Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Morning Quotes: Michio Kaku

“There are many examples of old, incorrect theories that stubbornly persisted, sustained only by the prestige of foolish but well-connected scientists. Many of these theories have been killed off only when some decisive experiment exposed their incorrectness.”

“When scientists use the word God, they usually mean the God of Order. For example, one of the most important revelations in Einstein's early childhood took place when he read his first books on science. He immediately realized that most of what he had been taught about religion could not possibly be true. Throughout his career, however, he clung to the belief that a mysterious, divine Order existed in the universe. His life's calling, he would say, was to ferret out his thoughts, to determine whether he had any choice in creating the universe. Einstein repeatedly referred to this God in his writings, fondly calling him ‘the Old Man.’ When stumped with an intractable mathematical problem, he would often say, ‘God is subtle, but not malicious."

“‘Did God have a mother?’ Children, when told that God made the heavens and the earth, innocently ask whether God had a mother. This deceptively simple question has stumped the elders of the church and embarrassed the finest theologians, precipitating some of the thorniest theological debates over the centuries. All the great religions have elaborate mythologies surrounding the divine act of Creation, but none of them adequately confronts the logical paradoxes inherent in the question that even children ask.”

“A hundred years ago, Auguste Compte, … a great philosopher, said that humans will never be able to visit the stars, that we will never know what stars are made out of, that that's the one thing that science will never ever understand, because they're so far away. And then, just a few years later, scientists took starlight, ran it through a prism, looked at the rainbow coming from the starlight, and said: 'Hydrogen!' Just a few years after this very rational, very reasonable, very scientific prediction was made, that we'll never know what stars are made of. “

"It's humbling to realise that the developmental gulf between a minuscule ant colony and our modern human civilisation is only a tiny fraction of the distance between a Type 0 and a Type III civilisation – a factor of 100 billion billion, in fact. Yet we have such a highly regarded view of ourselves, we believe a Type III civilisation would find us irresistible and would rush to make contact with us. The truth is, however, they may be as interested in communicating with humans as we are keen to communicate with ants"