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Cap'n Jack Sarfatti I am surprised that Stephen cites M-Theory as the basis for his current book because M-Theory is not a real physics theory. Even M-Theorists admit it is merely a hope they have faith in. For the issues see Lee Smolin's "The Trouble With Physics." Lee is himself an M-Theorist. M-Theory is simply string non-theory with an extra dimension 11 instead of 10.
Stephen's co-author is seriously ignorant when he says there is no physics of consciousness.
Deepak and the Jesuit have won the debate as it were in my opinion.

I do agree with Stephen, however, on the politics and the need of space-exploration.

More details on how Grand Design is much too limited can be found at http://stardrive.org/

Stephen Hawking: Now and Then
larrykinglive.blogs.cnn.com
By Michael Watts LKL Producer I’ve been a producer on “Larry King Live” for almost 12 years, and I’m frequently asked, “what’s your coolest experience?” The stock answer: producing Stephen Hawking.
'bout 11 turn o' yer hourglass ago · Weigh in · Arr! · Blabber t' yer mates
Robert A. Cook, Marcus Verwiebe and Sheila Williams be eyin' this with pleasure.


Nur Mohammed Kamu Not being expert in this field, i strongly advocate this type of book to popularize science & physics , shaking the world to learn honoring the opiniön of scientist rather than .... Whatever degree of mistakes there in-
'bout 9 turn o' yer hourglass ago · Arr! · 


John Gribbin But there are so many better books! Try Paul Davies or Martin Rees.
'bout 6 turn o' yer hourglass ago · Arr! · 


Eric M Hodge Dr. Sarfatti: You say in your post that "Even M-Theorists admit it is merely a hope they have faith in". Which M-Theorists say that? Are you quoting Lee Smolin alone, or is there a consensus among M-Theorists that M-Theory isn't really a theory?

Further question: What makes it not really a theory? Is it the lack of directly observable evidence? From what I am reading of Duff and Witten it seems sound on a mathematical level, but I am just a layman.

'bout 6 turn o' yer hourglass ago · Arr! · 


Robert A. Cook I'm not a physicist either, but I wondered the same thing when I saw that Stephen Hawking had apparently endorsed M-theory.

Eric, technically, it's a hypothesis, not a theory. I wish people (especially scientists) would use the correct terms, because confusing the vocabulary only gives ammunition to fundamentalists who say, "Evolution is just a theory."

Theories are PROVEN. Hypotheses aren't.


My understanding of M-theo... er, the M-hypothesis... is that it's quite elegant. Apparently it has a shot at Grand Unification: something that physicists have been searching for since Einstein. Mathematically, it reportedly works. It ties everything up in a neat little bundle, whereas there had been debate over which of several sets of equations using only ten dimensions were correct. But, the M-hypothesis has yet to be experimentally proven.

Did I get that right, Jack?

'bout 4 turn o' yer hourglass ago · Arr! · 


Justin Smith You can give a very mechanistic definition of consciousness: tendency to respond to stimuli, internal or external. Of course, this doesn't capture our experience of consciousness, but is useful for some physical arguments. For instance, in the many worlds version of QM, this explains why one isn't consciousness of all the "other" portions of oneself in "other worlds": their influence is below the threshold of human neurons.
'bout 4 turn o' yer hourglass ago · Arr! ·  1 pirate · 


Robert A. Cook I don't buy mechanistic explanations for consciousness. They're as faith-based as any other doctrine. I have no doubt that physical, chemical and electrical processes in the brain mirror the "spookier" realm of awareness, but saying that they PRODUCE awareness is quite a different matter. "As above, so below" -- it's not just a concept for moonbats and tinfoil-hatters; it is simply common sense.
'bout 4 turn o' yer hourglass ago · Arr! · 


Justin Smith I didn't say consciousness is mechanical. For the sake of discussions in physics, one can give a mechanical definition.

As for what I actually believe: I believe consciousness is a fundamental property of everything that exists (a la the Seth Material).

'bout 4 turn o' yer hourglass ago · Arr! ·  1 pirate · 


Robert A. Cook Same here, Justin. Actually, I didn't think you were saying it was mechanical. I was agreeing and reinforcing what you said, not arguing. I could have phrased my response better, though. Just putting the word "either" at the end of my first sentence would've helped.
'bout 3 turn o' yer hourglass ago · Arr! · 


Nur Mohammed Kamu Gribbin sir, with very high respect towards Paul Davies , Martin and you , the truth is that people care most Hawkins . This populist approach is very good for everybody and blessing in disguise t hough he may not "Very good in it" M-theory cant be able to cross the boundary of hypothesis criterion. Extension of string, 10 or 11 dimensions may be faith or may be calculated by pure mathematical physics but the physical interpretation and essence is acceptable to the inquisitive minds throughout the world. Thanks to Smolin and all other scientist.
If anything is below the neuron of human that does not proof any non existence. M-hypothesis is "More " than theory now a days
I am afraid scientist are becoming like priest of middle age or Imams of present decades who fight among themselves on small scale rather than broader aspects? Where are the hopes ? Hawking is a new start of new century - he may be credited for that in broader scale of mankind
'bout 3 turn o' yer hourglass ago · Arr! · 


Jack Sarfatti Feynman said that the most beautiful mathematical theory is murdered by an ugly fact. M/string theory is pseudo-physics. It is interesting as pure mathematics of course. Perhaps some of M/string theory will survive. M/string theory makes no real predictions. It is unfalsifiable, therefore it is pseudo-physics. It's claim to unify gravity with the other forces is unjustified in my opinion. As far as I am aware M/string theory does not have a clear limiting case to the battle-tested standard model of elementary particles of quarks, leptons, gauge bosons, with parity violation and the Higgs-Goldstone spontaneous breakdown of vacuum symmetries. Loop quantum gravity is just as bad in this regard. There are claims that the thermal properties of horizons in curved spacetime are tangled strings, so that is one potential contact with future experiments. This is in contrast to real physics, i.e. quantum field theory and general relativity.

The quest to unify gravity with the electro-weak-strong forces is wrong headed because gravity is not a force in the same sense as the others are. Indeed, philosophically all the interactions are already unified by the local gauge invariance principle. The electro-weak-strong forces come from locally gauging compact internal symmetry groups U1, SU2, SU3. Einstein's curved spacetime comes from locally gauging the non-compact space-time translation group universally for all matter fields. Special relativity is simply the limit where the local gauging is global so that the Poincare group is the universal symmetry group. The electro-weak-strong symmetry groups are not universal - an essential difference with gravity.

Furthermore, gravity seems to be an emergent low energy effective macro-quantum coherent vacuum c-number field - a collective mode so to speak of the electro-weak-strong forces similar to the emergence of elastic sound waves in a crystal.
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