Saturday, January 21, 2012

Synthetic Biology

It was another Horizon programme on BBC that recently set me thinking.

It was on the new field of "Synthetic Biology" where very dramatic changes are likely to take place in a short period of time.

We are already well used to the notion of computer programming. However this is going a big step further in that direct intervention with life forms can now take place through genetic engineering.

So already one can through the Internet purchase bio bricks and then seek to assemble the in a manner that never existed before in the natural world. So genetic advances that took many millions of years to evolve can now - apparently - be reprogrammed in an instant with potentially devastating consequences.

Now the initial phase of this engineering seems admirable enough!

For example we were introduced to three revolutionary new goats which are genetically part spider. Apparently a particular type of spider naturally produces a very strong type of silk thread which has all sorts of possible commercial applications. However with reliance on natural production the amount of thread produced would be minimal. However by genetically combining the spider with the goats, such silk can now be produced in much greater quantities (when extracted as an additional protein from the goats' milk).

We also saw another example whereby brewers' yeast, instead of producing alcohol can be now genetically modified so as to produce diesel oil. So with the likely prospect of growing shortages in natural oil in the future one can readily appreciate the commercial possibilities of this new development.

Other potential uses again seemed in principle of admirable intent. For example the prospect of using genetic engineering to modify pathological body cells such as cancer would seem very welcome.

However what would worry me greatly here is the issue of control. When people are free to buy DNA parts from the Internet and experiment in creating life forms (that may never have existed before) it is potentially very worrying. Also when amateur clubs have already been set up in parts of the US with the intention of doing likewise one wonders where this will go.

Also while at present the main emphasis is on "lower" life forms, can this situation last? Given the pace of these new developments it may not be long till science fiction truly becomes a reality and all sorts of new creatures can be created in the lab. And then what happens if these then escape or are let loose with the capacity to multiply (perhaps at dramatically fast rates).

I even raised myself in "Brave New World" that it may be eventually possible to create intelligent life forms with the capacity to evolve much more rapidly than humans. This would indeed raise startling new practical and ethical problems.

In a best case scenario the possibilities opened up by this new life technology could be used greatly to benefit rather than hinder mankind.

However evil will always remain so it is only probable that the same technology could be carelessly used without adequate knowledge of the consequences or even deliberately designed as a of form of terror against one's enemies.

At present we seem to be still largely in control of this new life technology. However sooner than we realise the fruits of such technology could threaten to control mankind in an altogether unexpected manner.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A New Big Bang

I will briefly attempt here to provide an alternative Big Bang scenario that properly caters for both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of phenomena.

In this scenario we always start from a present moment (which continually exists). Phenomenal notions in space time then obtain a merely relative meaning with respect to this absolute ineffable source (and end) of existence.

So before created phenomena come into being we have mere potential for existence. This can be represented in holistic mathematical terms as the total confusion of union (1) relating to quantitative notions of form with nothingness
(0) relating to corresponding qualitative notions of emptiness.

Earliest physical creations begins with duality (2) in both quantitative and qualitative terms. This quickly through a dynamic iteration process generates almost immediately all prime (and natural numbers).

If we could conceive of a world of merely of prime numbers then quantitative and qualitative aspects would remain identical. Put another way in a universe of merely prime numbers (as the most fundamental physical "objects") we would by definition have as many qualitative dimensions (as quantitative objects) in an ineffable manner. However the rapid combination of prime "objects" and "dimensions" quickly generates natural objects (which implicitly do have a phenomenal physical identity).

However this rapid generation of natural objects quickly leads to a collapse in corresponding dimensions (as matter achieves a more stable phenomenal form).

So the real issue in earliest creation is how the increasing identification of phenomenal objects necessarily leads to a dramatic loss in the unique dimensional qualities of these objects, thereby enabling them to attain an ever more common collective identity (i.e. with characteristics shared in common).

In the holistic mathematical sense in which I use dimension, remarkably what we term "science" as a rational means to investigate such evolution is by definition 1-dimensional.

Thus in the extreme desire to understand the nature of phenomenal objects we have reduced the dimensional qualitative aspect - literally - to an absolute minimum of 1. Therefore though conventionally we speak of a 4-dimensional physical world, we actually create significant asymmetry by treating the 3 spatial dimensions in a reduced quantitative manner.

What is remarkable is that if we now wish therefore to properly understand the nature of earliest creation (which existed in an unreduced multiple-dimensional framework) then we must psychologically experience reality in such higher dimensions.

Again using my holistic mathematical approach, I have demonstrated how nature through an advanced contemplative type intuitive vision actually corresponds to this higher dimensional perspective.

The clear implication is that to experience the beginning of creation we must experience from the end of creation i.e. through the psycho-spiritual attainment of pure spiritual union (which equally of course is an emptiness).

Thus in properly understanding the refined psychological dynamics prior to total union we would recreate in reverse complementary fashion the phenomenal structures of earliest creation.

