• Category Archives Science
  • How To Make Science, Technology, Engineering, And Mathematics Cool At School

    Science and mathematics are not cool subjects, say students. Consequently, if these subjects are compulsory, students opt for an easier stream in secondary school and are less likely to transition to university science programs. In addition, female students are under-represented in areas such as mathematics, physics and astronomy. Around the world, the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are in grave trouble in secondary and tertiary institutions. But worse, STEM university graduates may not work in a field of their expertise, leaving STEM agencies and organizations to hire from a shrinking pool.

    In 1995, 14 percent of Year 12 secondary school mathematics students studied advanced mathematics, while 37 percent studied elementary mathematics, according to the Australian Mathematical Science Institute. Fifteen years later, in 2010, 10 percent were studying advanced mathematics and 50 percent took the easier option of elementary mathematics. The Australian Mathematical Science Institute revealed that basic mathematics was growing in popularity among secondary students to the detriment of intermediate or advanced studies. This has resulted in fewer universities offering higher mathematics courses, and subsequently there are reduced graduates in mathematics. There have also been reduced intakes in teacher training colleges and university teacher education departments in mathematics programs, which have resulted in many low-income or remote secondary schools without higher level mathematics teachers, which further resulted in fewer science courses or the elimination of specific topics from courses. For some mathematics courses, this is producing a continuous cycle of low supply, low demand, and low supply.

    But is it actually a dire problem? The first question is one of supply. Are universities producing enough quality scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematicians? Harold Salzman of Rutgers University and his research colleague, B. Lindsay Lowell of Georgetown University in Washington D.C., revealed in a 2009 study that, contrary to widespread perception, the United States continued to produce science and engineering graduates. However, fewer than half actually accepted jobs in their field of expertise. They are moving into sales, marketing, and health care jobs.

    The second question is one of demand. Is there a continuing demand for STEM graduates? An October 2011 report from the Georgetown Universitys Centre on Education and the Workforce confirmed the high demand for science graduates, and that STEM graduates were paid a greater starting salary than non-science graduates. The Australian Mathematical Science Institute said the demand for doctorate graduates in mathematics and statistics will rise by 55 percent by 2020 (on 2008 levels). In the United Kingdom, the Department for Engineering and Science report, The Supply and Demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical Skills in the UK Economy (Research Report RR775, 2004) projected the stock of STEM graduates to rise by 62 percent from 2004 to 2014 with the highest growth in subjects allied to medicine at 113 percent, biological science at 77 percent , mathematical science at 77 percent, computing at 77 percent, engineering at 36 percent, and physical science at 32 percent.

    Fields of particular growth are predicted to be agricultural science (food production, disease prevention, biodiversity, and arid-lands research), biotechnology (vaccinations and pathogen science, medicine, genetics, cell biology, pharmagenomics, embryology, bio-robotics, and anti-ageing research), energy (hydrocarbon, mining, metallurgical, and renewable energy sectors), computing (such as video games, IT security, robotics, nanotechnologies, and space technology), engineering (hybrid-electric automotive technologies), geology (mining and hydro-seismology), and environmental science (water, land use, marine science, meteorology, early warning systems, air pollution, and zoology).

    So why arent graduates undertaking science careers? The reason is because its just not cool — not at secondary school, nor at university, nor in the workforce. Georgetown Universitys CEW reported that American science graduates viewed traditional science careers as too socially isolating. In addition, a liberal-arts or business education was often regarded as more flexible in a fast-changing job market.

    How can governments make science cool? The challenge, says Professor Ian Chubb, head of Australias Office of the Chief Scientist, is to make STEM subjects more attractive for students, particularly females — without dumbing down the content. Chubb, in his Health of Australian Science report (May 2012) , indicated that, at research level, Australia has a relatively high scholarly output in science, producing more than 3 percent of world scientific publications yet accounting for only about 0.3 percent of the worlds population. Australian-published scholarly outputs, including fields other than science, grew at a rate of about 5 percent per year between 1999 and 2008. This was considerably higher than the global growth rate of 2.6 percent. But why isnt this scholarly output translating into public knowledge, interest, and participation in science?

    Chubb promotes a two-pronged approach to the dilemma: 1. science education: enhancing the quality and engagement of science teaching in schools and universities; and 2. science workforce: the infusion of science communication into mainstream consciousness to promote the advantages of scientific work.

