Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Nature of Holographic Reality

A few weeks ago, I saw a Slashdot article called The Universe As Hologram that had a link to an article at New Scientist. Thanks to Ze Frank, we also have The Weather Master's take on this.

Here is my translation (based on reading the article and reading other translations.

A bunch of scientists are conducting experiments to detect gravity waves (which Einstein predicted should exist). Waves are continuous, so if gravity waves exist, then that would suggest gravity is continuous.

As they were looking for these gravity waves, they found that space/time is grainier than they thought it was. They expected to see things get grainy when they got down to something close to a size limit known as the Planck length, but instead things got grainy at a much bigger length than they thought.

So, why do I care about stuff like this? As one Slashdot commenter said: is easy to take empirical science for granted. Empiricism is an epistemological position that must be defended, and to ignore the fact that science is a branch of philosophy is to forget how fundamental epistemological assumptions are to science.
I'm sure that I am over simplifying, but I wonder if the "graininess" these scientists are seeing is a result of a basic epistemological limit. Maybe the graininess is indicative of a limit to how much we can know. Maybe Heisenberg would love this. Regardless, I like the idea of physical reality being grainier than they thought. If it's a hologram, maybe I can get the universe put on my Visa card.

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