There is no spoon

I like to think than I’m a good deal more skeptical than the next man (based on my assumptions as to the average man).  My native, relatively high levels of skepticism have been reinforced over recent years by listening to More-or-Less on Radio 4.

I have almost finished reading The Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark.  This suggests four different “levels” of multiverse and would like me to believe that all that we consider to be reality is just a single mathematical structure.  I’m not really buying his thesis at this stage, though the book is well worth a read as it presents the boundaries of physics in a rather fresh manner.  Perhaps because he has formally linked physics to mathematical structures, I have found that have lost (rather than gained) faith in many of the pronouncements of modern physics – particular those where our theories are being applied in a domain far removed from where we have observed their operation.

I say all this not to show off (well not only to show off) but merely to establish my credentials as a chap who does not necessarily take things on trust.  However, even I was surprised this afternoon when I saw a charity slogan which asked me to “Believe in children”.  I can’t say that I’d ever really doubted their existence up until now.  I even have vague memories of being one, in the distant past.  J M Barrie suggested that every time a child stopped believing a fairy died, but now it seems that children themselves may not exist (which cannot be good news for the Sidhe).  If there are no children, where is all the spending on education actually going?  Forget aliens and the moon landing, here is a vast conspiracy right under our very noses!  Somehow, we have all been hoodwinked into believing in these mythical proto-adults (mass hypnosis? subliminal programming?) – well, the fight-back starts here!  Now, where did I leave that tin foil…

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