    Specifically, Chubb calls for creative and inspirational teachers and lecturers, as well as an increase in female academics, for positive role modeling, and to set science in a modern context. Instead of restructuring and changing the curriculum, he advocates training teachers to create ways to make mathematics and science more relevant to students lives. Communicating about science in a more mainstream manner is also critical to imparting the value of scientific innovation. Chubb is a fan of social media to bring science into the mainstream and to change peoples perception of science careers and scientists. Social media can also bring immediacy to the rigor, analysis, observation and practical components of science.

    In practical terms, the recent findings on student attitudes to STEM subjects, their perception of scientific work, and the flow of STEM graduates to their field of expertise, may be improved by positively changing the way governments, scientists, and educators communicate science on a day-to-day level.

    Contextual, situational, relevant science education is more likely to establish links between theory and practical application. This can be demonstrated through real-world applications, including science visits and explorations in the local environment, at all levels of education. Even university students should avoid being cloistered in study rooms, and be exposed to real world, real environment situations. Furthermore, science educators advocate the use of spring-boarding student queries, interests, and motivation into extra-curriculum themes that capture their imagination and innovation. Therefore, enabling students to expand core curricula requirements to include optional themes, projects, competitions, and activities chosen by individual students, groups, or school clusters lead to increased student (and teacher) motivation and participation. In addition, integrating and cross-fertilizing science with non-science subjects and day-to-day activities (e.g. the science of chocolate, sport science, technical drawings, artistic design, and clothing design) can powerfully place STEM subjects firmly into practical applications. Scientists in residence programs, in which local scientists work periodically in school and university settings, can inspire students and provide two-way communication opportunities. In addition, international collaborations between schools of different regions or countries through a range of technologies demonstrate and reinforce collaboration in the scientific workplace — as a way to build a cadre of experts, exchange ideas, network, cooperate, economize, and create culturally diverse outcomes of excellence.

    These approaches can provide a more realistic concept of the work scientists perform from a local to a global perspective.


  • Discovering hidden trends through mathematics

    Mathematics is a concept based, logical and a fascinating subject. We can say that mathematics is a science of analysis, research and thinking power of human mind. This mainly deals with the calculation part. Therefore it can be stated that this subject is a big mountain of knowledge in the minds of human breaking the stones that act as a hurdle on their way. Though mathematics brought tears in eyes of many students. But no need to worry. Mathematics assignment help services provided by many educational websites are available at internet which can take care of all problems of mathematics.

    These online tutoring services comprises all chapters and topics of mathematics like trigonometry, algebra, calculus, Differentiation, Integration, Asymptotes, Vectors, 3D geometry and so forth. This describes that it covers all range of students from primary graduates to masters.

    Mathematics helps the people in facing all the practical problems and challenges of the real world. We can observe that mathematics can be used everywhere from the fundamental areas to the complicated regions. It is used in professional and personal field for the expenditures and income gained. Physics, Chemistry, Accounts, Statistics and even Biology subject needs mathematics theorems and calculations. Without mathematics you can assume your academic progress and career growth.

    Mathematics is not a subject which is totally based on one formula or one theorem. It comprises many. That’s why some students very much like it as they thought they have some new concepts of solving the problems. But there are many more who dislikes it due to various reasons. Concentration and practice are the two key points in mastering mathematics.

    There are some guidelines for the parents while teaching mathematics to their children.

    A) Do not create any negative environment in front of children by showing his/her weakness in the subject.

    B) Revised yourself first and then teach the child. Do not go for tuitions classes.

    C) Help in comprehending the fundamentals of mathematics then courage him to solve the relevant problems.

    D) Motivate your child to solve the problem by themselves without taking help from readymade solutions.

    E) Motivate them to do basic calculations by themselves without using calculator.

    Author is an expert who likes to share his view regarding Math Assignment help she is experienced in various subjects. She has so many latest techniques to make students capable of learning Math theories and concepts much easily.


  • Few things need to be follow while teaching science and mathematics in secondary

    There has been nationwide attempt to improve the quality and quantity of science and mathematics teachers in secondary level. Reports suggest that it requires an overall motivation to make people come forward for teaching these two subjects in secondary school. Creating awareness about process of teaching and learning itself is a good way to start with. Attracting fresh science and math graduate towards secondary teaching is another initiative suggested by researchers. Accordingly a study was conducted and eight graduate students were placed for ten hours a week on secondary school teaching.

    The results were measured on the basis of their interest level in secondary school teaching prior to the study and post study. Findings were shocking as there were evident sign of low desire. The positive outcome of the study emerged in the form reasons given by the students about their low desire to become secondary teachers.

