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今夜色暗无月光,独座窗前绣诗行。 字字推敲细细琢,咏不成歌睡不香。 手举青衫骨格骄,双唇自画野蛮腰。 心红胆大莺啼梦,脚拿虬髯我是猫。 湖头随晚笑,柳向客船行。故事春梅树,枝条陌上鲸。快眼思家国,飞鸿晓雾名。千秋风雅颂,直视好男生。 (原创文章皆为本人作品,具有无可置疑的版权,仅供交流,请勿侵权,多谢合作!本博客不参与任何圈子的期刊、杂志有奖竞赛、有奖评比。这个博客是我的官方博客,官方就是我,我就是官方。任何人不得抄袭!)

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Fear Of Knowing  

2016-06-27 09:13:33|  分类: 英语学习 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Fear Of Knowing - 山人 - 郭晔菲的原创博客

 Essentially everything you see around you as you go through your day is made of just three particles of matter — protons, neutrons and electrons — interacting through a handful of forces — gravity, electromagnetism and the nuclear forces. Together they make up the Core Theory, which has been tested experimentally in countless ways to exquisite precision. The fact that these particles and these forces are all we need to account for ourselves and our environments is as firmly established as the existence of atoms, and similarly unlikely to be overturned at any future time.

How can we be so sure? After all, there is unquestionably much we don't know, from the ingredients of the dark cosmos to what happened at the Big Bang. And scientists through history have an embarrassing track record of proclaiming that we are very close to Having It All Figured Out, only to be proved wildly wrong when the next revolution came along.

But we're not claiming to have it all figured out, or anywhere close. We claim to Have Some Things Figured Out. Those things just happen to include everything you and I are made of.

The reason we can be confident that we haven't missed an important new particle or force that might be relevant to everyday life stems from the power of the basic framework of modern physics, quantum field theory (QFT). According to QFT, you can't just toss in random new particles in any old way. If there were any new particles or interactions that could possibly play a role in everyday processes, then we could very easily make them or detect their existence, in particle accelerators or searches for new long-range forces. We've looked, hopefully and enthusiastically; they aren't there.

It's natural to imagine that QFT itself is wrong at some fundamental level. That's certainly possible – anything's possible. But QFT is extraordinarily robust. If you want to invent a theory that is compatible with the basic requirements of quantum mechanics, relativity and locality (events far away don't affect what happens here), your theory is guaranteed to look like quantum field theory at the low energies characteristic of our everyday lives.

Indeed, QFT is almost certainly not the final word on physics at its most fundamental level. Spacetime itself might be emergent, for example, perhaps out of some tangle of loops or superstrings. But that won't matter. Just as learning that air is made from molecules of nitrogen and oxygen and other atoms doesn't change the fact that air is a gas with various properties (pressure, temperature, speed of sound), discovering the quantum reality underlying spacetime won't change the effectiveness of quantum field theory in the everyday regime. Reality at its deepest level could be something utterly different than we have ever imagined, but we still have a good handle on how it behaves in front of our noses.

That knowledge has implications. You can't bend spoons with your mind, and the location of Venus in the sky doesn't affect your love life; there's no way an unknown force can reach that far without us having detected it yet. More profoundly, there's no way for our consciousness to survive after death; there's simply no process by which the information in our brains can be preserved once our bodies shut down and decay.

As much as people love the excitement of discovery, we also have a soft spot for the romance of mystery. JJ Abrams has made wonderfully compelling movies and TV shows by exploiting the idea of a Mystery Box — a secret at the heart of a story that may or may not ever be revealed. It works well as a dramatic device, but when apprehending reality it's important to acknowledge what we have learned, and accept the consequences of that hard-won understanding.

It's easy, and wrong, to think of scientific truths as fixed and absolute. It's also easy, and just as wrong, to act as if we know nothing and everything is up for grabs. We have a responsibility to do the hard work of figuring out exactly where the dividing line between knowledge and uncertainty lies, and take seriously what we do know.

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