Why isn’t taught quantum physics in dog schools?

People think that dogs are unable to understand quantum physics. I share this opinion.
But why do we think that we – humans – can understand everything? Despite that humans have more neurons than most of the (other) animals, the human mind is also limited and most of the universe is ungraspable for us. The science and the religions use different terms for this ungraspable, but the disaccord can be easily resolved. Because of the limits of the human mind we have a good reason to be modest.

What is our knowledge enough for?

Our specie has an affinity to create common beliefs (see ethology) which helps us to maintain relationships with our community. Another important benefit of this human trait that the common belief helps us to differentiate ourselves from other groups, other communities. But it also works inversely: if someone has different ideas than we have, then we are inclined to consider that person as foreign and deny certain kind of support from the gringo. It works even at so simple incidents when our fellow colleague is a fan of another football or soccer team than ourselves.

Our specie is proud of that we have much more neurons than most of the other animals. Therefore, our thinking is much more complex, than that of a worm or an insect. Do we think that a worm knows enough about the universe? Of course not. A worm? Alone? We do not have great opinion about worms. But we have great opinion about ants. They are always considered as very diligent solidary insects. And they communicate with each other, so they can share their knowledge. They have by four order of magnitudes more neurons than worms – ants have about quarter million while worms have few hundred. So, the ants surely know every secret of the universe! Or not? Don’t think so?

The limits of the human mind

Humans have even by five order of magnitudes more neurons than ants, and we also communicate, we share our knowledge through teaching, through our books, through the internet. Do we know everything about the universe? Surely not. But could we know everything about the universe?

Albert Einstein told once about his religiousness: “To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious.” Einstein was a modest scientist. Richard Dawkins in his book “The God Delusion” (Bantam Press; 2006) writes: “In this sense I too am religious”, but he immediately adds “with the reservation that ‘cannot grasp’ does not mean ‘forever ungraspable’.” Lots of scientists think that they can grasp everything in the universe. They think so because this is their methodology, the essence of their work, the essence of their existence. Scientists must think that everything is graspable. They must think it at least in their laboratory during working hours.

But the idea that everything is graspable does not mean that we or even the humanity together with our descendants really can grasp everything. Comparing to the universe the difference between us and an ant is not significant. Even not in brain size. In a closer examination our brain seems to be a little bigger than this type of organ of an ant. But in another galaxy only those few Prof. Dr. Aliens would realize it, who has more than hundred publications about the life on Earth.

Always remains some ungraspable

So even if every part of the universe is graspable, we as humans, or we as humanity with the shared knowledge of billions of people will never grasp it in full, because we are very limited in every aspect comparing to the universe. There always will be parts of it which were never investigated, and about which we do not know anything. And it is just one thing. Another is that there are complexities that are ungraspable with our mind. Do we think that we can teach the basics of quantum physics to an ant? And to a dog? If not, then why do we think that we humans are exceptional, and we can be taught everything, every complexity? We cannot. This is our ancestral sin. The sin of consuming the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The knowledge made most of us proud and conceited. Einstein’s modesty was right.

Hello, I am the Roundworm, I have three hundred two neurons!
Who the fuck is that God?
Some scientists think the same about religions. But the human mind is as limited as the mind of the roundworm. We have a good reason to be modest.
Do not overestimate human’s abilities!

Polytheism, monotheism, atheism

The debate between religions, the debate between atheists and theists is going on that how do we imagine that part of the universe (or even multiverse), about which we do not know anything. How do we imagine that level of complexity, which we cannot grasp?

At first sight these imaginations are common in that every of them is just an idea about the unknown. But as it is unknown, it depends on us, how do we imagine it. Our imagination reflects ourselves, not the ungraspable.

Everybody would like to belong to a group, to a community, and therefore everybody needs a belief what is shared among the community. We imagine the unknown and share this imagination with others, and on this way we are creating a community. The common belief makes a community, but the community, the cooperation between its’ members is more important than the belief itself which sticks it together. Atheists argue that this unknown cannot be ‘supernatural’. But what do they mean ‘supernatural’?

A supernatural somebody or something can suspend the laws of physics or any laws of nature, and intervene according to his or her own will. But if we cannot grasp a phenomenon over certain complexity, then from our point of view what is the difference between it and the supernaturality? What is different when an unknown and ungraspable law overwrites some of our well-known laws, and when a supernatural being suspends our well-known laws? Only the interpretation is different: it is an interesting unknown natural phenomenon, or it is a miracle…   Both of them means that we actually cannot grasp what happened.

Different interpretations of the same ungraspable

But nowadays we should talk about what we know and not to debate about what we don’t know! Before we realized that the Cooperation is the Rule people needed different explanations why should they cooperate with their tribemates, with their religion companion, with their nation. Now we know enough about the nature, the mechanism and the advantages of the cooperation. This knowledge is our common belief, by which we can create our community. Parallel with it everybody can keep his/her imagination about things which are unknown and ungraspable by our mind.