    So the basic reasons for lack of quality and quantity of math and science teachers in secondary schools are:

    Their aspiration to work in higher level of science and math. Unruly behavior of the class and their lack of motivation to study the subject. Teaching was viewed as a job and not considered as career by many of the graduates. Teaching under school systems demands too much of unnecessary activities objected by the graduates. There were special recruitment drives started by the president of America to recruit math and science teachers. Attempts were made to increase the quality of teaching by making bachelor’s degree mandatory to become a secondary teacher. Need for an alternative incentive beside money was highlighted. Study strongly recommended for an overall motivational approach towards science and mathematics teaching.

    Lack of good teachers in these too subjects have become too evident to hide. Students can go for online help like online tutoring services and online math tutoring for better grades in secondary school.


  • Dream Interpretation As A Science Of Mental Health And Happiness

    My research began when I understood that our dreams should have a meaning, but nothing was certain. Nothing was clear and indubitable.

    There was too much to be understood, and then simplified, so that everyone could easily learn the dream language and how to apply this knowledge to their own lives.

    Today, after 19 years of discoveries and cures, the scientific method of dream interpretation is perfect and very clear. You have the privilege of learning it in only a few hours and start immediately translating your own dreams.

    You will begin translating a few parts of the dream: the known symbols. for more detials:www.fire-itup.com.Then, you will pay attention to the story, and to the general symbolic meaning of the dream.

    Everything must be related to the dreamer’s life, since this is one of the most important aspects for a perfect dream translation. If you are analyzing your own dreams, you won’t have difficulties on this point, but when translating other people’s dreams, you may have problems because they won’t feel comfortable revealing the various unpleasant parts of their lives…

    Dream interpretation according to the scientific method is a surgical operation inside your brain. The unconscious mind that produces our dreams is a psychiatrist and tries to help us preserve our mental health.

    If you learn the dream language and you follow the wise guidance of the unconscious mind, you will find happiness in life, developing your intelligence and sensitivity.

    Your dreams won’t have the confused image they have now to your ignorant eyes. You will look at the dream scenes understanding their messages.

    For example, let’s say that you see a dream in which you are eating olives and then you see a snake appearing in the kitchen. You’ll immediately understand that you have to be flexible and smart, instead of sticking, which is symbolized by the olives you eat: this means that you must become more “oily”, in other words, accept reality with elasticity, instead of insisting on your old points of view. for visit detials:–www.82-money-pocket.com.And you have to do that without a doubt, because if you don’t, you will suffer a lot until you change.

    The snake represents a painful experience that will correct a mistake, and in the end will have a positive meaning in your life, but if you can avoid having to pass through painful experiences in order to learn your lessons, this will be much better for you.

    Be smart and “oily”, so that you won’t have to be transformed through pain. The kitchen represents a place of transformation, because in the kitchen you cook: you transform the fresh vegetables and the raw meat into hot food. The food you prepare represents your actions.

    So, the general message of this small dream is exactly that: “be careful, because if you aren’t smart and get accordingly adapted to the conditions of your life, and if you don’t pay attention to your actions, you’ll have to pass through painful situations”.

    As you can observe, this small dream has already given you important information. Imagine now how much you can learn and understand when you translate long and complex dreams, and when you relate a series of dreams, one to the other: you have a complete image of your life, your problems, your mistakes and the steps you must take to start solving and correcting everything.

    The dream messages give you warnings, helping you avoid what is bad and prepare the future results you desire, besides transforming your personality: you become mature, self-confident, optimistic, calm, and wise. Your advantages are so many that you cannot help but feel superior and happy!

    Christina Sponias continued Carl Jung’s research into the human psyche, discovering the cure for all mental illnesses, and simplifying the scientific method of dream interpretation that teaches you how to exactly translate the meaning of your dreams, so that you can find health, wisdom and happiness.


  • Ancient Greek Mathematics

    Introduction to ancient greek mathematics :

    Ancient greeks are regarded as one of the major discoverer of “Geometry”. The greeks were not intrested in numbers much. So they showed their interest in geometry which led to major discoveries. The notable achievements of the greek mathematicians were observed mainly in the period of 6th century BC to 4th century AD.

    The word “Mathematics” was termed by pythagoreans (the followers of pythagoras) from the greek word “mathema” meaning ” subject of instructions”.

