Lawrence Krauss on the Universe and Rare Events

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Here’s a fellow I don’t post on much, but he’s prone to some interesting quotes nonetheless, and I first heard of him on episode #124 of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe and in the Skeptical Inquirer magazine with his article on the Electric Universe claims.

He’s a theoretical physicist, doing much of the pondering that then gets implemented and tested by the experimentalists.

It’s a physicist thing, so it’s all cool.

Here he discusses the idea we often have that events are somehow out of the ordinary, or special when given enough time to happen, no possible event, however remote is special or significant at all, just rare, but no matter how rare WILL happen.

Richard Feynman used to go up to people all the time and he’d say “You won’t believe what happened to me today… you won’t believe what happened to me” and people would say “What?” and he’d say “Absolutely nothing”. Because we humans believe that everything that happens to us is special and significant. And that — and Carl Sagan wrote beautifully about that in The Demon-Haunted World — that is much of the source of religion. Everything that happens is unusual and I expect that the likelihood that Richard and I ever would’ve met. If you think about all the variables: the probability that we were in the same place at the same time, ate breakfast the same. Whatever. It’s zero. Every event that happens has small probability… but it happens and then when it happens; if it’s weird, if you dream one million nights and it’s nonsense but one night you dream that your friend is gonna break his leg and the next day he breaks his arm… *sound of revelation* So the really thing that physics tell us about the universe is that it’s big, rare event happens all the time — including life — and that doesn’t mean it’s special.

Lawrence M. Krauss (born May 27, 1954) is an American Theoretical Physicist who is Professor of Physics, Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Director of the Origins Project at the Arizona State University. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Physics of Star Trek.

2 thoughts on “Lawrence Krauss on the Universe and Rare Events

  1. Pingback: Foundations of Life « Why Do Parents…?

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