At the second sight if we look behind the imaginations of certain persons we find that everybody will imagine the unknown so as it is convenient for his/her occupation.

A priest’s job is to maintain people’s feelings, their mental health, their attitude towards the community, their social behavior. Of course, the ungraspable for him is very human. This human kind of ungraspable is called God, and the believers of it are called theists.

A scientist who investigates the laws of physics, chemistry, biology or the evolution certainly will imagine the ungraspable as further set of physical, genetical and other laws and rules. These people, who’s ungraspable is nonpersonal, define themselves as the opposite of theist called atheist. They say that they do not believe in a personal God, in a creator intelligence. Their belief is generally much stronger in their nonpersonal ungraspable, than the belief of theists. What is the advantage of it?

With 302 (roundworm) or even with 86 billion (human) neurons the only chance to grasp the universe is to create models and abstractions. So never mind whether these rules really exist or not, we have no other chance to gathering knowledge than modelling and creating abstractions, recognizing rules and laws, which seem to be valid at certain circumstances.

Our type of God depends on our job

The before mentioned two examples, atheists and theists were the extremes on the scale of personal vs. nonpersonal ungraspable. Nevertheless, there are a lot of transition between them, and a lot of combination has an own name. For example, deists imagine the ungraspable like at first there is a personal creator, who also defines the laws of the universe, and then the creature works endless according to them. One can say that this idea best fits to engineers. There exist even more custom defined imaginations of ungraspable applied for certain professions like the God of warfare: Mars, or the patron saint of miners: St. Barbara.

In the everyday practice people have more conflicts with each other than with the evolution or with the Higgs boson. Therefore, lots of them impersonates the ungraspable. We let the laws of nature to be the God of the scientists.

Where do religions miss the track?

Religions concentrate on our soul, on ethics, on our social behaviour, on moral rules. They also define our rites, routines and holidays. Religions pay very weak attention to science. It won’t be a problem, but when science confutes some religious dogmas, the churches start to argue. They could simply admit that during the past few thousand year actually they did not deal with that topic. They should be happy about the new results and should try to build them into their system. Instead of it they interpret the result as an attack against religion, against the church, and adhere to the previous dogmas.

On the other side scientists enjoy confuting these dogmas. They feel that it increases their importance if they are against such an important and acknowledged entity like a church. Of course, they could not do it if the churches were flexible enough to avoid such debates, and wise enough to change their outdated dogmas to new ones. Without these debates they could better concentrate on their “core business”: on our spiritual and social life.

Where does science miss the track?

Scientists are proud of their results, and they think that everybody has the same approach as they have. But for most of the humanity it is all the same that the Abrahamic God on the first day in which hour and which minute said: “Let there be light”. For most of us it is all the same that how much time after the Big Bang there was light. (Estimated around 300,000 years, so not within a time period which we call “day” nowadays.)

For the perfect cup of black tea, the tea leaf should stay in the hot water between 3-5 minutes. And this time frame of two minutes is more important from the point of view of our daily life than that few hundred thousand years difference between the teachings about light of the Genesis and the Big Bang Theory. For people harvesting fruits, baking pies, tailoring suits there is only a slight difference between these “creation myths”. There is light, and that is the essence. They rather take care of the weather, the temperature of the oven, the weight of the drape. So why to change from one irrelevant theory to another one? To the old one at least we have got used.

If we are scientists then our job is to investigate the universe or the multiverse or anything inside or outside of it, and we have to do it with a limited brain, and with the also limited knowledge management of mankind. Being a scientist, we have to create models and abstractions, otherwise only the universe itself could grasp the universe. These are tools like the oven for the baker. But scientists should not expect from their fellow creatures to use and to like the same tools as they do.

Only the timeframe of the tolerance is different

The education system more or less accepts, that we people are different. Because of it, teachers do not try to explain to everybody in the elementary school the details of quantum physics, molecular biology, or the methods of archeological excavations. We don’t have to know the latest discoveries for our everyday life, though many of us are interested in it.

At the end of the day, what is the difference between the curriculum of the elementary education, which is accepted by most of the scientists, and the religious dogmas which are generally rejected by them? The difference is that the first fails behind the current status of science with some centuries while the second is with some millenniums. None of them tries to follow the results of science daily. It is not worth, because the today’s results will be outdated tomorrow. Therefore the religion and the science is not as far from each other as most of us think. And we cannot afford it, because the science is so specialized that no one can understand in detail more areas at a time.

That is why for most of us – while admiring the science – the centuries or millenniums old explanations will do. And most of us prefer to substitute the ungraspable with one or more man like gods than with a set of differential equations.

Time for modesty

Practically mankind should finish the debates about the ungraspable, about our speculations, about our imaginations, about our wishes and dreams. These are everybody’s private affairs. We should concentrate on what we know, and talk about this common knowledge, which makes us – the humanity – a community: Cooperation increases our welfare and eliminates conflicts.