    Major discoveries in ancient greek mathematics

    Some of the major discoveries made by the ancient greek mathematicians are as follows :

    The concept of theorems and postulates was introduced by the ancient greek mathematicians. Euclid’s elements were introduced. One of the most important discovery was theory of conic sections during Hellinistic period. Archimede’s principle was introduced during this period. Some major contributions were also made in the field of astronomy. Other achievements were also made in number theory, applied mathematics, mathematical analysis and were close to integral calculus.

    Major ancient greek mathematicians

    The most famous greek mathematicians are:

    Pythagoras Pythagoras had major contributions in the field of Mathematics. He introduced pythagoras theorem and its proof. He also proved the existence of irrational numbers. He had interests in other fields such as astronomy and philosophy. His studies had a great influence on Plato. He also established an academy with an aim to spread Mathematics in the universe. Anaxagoras He was a pre – Socratic greek philospher. He made a significant contribution in the field of cosmology. He studied the celestial bodies closely. Aristarchus He was a Greek mathematician and an astronomer. He was the first astronomer to place sun at the center of the solar system instead of Earth. He proposed heliocentric model of solar system. He calculated distance of sun, moon from earth and their sizes. Thales He introduced Thales theorem and many corollaries which he used to calculate the height of pyramid and distance of ship from the shore. Euclid He introduced a book named Elements. He defined the terms theorems, proofs, postulates etc. His major contribution was conic section. Archimedes Archimedes gave an approximate value of Pi. He also calculated area covered by the arc of parabola and had major contribution in area of calculus. He produced the solution for infinite summation series. Eudoxus His contributions are observed in modern integration. and many other greek mathematicians existed during the hellinistic period.

    The origins of Greek mathematics are not easily documented. The earliest advanced civilizations in the country of Greece and in Europe were the Minoan and later Mycenean civilization, both of which flourished during the 2nd millennium BC. While these civilizations possessed writing and were capable of advanced engineering, including four-story palaces with drainage and beehive tombs, they left behind no mathematical documents.

    Comprehend more on about What is Function Notation and its Circumstances. Between, if you have problem on these topics What is Geometric Mean Please share your views here by commenting.


  • Environmental Science And Its’ Components

    These days there is there is a lot buzz about the world going green and preserving the environment. Well, I think that all of you might be reading something or the other about “environment and ecology” in newspaper, magazines or over the internet. So, let me throw light on this topic.

    Environmental Science is the scientific study of the ways in which biological, physical and chemical components of the environment interact and the relations between them. Environmental science and ecology are overlapped but different science disciplines.

    Environmental science and ecology are overlapped but different science disciplines. Ecology is the study of the interactions of living organisms with their environments, including relationship with other organisms. Environmental science is multidisciplinary in nature and provides a broad area of study of environmental systems integrating both biological and physical concepts with an interdisciplinary approach.

    Components of Environmental Science:

    Atmospheric Sciences examine the phenomenology of the Earth’s gaseous outer layer with emphasis upon interrelation to other systems. Atmospheric sciences comprise meteorological studies, greenhouse gas phenomena, and atmospheric dispersion modeling of airborne contaminants, noise pollution, and even light pollution.

    Ecology studies typically analyze the dynamics of biological populations and some aspect of their environment.

    Due to the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science, teams of professionals commonly work together to conduct environmental research or to produce Environmental Impact Statements. Environmental science encompasses issues such as climate change, conservation, biodiversity, water quality, groundwater contamination, soil contamination, and use of natural resources, waste management, sustainable development, disaster reduction, air pollution, and noise pollution.

    Geosciences include environmental geology, environmental soil science, volcanic phenomena and evolution of the Earth’s crust. In some classification systems it can also embrace hydrology including oceanography.

    Well, above is a brief overview about Environmental Science and its’ machinery. Having a sound knowledge about our environment will certainly help us to protect Nature, which is the “Gift of God” to mankind.


  • Ergonomic Science Of Work Physiology & Work Demands

    Work physiology is the science that studies how the human body responds to the physical stress of work or activity demands. These physiological responses are important in maintaining homeostasis in the body during work activities and reducing the adverse effects of physiological fatigue due to work. Homeostasis is defined as the maintenance of a constant or changing environment. In practical terms, it refers to the relatively constant internal environment of the human body during both stressed and relaxed conditions, due to many regulating anatomical and physiological systems. These organ systems and physiological responses regulate cellular metabolism, energy production, cellular waste product removal, voluntary muscle control, and the flow of blood and oxygen to working muscles. An understanding of the role of major organ systems in the human body during work activities and the relationships between work intensity and recovery intervals is essential to the science of ergonomics.

