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Yes, we still write about science.

“Science is not a liberal Conspiracy”

(as we once saw on a T-shirt…and wrote about)

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Science, not just religion (esp. Christianity),

has big things still to explain

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if it wants to be

king on the mountain.

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There’s the idea of string theory

and the observation of fine-tuning of the universe.

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For more use the DOOR.

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[MORE]

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   What Is String Theory?¹

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   Two remarkable theories warrant the description of “most exclusively tested and verified.”

   [1] Quantum mechanics describes how energy and matter behave on subatomic scales. According to quantum mechanics, any measurable quantity (such as charge, mass, energy) comes in discreet² amounts. On the other hand, [2] general relativity describes how mass and energy interact with one another and with space-time³. According to Einstein, gravitational attraction arises from energy and matter warping space-time, which consequently influences how other objects move through space-time. However, general relativity requires a continuous space-time.

   While these two theories have passed every experimental test scientists have thrown at them, a fundamental problem exists.The enormous mass and energy density of the early universe necessitate using general relativity to describe the dynamics. The small sizes and immense temperatures of the early universe require a quantum mechanical description. However the discreet² nature of quantum mechanics fundamentally conflicts with the continuous nature of general relativity. Scientists strongly believe that a unified theory incorporating both quantum mechanics and general relativity (which properly describes the dynamics of the universe) exists.

   These unified theories generally require the existence of additional spatial dimensions beyond the three large dimensions4 we commonly experience. String theory represents the most popular of these unified theories. The basic concept behind the theory is that two-dimensional strings comprise all fundamental particles and interactions. This, in essence, imposes a fundamental smallest size to any physical thing, which, in turn, allows both general relativity and quantum mechanics to coexist.

   According to scientists’ best estimates, more than 10500 different solutions to the equations of string theory exist. The challenge is to find the solution(s) that describe this universe. However, this research demonstrates the difficulties of finding such a solution, which highlights the fine-tuned nature of our universe.

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   ¹ This post in its entirety, except for boldface, color, numerals in brackets, and these notes, is from the Quarter 1 of Connections published by Reasons To Believe (2008). For more of this sort of information, see reasons.org.

   ² I think there’s a small error here in Ross’s wording, or from sources he used. The word should be “discrete” not “discreet” which are pronounced the same and come from the same source–but with different meanings. I’ll correct this later if I’m wrong. The contrast here is between “separate, individual pieces or events” and a “continuous stream.”

   ³ Space-time involves the four familiar dimensions: the 3 of space and the “1″ of time.

   4  Those of space.