Monday, July 17, 2017

SCIENCE : clearcut or entangled ?

The scientific thought of Charles Darwin and Erwin Schrodinger, otherwise often thought to be as immiscible as oil and water, actually came together, become entangled in history, through their twin birthing - and then firmly rejecting - of the concept of entanglement to best describe the new science then emerging in the late Victorian era !

In the first two editions of Darwin's Origin of the Species, 1859-1869, Darwin worked to reassure his audience and himself, that underneath his new Evolution theory's "entangled bank" connecting the hitherto binary opposites of Man and Nature, still lay the traditional ever-upward orderly progress to Civilizied Man --- and Civilizied Man alone.

Similarly, Erwin Schrodinger (as did Albert Einstein*) worked equally hard in the 1920s and 1930s to reassure himself and his audience that the new Quantum Theory's claim of the un-avoidable entanglement of  tiny sub-atomic particles in the overall fabric of the vast Universe meant that the theory itself could not be fully correct or complete --- local cause simply must proceed local effect.

Unfortunately for both men's reputations, their birthing of these 'straw-dogs' is much more scientifical influential than is their immediate and personal criticism of  them.

Man-made penicillin advocate Howard Florey and  Nature-made penicillin advocate Martin Henry Dawson both were scientists born in the late Victorian era and as the example of penicillin clearly shows, they took strongly opposing views of the emerging new science.

Florey firmly rejected it  - to him, everything in reality was "clearcut" : either this or that - no foolish nammy-pampy this and that.

Dawson did not see Nature as an enemy to be dominated and conquered but as an ally : in fact a whole series of allies ; the more the better : a diversity of allies, all the better to fit into a Big Tent , a Ministry of all possible Talents.

Is Human Vision Binary --- or Stereo ?

I would argue the same argument carries on today over whether humanity's economic activities is entangling and killing Nature which is in turn entangling and killing humanity back -- or whether the two are clearcut binaries with no possible entanglement between them.

Deny entanglement or accept it : the choice now lies within all of us, no longer limited to just Darwin & Schrodinger...

* Worth adding that all the many later scientists who worked so hard to prove Einstein and Schrodinger right simply ended up proving the pair wrong - and Quantum Entanglement right - ironies abound in this story !

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