    Metabolism
    To accomplish work, the body requires energy, oxygen and nutrients. The human body consumes and uses carbohydrate, fat and protein nutrients to provide the required energy to maintain homeostasis both at rest and during work activity. During work, the primary nutrients utilized are fats and carbohydrates, with proteins contributing less than 5-15% of the total energy used. These nutrients, after having been converted to chemicals, enter the blood stream and circulate to the various internal organs and muscles. At the muscle sites, this chemical energy is converted into mechanical energy, or a muscle contraction, and heat. This process is known as metabolism.

    Working muscle requires a constant supply of energy. The fundamental source of energy for these contractions is the high-energy Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) molecule. The ATP molecule is the most important energy carrying molecule in the muscle cell. The ATP compound consists of three parts: adenosine molecule, a ribose molecule and three phosphate molecules linked together by chemical bonds. The bonds linking the phosphate molecules are high-energy bonds and when these bonds are broken, large amounts of energy are released. This energy is then used for muscle contractions. The energy can be liberated from the ATP molecule by a process known as phosphorylation. This metabolic process is shown below. Phosphorylation is the process in which the Adenosine Triphosphate molecule is broken down by the enzyme ATPase into Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP), a phosphate molecule (Pi) and energy.
    Aerobic Metabolism
    The Adenosine Triphosphate needed for muscle work can be produced from either aerobic (with oxygen) metabolism or from anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism. The aerobic metabolism of nutrients refers to the oxidation of glucose or glycogen molecules and fatty acids to form ATP, this process is called aerobic glycolysis. This metabolic pathway requires a continuous supply of blood in order to provide ongoing oxygen and nutrients.

    A cardiovascular response to increased workload is to increase the amount of blood flowing to active muscle. However, it can take almost one minute for this response to be activated. Therefore, at the onset of most industrial tasks, or in cases of quick-high intensity tasks, it is not always possible to have adequate blood flow available to working muscles. When this occurs, the muscles switch to anaerobic metabolism.

    Anaerobic Metabolism
    The muscle cells can produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) or energy, without oxygen (anaerobic metabolism) by two methods: the first method is to break high-energy phosphate bonds in Creatine Phosphate (CP) molecules. The second method is by a process known as anaerobic glycolysis. Under anaerobic conditions, the simplest and thus immediate source of energy is through the use or production of the Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) molecule by breaking high-energy phosphate bonds in the Creatine Phosphate (CP) molecule. The CP molecule donates a phosphate(P) to an ADP molecule to create an ATP molecule and energy. Creatine Kinase is the enzyme that initiates this reaction in the muscle

    The second anaerobic metabolic process for energy synthesis is called anaerobic glycolysis. This process also generates a limited amount of energy, but does so by breaking the chemical bonds in the breakdown of glucose to lactic acid. Anaerobic glycolysis can only produce enough ATP or usable energy for a few minutes. In this method, however, the supply of CP is quickly depleted in under 1 minute. Anaerobic glycolysis provides energy for up to four minute. Only the aerobic glycolysis process can provide a sustained supply of energy to working muscles. With both anaerobic processes, work can only be sustained for short periods because is a limited supply of available ATP and CP molecules in the muscle cells

    Muscle Fatigue
    When skeletal muscle is continually stimulated, the force or tension that is developed by the muscle fibers diminishes. This failure of muscle fiber to maintain tension as a result of contractile activity is known as muscle fatigue. The onset of fatigue depends on both the type of skeletal muscle fibers as well as the intensity and duration of the muscle contractions. The red muscle fibers, or the -slow twitch- fibers appear to have better blood flow and therefore oxygen supply to maintain aerobic metabolism. In the slow twitch muscle fibers, fatigue develops more slowly. These muscles fibers are used mostly during long duration, low intensity activities. The white muscle fibers, also called -fast twitch- fibers, appear to rely more upon anaerobic metabolism. These fibers fatigue more rapidly, and are used more for short duration, high intensity activities. The development of muscle fatigue corresponds to four events that occur in working muscles:

    1.)The depletion of the concentration of ATP. The rate of ATP utilization exceeds the rate of production. The muscle cannot contract without ATP.
    2.)Increased amounts of intracellular acidity due to the rise in lactic acid levels. This increased hydrogen ion concentration affects the contractile proteins of the muscle fibers, decreasing the force generated by the muscle fibers.
    3.)The depletion of muscle glycogen levels. As the amount of available glycogen diminishes, the muscle can no longer sustain a contraction.
    4.)Levels of other metabolic waste products, including Carbon Dioxide, increase within muscle cells. If levels of acid and carbon dioxide waste products build up, this will slow aerobic metabolism, resulting in less efficient metabolism.

