cormac murphy

Dublin, Ireland

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cormac murphy
Posted almost 3 years ago
Reading science fiction for a more critical view of our society?
I think Science Fiction plays a part in society that Religion played in earlier times. It is a way for us to extrapolate from our current world into possible futures that are unmeasurable or predictable. If it was measurable or predictable it would be science. The Church is trying to get back in the game -- here is a direct quote from Benedict's Regensburg address, reckoned to be his most important speech so far -- while speaking about the centrality of reason to christianity he says... "The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith." The overcoming of the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable is exactly what good science fiction attempts to do.
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cormac murphy
Posted almost 3 years ago
Sean Carroll: Distant time and the hint of a multiverse
Seans dismissal of the idea of us being a random fluctuation is based on an assertion that we find ourselves in an environment which is not minimal for us to exist. Therefore since a more minimal environment is more likely than where we find ourselves, and since we are not there, then we are not a fluctuation and time and other people truly exist. I disagree... For us to be in a low entropy region of spacetime we must exist in a timestream at some finite timescale since the beginning of it all (since entropy only goes forward). The idea that we are a finite distance from any beginning point is much less tidy than us occuring at any point in infinite time, the need for special conditions are always worrying. It is simpler to imagine our state as emerging as a random fluctuation from a maximally entropic universe/multiverse at any point in the 10^100^120 years or longer. I argue that your state (reader) as you read this is the only "thing" that need emerge from the random fluctuations. You in your instantaneous state do not have a past or a future, your memories of what you think of as the past are embedded in your current state -- they need not have truly happened. Indeed it is much less likely that they did happen than that they are a feature of the current "instant". A single instant has less order than a whole sequence of instants. Therefore there is no need for a timestream, it is simpler for this instantaneous state to emerge fully formed from the aether (maximally entropic multiverse), to "be" and then to disappear. All that ever exists or will exist is the instance during which YOU read this word ---- NOW.