What this demonstrates is that what we can know about physical reality ultimately is entirely mirrored by the psychological means by which we interpret this reality. Truly this reality and its appropriate interpretation are as mirrors to each other. So when they completely mirror each other there is no longer any separation but a union (that is also nothingness).

Finally, though I have been very critical of string theory there are marked similarities evident in the two approaches.

For example in both cases ultimately reality is seen in a mathematical fashion (though I would lay much greater emphasis in holistic mathematical interpretation in this regard).

Also both approaches see early creation as entailing a much higher number of dimensions (which become subsequently reduced with the existence of stable phenomena).

However again - unlike conventional string theory, I would draw a strong distinction as between both quantitative and qualitative interpretation. Indeed as I have written elsewhere the key notions of string theory can be given an alternative "imaginary" interpretation (in qualitative terms).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More on Higgs Boson

I am returning to the topic of the last entry (i.e. the Horizon Programme on the hunting of the Higgs Boson).

There are many reasons why I have strong reservations regarding the interpretation of recent findings.

The finding of the Higgs Boson is required to bring a greater degree of completion to what is called the Standard Model which deals with the interactions between known particles and forces. Now admittedly this has proved remarkably successful in predicting an enormous range of physical events with astonishing accuracy!

However a major limitation is that it excludes gravity.

So to give an analogy; the search for the Higgs Boson represents the equivalent of finding a crucial weapon in a crime investigation. However in this investigation, the key potential suspect has been eliminated from investigation (due to the difficulty of searching for evidence). So in the absence of this key suspect, police are now attempting to pin the crime on someone else. Then to build a case against this new suspect some key incriminating evidence is required. So if a weapon - deemed to belong to the suspect - can be found at the scene of the crime, police will be ready to press charges!

However one could validly question this whole exercise as a somewhat artificial attempt to solve a crime (in the absence of the chief suspect).
So even if an incriminating weapon is found at the scene, a variety of possible explanations could be given. Indeed the chief suspect way even have planted this evidence so as to falsely incriminate another person.

In the same way, even if the Higgs Boson is eventually deemed to exist it still begs a lot of questions in the absence of the inclusion of the gravitational force in the Standard Model. Indeed one obvious suggestion is that the very existence of this boson intimately depends on the gravitational force!

So again even if the Higgs Boson is confirmed to exist, it represents important information, which however in all probability requires a much deeper explanation (than can be provided within the Standard Model).

Also it must be stressed again that the very rationale of the Standard Model is of an extremely reduced - and ultimately untenable - nature.

The idea here is that the Universe - as we know it - is ultimately comprised of basic "building blocks" of matter (which hopefully can be experimentally discovered through ever more powerful particle accelerators).

However in order to give fundamental particles a meaning, they must be placed within a preconceived environment of space and time.

This in turn reflects the reduced orientation of Conventional Science (where qualitative considerations are reduced to the quantitative).

So we cannot conceive of the specific (quantitative) aspects of matter in the absence of the holistic (qualitative) dimensions they inhabit.

Therefore the true task of science is not to just to explain the basic "building blocks" of existence but rather the manner in which both particles and dimensions - which have no strict meaning in the absence of each other - come into existence.

So it is strictly futile attempting to construct reality from its basic "building blocks" when these phenomena cannot be understood in the absence of corresponding physical dimensions!

The real task therefore is to explain how matter and dimensions mutually arise through dynamic interaction with each other. And this requires recognition of both the standard and - as yet unrecognised - holistic aspects of science.

And the ultimate implication of this approach is that what we call "reality" in fact strictly represents appearances of a merely relative nature arising from the interaction of twin aspects that are quantitative and qualitative with respect to each other. So true "reality" would be then understood as that absolute ever present source (and goal) of all that phenomenally exists in relative spacetime.

Indeed there is already a clue in existing thinking to this new way of looking at reality.

Moderns physics is strongly based on the notion of symmetry. However the paradox then remains that the perfect physical theory (based on total symmetry) would mean that reality as we know it - which requires a degree of asymmetry - could not exist!.

However we can now perhaps see that the perfect versions of physical theories are pointing directly at true "reality" as the ever present source (and goal) of what phenomenally exists.

There was also an interesting indication of this in the programme when Michio Kaku referred to the beautiful objects all around us in nature e.g. snowflakes as fragments of an original perfect world (before phenomenal existence) where perfect physical symmetry reigns.

What is fascinating about this that we can give a direct psycho spiritual counterpart to this observation in that all beautiful objects in nature represent reflections (or archetypes) of an ultimate perfect reality (that is spiritual in nature).

This would then immediately suggest that the physical and religious quests to know reality are themselves truly complementary. So perfection (in physical or spiritual terms) is in the realisation that both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of reality are ultimately fully symmetrical!

The truly great limitation of Conventional Science is the manner in which it attempts to abstract physical reality in a reduced quantitative manner from what is spiritual.

