Thursday, 12 June 2008

think deviant, again

Here is a sentence from Scientific American (via 3QD):
over the years we have developed a strong intuition for what counts as natural”—and the universe we see does not qualify.
The article is about the (apparent?) time asymmetry of the universe, and this sentence serves as a journalistic "hook", but it does represent a very strange paradox: How can the natural world mislead us about itself?

If the claim is that inborn intuition runs contrary to the actual universe, then there is no problem. If the claim is that our experience has been of an unusual part of the universe, even that may work (assuming we have some evidence that tells us about what "usual" is). But what can it even mean that our experience of the universe runs contrary to that very same universe? How would we ever know?

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