Dangerous Knowledge – Great minds to lunacy
The other day back on a week long holiday from work,
I was lazily lying on my living room couch, flicking stuff on my ipad,
news stories, twitter timeline, facebook, just hungry for some thought on an interesting topic, something for which I have had no time, to read with pleasure, ever since being tied down in a boring work routine at the hospital.
I do not exactly remember how I landed up to this topic, but somehow while endlessly clicking on some youtube videos, I ended up watching this splendid BBC documentary : Dangerous Knowledge.
Dangerous Knowledge is a 90-minute long BBC documentary about the lives of four great thinkers: Georg Cantor (1845-1918), Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1906), Kurt Gödel (1906-1978), and Alan Turing (1912-1954). Cantor founded Set Theory, Boltzmann founded Statistical Mechanics, Gödel’s incompleteness theorems had an immense impact on Mathematical Logic, and Turing was one of the fathers of Computer Science. These four scientist were engrossed in a very deep thought on deciphering knowledge of what reality really is, each one with the brilliance in their respective fields, Mathematics or Physics or Machines. What they looked at was actually a basic problem of mathematics, but one with far reaching implicatiions, one to define the very substance of our existence. What they saw, drove them to lunacy, each one ending their lives at some point.
What could it have been? What is it that they really they felt or tried to prove. What did they realize?
If you dig up their work, its pretty astonishing. Their theories were all rejected repeatedly and they were firmly criticized by the peers of their time, but only now are their theories holding much water.
Three years ago, I had written a post that turned out to be very popular,
People who deny existence of God
it generated huge amount of traffic (in fact web analytics point it as the most accessed article on this blog till date), and a flurry of comments, some really furious from those who took offense as atheists and attacked me personally, that I had no istanding or qualification in this area to write or comment on atheists and nullify their logic of disbelief.
I had to disable all comments to that post. Some mentioned that I had chickened out of the debate, I had merely douched the fire, in which I had no interest to debate, I was merely expressing my thought, and I wasn’t der for some debate to prove or disprove anything. I had to douche that off cos I had my own academics to attend. At the time, I was still in Medical School with burgeoning piles of texts to read. My article was simply borne out a passing thout of the moment.
After watching this documentary and knowing more on Quantum physics and where it has reached today, my “thought” that I had shared then, was indeed on the right track, and I had indeed viewed it in simple but fairly correct principles.
We live in a world defined by the rules of science, but beneath these rules lies a matrix of pure mathematics, which explains the rules of science and how it is that we can understand them.
Georg Cantor asked a simple question, How big is Infinity? A question that started a revolution in the field of mathematics and Physics and threatened to derail the very foundations on which it was understood.
There are certain things in Physics which are true, but can never be proven.
The limited finite capacities of a human mind can only deal finitely, we leave the problem of infinity, sweep it under the carpet and work on our newtonian laws, just to get along.
Its like a circle, as it is explained in the documentary,
u draw a circle, and with an infinitely thin pencil draw infinite number of lines just to fill the circle complete. Fine, now draw a bigger circle concentrically with the same point of radius, and now extend these lines drawn within this small circle to the edge of the larger circle, and you notice now there are gaps between these lines.. How could one get the gaps when one drew infinite lines thru the radius filling it completely, the smaller circle almost to a solid, but on extending, these lines divergen further creating gaps in the bigger circle? There will always be gaps, no matter how many lines u draw.
Please go on to watch this documentary.