In the end one cannot attempt to properly understand the physical world without equal recognition of its spiritual aspect. So for every quantitative type relationship a qualitative counterpart exists.

However whereas (linear) reason is the appropriate vehicle of the quantitative aspect, intuition recognition (which indirectly can be given be a precise circular logical interpretation) is the appropriate scientific vehicle of the qualitative.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Higgs Boson or Higgs Illusion

I was looking at the BBC Horizon programme last night on the Higgs Boson which proved quite interesting.

As was widely reported in the media late last year, a determined attempt has been made to find convincing experimental evidence for the existence of the Higgs Boson which if verified would help to complete the standard particle model of physics.

One outstanding problem with this model is that it had yet to provide a convincing explanation as to how particles acquire mass. And as this requirement is crucial for explaining the existence of all phenomena, the issue was of great importance.

It had been proposed in the late 60's by Peter Higgs that what gives mass to particles is related to a seemingly invisible field viz. the Higgs Field. And as all fields are associated with corresponding particles, it was postulated that if this supposition of the existence of a new field was correct that it should in principle be possible to detect its associated particle.

However the technology to conduct the kind of experiments capable of uncovering such a high energy particle remained insufficient for the task until recently.

So using the 17 ml. long Large Hadron Collider built underground at Geneva, researchers now feel confident that they can settle this issue once and for all.

Great excitement was raised by earlier tests carried out before Christmas which seemed to suggest that perhaps the elusive Higgs Boson had been at last detected (though further testing will be required to reach a conclusive verdict).

However as I listened to so much scientific hype regarding this as the most significant development since Einstein's discovery of Relativity and that scientists could now concentrate on closing in further on the initial instant of creation, I experienced a great let-down and an inability to share the excitement in news that I do not consider as truly fundamental.

The great weakness - which seems largely unrecognised by scientists - is that we cannot hope to come to knowledge of the fundamental nature of the Universe while attempting to remain as passive observers of its assumed objective existence.

When one reflects on it we are obviously dealing with a self-referential system (where what is known about reality inevitably reflects the nature of our psychological manner of interpreting such reality).

So we cannot possibly know the nature of objective particles or discover what transpired during the initial moment of creation when our very means of interpretation is itself dependent on the considerable evolution of creation that has since unfolded.

Thus in a very real sense, the initial beginning of creation has no meaning in the absence of the subsequent evolution required to then enable intelligent minds to reflect on the nature of this existence.
The Universe therefore has so evolved, that we can now, as an inseparable part of this creation, attempt to look back and discover its meaning in both objective and subjective terms.

And once we accept the inevitable fact that human nature entails both physical and psychological aspects that are interrelated, then we cannot meaningfully attempt to portray the unfolding of one aspect of evolution i.e physical while ignoring the other aspect i.e. psychological. The very irony in this situation is that any attempted physical explanation of reality - even through conventional scientific means - is in fact impossible in the absence of corresponding psychological constructs (that must necessarily be used to interpret this reality). So we can never describe (objective) reality as such but rather a more subtle relationship entailing the dynamic interaction of both physical and psychological aspects.

This is not to suggest that there is no valid role for the present model of science (based on mere objective interpretation). However such science is best at the everyday level of macro reality where stable objects and relationships exist.

However as we approach the ultimate nature of reality, it becomes increasingly unsuited to discovery of its moment of origin in spacetime (where both the actual and potential capacities of existence remain considerably confused with each other).

The strange paradox is that in the most fundamental sense, the earliest moment of creation is in fact inseparable from the present most advanced moment (with all secondary measurements of space and time of merely a relative nature).

So the only meaningful manner to realise ultimate physical symmetry (before finite creation occurs) is in experiencing that ultimate psychological symmetry (representing pure spiritual union).

Ultimately the only way therefore to truly discover the full nature of physical creation is through equally experiencing the full realisation of this reality (where physical and psychological aspects are inseparable).

And in this moment of pure spiritual union continually existing in the present moment, creation comes to realisation of its eternal mystery.

What we are in fact approaching now are the limits of one particular model of science. In precise holistic mathematical terms, I refer to this as 1-dimensional science. The very nature of this model is that it inevitably reduces in any context qualitative to quantitative meaning. However, associated with every other number as dimension are ever more subtle scientific systems (where quantitative and qualitative aspects while remaining to a degree distinct can yet dynamically interact).

What we need to clearly realise is the fact that what we recognise as fundamental particles are in fact just appearances of reality (with no ultimate substance). They only appear to have substance when we attempt to give them an independent (objective) existence.

So the Higgs Boson - even if verified satisfactorily according to present scientific understanding - properly represents a physical apparition (corresponding to a particular means of - arbitrary - mental interpretation).

In fact the "finding" of the Higgs Boson will not depend on locating its direct physical existence but rather in achieving a consensus with respect to an interpretation that the indirect effects of the physical experiments conducted are consistent with its postulated existence!