Mostly wrong anyway. It’s the best we can do on harnessing the truth of course, but still pretty much wrong. If the history of science has taught us anything, it’s that our major theories of the universe usually turn out to be way off. And there’s something painfully obvious that’s missing from modern physics- the fact that it’s all coming from a very limited, and often very stupid, ape. I’m certainly not the first to point this out, but I am the first to give this issue a name- I call it “Evolutionary Relativity.” Physics assumes that we have some kind of god-like perspective of the universe and that we can unlock all it’s secrets with a little math, but alas, we’ve forgotten that we’re just apes, not gods.
The revolutions of Darwin and Einstein can, and should, be integrated. Given that the development of our understanding of physics is a function of our evolutionary heritage, it seems necessary that evolutionary understandings inform our assumptions in physics. Evolution implies that physics is relative and dependent on how Homo sapiens have adapted.
Physics and mathematics are extremely limited in their ability to tell us about the universe because they have originated through an animal’s relative perspective. Homo sapiens have knowledge because of their sensory perception. But our sensory perception has adapted to a very small segment of physical reality and yet that is from where our physics comes. Every equation we write down about the universe is created through a biological lens. This lens concurs with what we observe with our senses and instruments made with our senses, but when we try to apply these equations to very large and very small scales of physical reality, the ability of physics to explain nature breaks down because our senses break down. Human beings are playthings of the environment. Thus, everything we do, physics included, is also environmentally dependent. Hence, physics that is far removed from our sensory perception- quantum mechanics, general relativity, dark matter, etc– is probably a distorted, relative animal vision of the universe. Evolutionary Relativity is not debating the empirical success of any theory. It is claiming that the fundamental assumption of physics– that Homo sapiens have the capacity to accurately describe levels of reality far outside our own– is limited by our evolution. Moreover, our dead ends in physics could be explained by this limitation. This will be proved when we contact another intelligent civilization and learn that their physics is different from ours.
Why Physics Is Relative
Albert Einstein could have taken the concept of relativity one step further. Not only is time and space relative, but so is our entire system of physics. This is because we are animals. We cannot ignore the fact that we experience the universe through a biological lens any more. The more we ignore it, the more we are failing to understand our place in the universe. Of course our physics concurs with what we observe, but when we try to apply our tangible logic to environments that are far removed from the environment we adapted to, we are not gaining information about the universe, but are instead describing our relative perspective. Quantum and cosmological realms are so removed from our senses that they should be considered environments to which we have not adapted. Epistemology tells us that knowledge comes from our sensory perception and our sensory perception comes from how Homo sapiens have adapted to a very particular animal environment. Therefore, we cannot have knowledge about something that our sensory perception has not adapted to process and understand. Our neural circuits are designed through natural selection to solve adaptive problems our ancestors faced- and not designed to solve the universe. The sensory perception of Homo sapiens is fine-tuned to what is necessary to our survival. It is not fine-tuned to the fine-tunings of the cosmos. Thus, our evolution as a species makes the framework of our physics relative. This is what I call Evolutionary Relativity.
Let us imagine the future. Eventually we will communicate with another advanced civilization in the universe. We typically assume that their system of physics would be not only identical to ours, but probably far superior. What if it’s not? What if their system of physics is completely different? If it is different, it might be because their mode of sensory perception is different from ours. For example, if life on earth originated in the ocean via the warmth of hydrothermal vents, it would not be absurd to imagine a marine intelligent civilization that evolved under an ocean. Or perhaps an intelligent civilization that floats in a Jupiter-like atmosphere or one that communicates with electromagnetic pulses. Would their system of physics be anything like ours? Probably not. Suppose we meet another advanced technological civilization and we discover that their physics is in line with ours (because their sensory perception is similar to ours), but that they have the same problems in physics as we do? They may have reached the same point where physics stops being functional. Each species develops its own way of sensing the world around it. And this basis for understanding reality is from where our animal math and physics comes. Alas, we cannot apply that logic to cosmological or quantum mechanical realms without error, because they are environments so drastically removed from the one to which we have adapted. When we communicate with other intelligences in the universe, we will be able to show Evolutionary Relativity, and hence understand that our problems in physics are not problems for us to solve via math and physics, but through more creative ways- when life eventually becomes the driving creative force of the cosmos.
We don’t come upon many theories that try to explain the workings of the cosmos in a new way because there’s a problem with how we are training scientists. Rigorous scientific schooling prevents the imagination from emerging in it’s full potentiality because it just forces pre-imagined versions of how things work on the students. And according to Thomas Kuhn (author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions), the way science really advances is by a novel deviation from, even a shunning of, all prior puzzle solving approaches to science. But instead we create students that are very good at solving the same old problems, but who are not very good at imagining how the universe could work. The very structure of school is dampening students’ ability to imagine and think creatively, for they can only regurgitate others’ ideas when that’s all they’ve been taught to do. Perhaps if we immerse ourselves in nature and ask ourselves how we know the things that we know and re-ponder the basic questions, without the luxury of textbook or computer, we may come to many realizations about the universe. Since we may come to understand the limitations of physics and mathematics to explain the universe- to where will we turn? To understand the universe, we must make matter from light, life from matter, consciousness from life, and ultimately make our own experimental big bang (perhaps by combining many extraterrestrial spheres of knowledge), so that we can study and observe a universe in its totality.
Physics is not the central science, it is an anthropocentric activity like everything else we do here on planet earth. It’s about time that physics seriously considered the human biology that it is completely submerged within. Nothing is exempt from evolutionary theory. The barriers between the sciences must be broken down for us to maximize our scientific advancements. Hence, no longer should biology, chemistry, and physics stand separately, they are all guided by the same principle; evolution. We live amidst and indeed are ourselves a marvelously complex, blooming process of cosmic evolution.