The Universe is Queerer Than We Can Suppose

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Richard Dawkins’ TED

While TED always tends to be inspiring and entertaining, I found the usually brash and annoyingly arrogant Dawkins to be highly thought provoking, even tolerable in this excellent dissection of mankind’s comprehension of our universe.

(Side note: I really wish the word queer hadn’t been hijacked to make fun of gay people. It’s a really excellent word with phonetic beauty, and shouldn’t be so ruined.)

 
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I have watched the presentation to the end, it was one very interesting TED talk about so many fields of science. It covers many fundamental subjects, such as biology, physics, psychology, and even the meaning of life (or should I say existance).

It is an interesting thought that pops up several times during the presentation, are there things that are so queer that we, or anything, cannot, and never will, understand them? Besides the backstreet boys, of course.

The theories about how the brains of several organisms work, how dogs can imagine smells and how some lifeforms may think in only two dimensions of space, have truly caught my interest. He continues with a stunningly good explanation for how everything is possible, although I wouldn’t be able to repeat it, then he talks about life in the universe and finally about how all this impacts our daily thinking, gently switching between the odd science and daily examples of it, such as he finally does when he states our minds might be able to break out of the box, out of the ‘middle-world’ thinking, with which he means our limited spectrum between the microscopic and the macroscopic. Well, I think his observations are very interestingly non-conformistic (if all thoughts are his, which would surprise me).

 
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The theories about how the brains of several organisms work, how dogs can imagine smells and how some lifeforms may think in only two dimensions of space, have truly caught my interest.

The book he mentions, Flatland, is really good and it is short. I like how he kind of extrapolated its ideas to other parts of science too. There are some other things related to how dogs imagine smells, but it is driving me crazy that I can’t remember them.

 
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No one else is going to participate in this awesome discussion? I don’t plan to bump this again, but I wanted to give it one more chance. Phoenix?

 
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I’ve read a few of his books, and a number of essays and lectures he’s given, as well as seen some videos. including this one.

He’s got a strange reputation of being angry, even though this video is far more in character for him than the only clips people seem familiar with of him promoting the God Delusion.

Anyway, on the video itself. I agree entirely, we may never be capable of intuitively grasping many things in the universe. Large parts of quantum theory only make sense because they work, and they only work because we go through the boring plodding hard work of doing the math, which removes any interpretation from the equation as much as possible, allowing us to use principles even if we cannot understand them.

((On the word “queer” I entirely agree with BSG. It describes his meaning far better than any other could))