Tuesday, 24 November 2009

I am intelligent. Relatively.

When you read the above headline, I will forgive you for believing that either this guy is a bit full of himself or else he is making a fool of himself. Neither of these assumptions is good, but bear with me.
I watched a fascinating programme the other day in which the world’s leading physicists propounded their latest theories on black holes. Although Albert Einstein had theorised about their existence, he came to the conclusion that Mother Nature could not support them in reality.
The consensus now is that they certainly do exist with a gravitational pull so intense that scientists’ minds have been bent towards them and not even light cannot escape.
Hence their name.
As I understand it, their very existence is even calling into question some of Einstein’s theories on General Relativity.

It is generally accepted that our capacity to absorb and retain information is finite. If you also accept that knowledge, like the universe itself, is not only infinite, but expanding, then in common with the world’s leading brains, I know relatively little.
That’s quite a nice club to be a member of and you are welcome to join.
Indeed, I am advantaged in that, unlike these very clever scientists, I am less aware than they are of how much I don’t know. While that in itself does not make me cleverer than them, it has the potential to make me think I am. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself lest one – or both – of the two assumptions above come true.
My overriding impression of the programme, however, is what fun the scientists are having in exploring the mysteries of life, the Universe and everything.
But not nearly as much fun as some greater being must be having watching them groping in the dark.
Literally and theoretically.

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