This article was first published on RChain Cooperative - Medium
Recently Vitalik Buterin posted the following question: Does living in a universe that runs by laws of physics count as being “governed by an algorithm”? (I have my own detailed answer to this, but curious what other people’s response is) i responded because the assumptions implicit in this question cause me to worry that people, especially people who work in technical fields, such as software engineering, have a very skewed view of science.
Folks who are not really thinking about the foundations of science may not know that the general scientific consensus is that we never know the laws of physics or any other field of science. We have provisional proposals that may be overturned at any juncture. For example, after 400 years of supposed stability in the last decade the physics of optics was rewritten exposing new optical phenomena and materials.
Many proposals that we consider to be the cornerstones of our understanding of the natural world are actually not very stable at all. Despite its success and vaunted accuracy, general relativity is not even a scientific theory. The Einstein field equations require knowing the stress-energy tensor (distribution of matter/energy for the whole universe). That’s not even testable. Only approximations of this theory are testable. Furthermore, the theory is not compositional, meaning that you can’t piece together more complete descriptions of physical systems from less complete ones.
Further, as many may know, quantum mechanics, another theory with extremely high degrees of accuracy, doesn’t interface well with general relativity. One attempt to reconcile the two theories, string theory, has held a hegemonic grip on physics departments around the world despite the lack of testable proposals. That a non-testable theory has held sway and directed resource distribution for research for so many decades has been the subject of many popular texts, recently. So, ...
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RChain Cooperative - Medium