Are the Laws of Nature Evolving?
Yes, says physicist Lee Smolin -- and this is good news.
Not only for scientists but for all of us. We live in an open universe
and we can be responsible agents in helping bring about a better world.
A JJB Appreciatiion of Lee Smolin's Ideas
Overview provided by the RSA. Click here for more.
"Throughout history, the idea that time is an illusion and that the laws of physics are fixed or ‘eternal’ has been a religious, philosophical and scientific commonplace. In Time Reborn: the Crisis of Physics and the Future of the Universe, Lee Smolin proposes a radically new hypothesis: that the laws of physics are not fixed, but that they evolve, in real time. This spectacular shift of viewpoint, forced on him by the logic of physics and philosophy, suggests that time and our experience of it passing is truly real. All the laws and everything else evolves within it.
This hypothesis not only opens up the possibility of resolving some of the big open issues in physics today, such as the nature of the quantum world and its unification with spacetime and cosmology. It also places profound importance on human agency, on how our social, political, economic and environmental choices directly affect the range of possible outcomes for the future of this planet.
Smolin argues that through consilience in the natural, social and political sciences around the concept that time is real and the future is open, we can summon the imaginative power to invent the communion of political organizations, technology and natural processes essential if we are to thrive sustainably beyond this century."
More about Lee Smolin:
"Lee Smolin is a theoretical physicist who has been since 2001 a founding and senior faculty member at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. His main contributions have been so far to the quantum theory of gravity, to which he has been a co-inventor and major contributor to two major directions, loop quantum gravity and deformed special relativity. He also contributes to cosmology, through his proposal of cosmological natural selection: a falsifiable mechanism to explain the choice of the laws of physics. He has also contributed to quantum field theory, the foundations of quantum mechanics, theoretical biology, the philosophy of science and economics. He is the author of more than 150 scientific papers and numerous essays and writings for the public on science....more
For a review and summary of David Griffin's book, see the review by Thomas Jay Oord in Metanexus. Click here. And in order to learn more about the ongoing dialog between science and religion, see the work of Metanexus itself, which is now the world's most inclusive site for thinking about connections between all four forms of experience: scientific, aesthetic, moral, and religious., Click here.
Naturalism Type Three -- This JJB Appreciation is a companion to many other essays on science and process thought to be found in this website. Examples include:
Quantum Indeterminacy and Freedom by C. Robert Mesle,
Whitehead and Relativity by John Cobb,
Whitehead and Evolutionary Biology by John Cobb
Whitehead and Mind-Brain Relations by John Cobb
Morgan Freeman Introduces the Quantum World.
The Milky Way: The Universe as a Journey
Biochemistry and Beauty: Shamanism and Molecular Biology
Biomimicry and Process Theology: The Open Society
In combination they introduce you to Whitehead's philosophy and to what, in this essay, we call Naturalism Type Three. If you are curious about the whole of Whitehead's perspective as related to religion and ethics and aesthetics as well as science, you might also try What is Process Thought? and What do Process Thinkers Believe? You may note that some of our essays are in Chinese as well as English. This is because so much of the future of the process thinking lies in emerging centers in China. For a sample of comparisons, see Comparing Whitehead and Chinese Thought.
Three Types of Naturalism