OK, while I’m blathering about entropy and states and order/disorder, we may as well move on to cleaning our tabs that have accumulated over the week. For example, we have a report out of China [Link] that our biological manifestation at the individual level is not so much a matter of mutations but of ordering differences in the genome.
I can’t say this is surprising. The genome is made up of some number of components N, each of which is multifunctional. And the differences between us at all levels have been attributed to structural differences within the components. This is a major waste of states and that is something that we don’t generally see Nature doing. If there is a resource out there – like occupiable states – then Nature will take advantage. So this is not a very surprising outcome. The surprise, which is due to my absence of knowledge of biology – that two semesters of undergraduate, introductory biology wore out years ago – is that this hadn’t been considered long ago. Of course maybe it was and the mediaists didn’t want to confuse us by be accurate?
On that note, I ran across some of an interview with Stephen Hawking. [Link] I have to confess that I respect Hawking a great deal as a mensch but I don’t read his popularizations. In fact I don’t read any physics popularizations because it saves money on house repair since I don;t throw a many books through windows and against walls from the frustration of the author’s decisions on what to ‘stupid down’.
Not that such descriptions are accurate. They simplify, but really don’t stupidify. The stupidification is on my own part when I get frustrated because the physics has been simplified to the point that I don’t think the explanation works any more. So in my estimation when this happens, the author has failed and prostituted himself (herself) for the sake of explaining (inaccurately) to non-physicists. But I do respect these guys for trying.
Anyway, Hawking has a good quote in the interview
“I think Science can explain the Universe without the need for God.”
This impinges on the previous discussion in a sense. The advantage of science over religion is that it is testable and falsifiable (which doesn’t mean making a prevarication of it like the intelligent design and creationist hypocrites do.) That advantage means that, consistent with the necessary minimum set of assumptions, you don;t have to take reality on belief. You can go establish cause and effect on anything.
The problem arises in that to do this, you have to know the science. Indeed, you almost have to be a scientist. (The almost has to do with whether you have to be creative or just scholarly.) Now the time when a human could know everything is long past, so no one can be a scientist of all disciplines, which means that everyone has to take some aspects of science as a matter of belief. So regardless of whether science can explain all of reality or not, there is still a need for belief on the part of everyone.
So the question, which is an ethical one, arises of whether it is better to leave the bogs with their irrational religionist beliefs or not?
Good question for a sundae, eh?
Next, we have word of research at U College London [Link] that anisotropy in the microwave background may indicate the existence of multiple, bubble universes, aka one form of multiverse. The multiverse idea has been around for a long time – I favor the Popper interpretation, myself – but have been a matter of indeterminacy and illegitimacy because of an absence of any testable data. Now there may be some data.
So our uniqueness just got a little smaller.
And while we are on great discoveries, the English government has discovered that their copyright laws are strangling the country. [Link] Apparently the Yankee government has just been branded for the corporate prostitute that it is with the repressive and stultifying copyright laws here. Not that I like to hold the ejected tyranny up as an ethical or rational example, but in this case it may be justified. I have been waiting for years for some process server to hand me a piece of legal paper forbidding be to be sentient or intelligent because I am encroaching on the patents and copyrights of some non-human pseudo-citizen.
When are we going to learn that we need to only let one organization rule our lives and we need to keep it as limited as it can be?