On this last day of 2019, here I am in Waikoloa waiting to celebrate for the New Year. While having breakfast and coffee time at the condo, I turned on the TV ( 60 inch smart TV) which took me during the first 3 days to figure out how it works ( guess I am not as smart as the TV), the program was about this biologist from Brown University talking about evolution which triggered me to writing this blog and of course, it is more of a follow up on the most recent blog I posted on my website just 2 days ago, and I meant to do a follow up anyways.
For those who study science or scientifically oriented, science answers questions on “how” but not “why”. “How” implies causation meaning what causes such a process to occur. An example would be a non zero net force causes an object to accelerate and therefore the object changes velocity as a result of that according to the equation F= ma which of course can be tested, verified, observed and repeatedly demonstrated but we cannot ask “why” it is that way. In other words, there is no reason why the object has to obey the equation F=ma. Reasons and causation are not exactly the same thing. Reasons imply purposes, and purposes imply design or motives, but in reality, the laws of physics have no purposes or motives. As a scientist, my job is to give the best possible description of how the universe operates while offering no reasons behind why it works the way it does. Cause and effects in science are testable, verifiable, observable and repeatable while reasons are simply speculations. When people say ” there is a reason for everything that happened”, what they really meant is that there are some possible preventive methods but that isn’t reason. We can be more cautious while driving especially on icy road to prevent from an accident, or we can retrofit our homes to minimize the amount of damages from an earthquake, but they are certainly not 100 percent preventable and natural disasters are unpredictable as much as the same with freak accidents. The fundamental laws of science are simply randomness and probabilistic in nature and to the best of our current knowledge, they are unpredictable and if you ever become a victim of fire, earthquake, or some freak accidents including rare diseases, there are no reasons for any of those to happen, but only to realize that catastrophic events are part of nature and we are living in that nature and therefore we are all subject to those events in a random fashion. Tragedies happen to good and bad people and karma is neither to be blamed nor used as reason for any of it. The laws of physics are fundamental and at the most fundamental level, there are no reasons behind any of the physical processes. Radioactive decay is a fundamental process, we can describe it and figure out how it works but there are no reasons why a particle decays the way it does. The process is fundamental as well as pure randomness. On the other hand, reasons are human speculations and creations which are not verifiable, repeatable or testable. Reasons are emergent while the laws of nature are fundamental. An automobile isn’t fundamental because the Big Bang from 13.7 billion years ago had no such concept in mind, but at the turn of the 19th century, automobiles emerged as a very convenient way of traveling, and it certainly wasn’t the reason why the universe exists today. Reasons work the same way as they are convenient for people to come up with explanations to get around the mysterious things that they don’t understand, so reasons provide a sense of control they can have over events in life. As we all know that events in life are not controllable but only preventable up to a certain point that we cannot go beyond.
As a scientist, I am subject to exercise skepticism and that’s what any scientist do. We are skeptical about anything that cannot be verified by experiments or supported by collected data, but that doesn’t mean we are right, it is just the way how science works. We have to be as skeptical as we can be until verified by demonstrated experimental results in a consistent manner, in fact, this is how we grant Nobel prizes. It is conceivable that there are spirits in this world and I cannot disprove it, but science isn’t about being conceivable because anything is conceivable, science is about being reliable. According to one of the most successful idea in physics ( QFT) Quantum Field Theory, there is no evidence of any extraneous energy for spirits to roam around. Yes, we could be wrong about it, but to the best of our current science, there is no such case and so we have to abandon that belief until someday if there are any verifiable experiments to demonstrating that spirits are everywhere, then I will be happy to update my belief, but until then don’t get your hope up too high.
In conclusion, the laws of physics are fundamental without the needs of reasons to explain “why” but only “how”. Reasons are emergent. I do understand that those emergent reasons fulfill some of the anxieties within people, but they are not really accountable or reliable to everything that happened in life. We can certainly construct our own purposes to be on this planet because our life span is short, unpredictable and as far as we know to the best of our knowledge, we only live once. If we can all come to accept the laws of nature and the way this universe is without speculating reasons behind everything, we can live a better life and build meaningful purposes to fulfilling it and to make this limited life worth living!!
Happy New Year from Kona, Hawaii. Have a safe holiday and treasure every magical moment that you spend with your loved ones. ” NOTHING LASTS FOREVER” including the universe but more to come in my next blog to talk about it. HaHa.