Monday, February 11, 2013

Candidate Theories of Everything

As I pursue this little hobby of searching for the ultimate theory that would describe everything in our universe, I came across two theories, which I find particularly interesting. One is a theory supported by a some of the best theoretical physicists of our time, while another is a theory that describes our reality as a virtual reality.

String Theory

The former is called the String theory, which attempts to describe everything in the universe from the smallest particles, all the way to the largest galaxies.

Currently, we use two (unfortunately) incompatible models to do this -- Quantum Mechanics for the former, and General Relativity for the latter. Sting theory aims to unite these two, and in the process, accurately describe our universe where the current two theories fail, e.g. what happened during the big bang, how black holes behave, among others.

While the theory is mathematically sound, and is actually very elegant, predictions made are still very hard to verify by experiment. This could either mean the theory is not right, or our current level of technology is not yet capable. The theory does make incredible predictions, such as the existence of many dimensions, which is indeed very hard to verify given our current technology.

Further reading: The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene

My Big TOE (MBT)

The latter is called the "My Big TOE" theory as described in the books of Thomas Warren Campbell. He writes that we are "consciousness", and that our bodies are avatars, not unlike characters from multi-player games such as World of Warcraft. You can also think of the virtual reality in the movie, The Matrix to help you imagine this concept.

Find that hard to believe? You're not alone. The blue pill is always the easier choice, but surprisingly, there are a lot of people (including reputable people in science, such as James Gates, Jr.) who are starting to choose the red pill, and question reality as we know it.

According to this theory, reality is just data being fed into our senses, processed by our brains, to produce what our consciousness perceive as reality. This is why sometimes we cannot distinguish between dreams and reality -- both are just data.

Unlike string theory, whose goal is just to describe the physical realm, this theory goes a step further to also describe the metaphysical realm.

My Opinion

MBT, as it tries to describe both the physical and the metaphysical realms, is still hard to digest for most people. Although there is actual research pointing to its validity, I believe we are still decades, if not centuries away, before we arrive at a position to actually discuss this in mainstream forums, without being the subject of ridicule.

The string theory, on the other hand, has more potential in being accepted in the near future. If proven correct, it is actually good news for MBT as it validates the idea that our universe can be a virtual simulation, i.e. we would have a model we can use to recreate our universe in a computer simulator, from the big bang, up to the present.

Exciting times.