Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Folly of Dogmatism

Terms like Singularity, Big Bang, expanding Universe, black holes, dark matter, dark energy, String Theory, Quantum Mechanics, etc were thrown around during a recent discourse by a few university classmates of ours over the emails. Those who have participated in the discourse are certainly a very well read and brilliant lot. I myself have also read quite a bit on the subject. Although I walked away half-understood what most of the authors, many of whom are actually renowned astrophysicists, were trying to explain, I could safely say that they are all still theories, theories but theories, and not facts YET! I therefore read my classmates' arguments with some degree of discomfort. 

I believe no one has yet to explain fully the origin of the Universe, which is said to be about 14 billion years old. But what was it before that? I remember reading somewhere the Big Bang which scientists are talking about is only the LATEST of a series of contractions and expansions of this Universe. And is our Universe oblong in shape, like the one shown in Wikipedia? If that’s so, why are we talking about INFINITY? And if it is not infinite, what's beyond this oblong boundary? And some 30% and 70% o the Universe's mass-energy are said to be respectively dark matter and dark energy. Since the Universe is an open one, which includes our solar system, why are they hiding from us? Maybe these scientists should study our Q-gong! Who knows this could be their answer!

All too mind-boggling for a small brainer like me to worry! I rather leave the subject to astrophysicists and not indulge in 杞人憂天 (Qi-Ren-Yue-Tian; Chinese idiom, the man from Qi who was always worried that the sky might come crashing down one day!)

This type of dogmatism about something that is still not 100% proven reminds me of David Attenborough. Each time he talked about a species, he would always begin by saying that its ancestry was so many so many millions of years ago. As if he was so sure about these "dates" – when so many archaeologists are still struggling to pinpoint with any good degree of accuracy as to the occurrences of real events which only happened hundreds, let alone thousands or millions, of years ago.  But I do enjoy Attenborough's documentaries. Apart from those silly dates, they are indeed very education or informative!

"Keep learning, no matter how old you are" is something I hold dearly in life. But to be too dogmatic about yet-to-be-proven things based on your own conception or rationalisation, is in opinion, folly.