Richard Dawkins nor any other person is an authority on where things come from or how they came into being.
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          Apr 24 2013: Are you referring to Lawrence's talk? If you are, I am surprised. Because to say some one is just stating a fact without proof for over 2 hours and in front of number of people in an audience which does not look like baseball fans to me, one has to assume some serious gullibility going there.
          0+0=0 is a mathematical triviality.
          I think you did not notice that I am not impressed with authority. I can listen to what a person is saying (Lawrence in this video) and see if it sounds authentic.
        • Apr 24 2013: 0 + 0 = 0 = 5 - 5 = x*0 = (x+y)*0 = x^0 - 1 = ......................

          Strange... I can do a lot of things which are facts which disagree with your limited view on math.
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          Apr 24 2013: Welcome Richard K :) I can see what you are doing. You are making a wild guess about views. I think I have seen this before.
      • Apr 24 2013: Which guess do I make?

        I just show that John M is wrong in saying that you can't ever "get something" from "nothing". And he is even further off by using math to 'prove' his point.

        If you need to "create" something from "nothing" you just end up with the something and its negative creation.
        In math you can even do stranger stuff than that if you wish....

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