    If muscle fatigue sets in and the muscle is no longer able to sustain work efficiently, the muscle becomes overloaded resulting in micro trauma to the muscle fibers. If this fatigue and overloading is repetitive or long term in nature the resulting microtrauma becomes cumulative and pathology or injury occurs. Local muscle fatigue is suspect to contribute to work-related Cumulative Trauma Disorders. In order to avoid the adverse effects of muscle fatigue, a sufficient supply or flow of blood to the working muscles is critical.

    Since aerobic metabolism generates almost 20 times as much ATP for energy as does anaerobic energy, the effects of muscle fatigue can be minimized by ensuring work load intensity is low enough so that adequate oxygenation, or blood flow to the active working muscles is achieved. If heavy workloads are required, they should be brief in duration, lasting less than a few seconds or minutes, which reduces the effects of prolonged anaerobic metabolism, and maximizes metabolic efficiency.

    Summary
    The most important factor in ergonomic job design or modification is to promote aerobic metabolism and adequate blood flow, resulting in a high metabolic efficiency. This will maintain adequate blood flow to working muscles, prevent fatigue and allow maximal performance. Dynamic muscle contractions are always preferred over static muscle loading situations. Work-rest cycles should provide sufficient recovery times to sufficiently perfuse active muscles with blood. Jobs should be designed or modified to minimize or reduce the requirements for static contractions, such as static grips, extended reaches and extreme postures.


  • Does Age Affect How Well You See Optical Illusions Science Fair Project

    Optical illusions are a byproduct of the human mind trying to make sense out of complex patterns. The brain uses what it knows about the world in order to interpret images and patterns. In doing this it sometimes adds to or deletes elements from the actual image to make it make more sense. In this science fair project students will be exploring how age impacts a persons ability to see an optical illusion.

    Hypothesis

    The hypothesis for this science fair project is that the older you are the more likely you are to see an optical illusion. The dependent variable in this hypothesis is the ability to see an optical illusion and the independent variable is the age of the test subject.

    Supplies You Will Need

    To complete this science fair project students will need a variety of printed optical illusions that range from simple to complex. They will also need three to four test subjects per age group. Finally the students will need a data tracking form.

    The Experiment

    The control experiment for this science fair project will test a person who is about 30 to 40 years of age. This is the median age for the test group. They will each be exposed to an optical illusion card and asked what they see. The cards will begin with simple optical illusions and progress to more complex optical illusions.

    The test experiment will actually consist of three separate test groups. Test Group 1 will be made up of elementary aged students between the ages of 8 and 10, Test Group 2 will be made up of young adults between 17 and 22, and Test Group 3 will be made up of older adults between the ages of 45 and 55. Each test group will be given the optical illusion test given in the control experiment.

    Data Collection

    The collection of data will be very simple. All the students will need to do is to write down the responses to the cards. They will then need to indicate if the correctly identified the optical illusion or if they failed to identify the optical illusion.

    Data Analysis

    The analysis of the data in this experiment is going to take some time. This is because there is going to be a lot of data to organize and evaluate. To start with each test group will be evaluated individually. The student will want to find the average rate of correctness in the optical illusion identification test. They will also want to find the average rate of correctness for each optical illusion card.

    Students can then determine if the age group had difficulties with any particular card and they can give the group an optical illusion complexity rating of one to five, with one being that they cannot identify any optical illusions and five being that they can identify all levels of optical illusions. These results can then be compared across the age spectrum.

    Drawing Conclusions

    The conclusions that are drawn will be based on the results of each test group. Students will want to determine if aging positively impacts a persons ability to identify, or see an optical illusion. If this trend is identified then the hypothesis is correct, if it is not present then the hypothesis is considered null and void.


  • Mathematics and Computer Science

    Computations and calculations may build an exciting career

    Learning computers and its applications might be a favorite option for everyone, but what about mathematics? For most of the students, mathematics is a dreadful dream that scares them with some calculations, proofs, geometric diagrams etc. But it is a fact that each and every scientific or engineering discipline is built on mathematical principles and theorem.

    Renowned English mathematician Issac Barrow quoted, Mathematics the unshaken foundation of sciences and the plentiful foundation of advantage to human affairs. Understanding the root mathematical concepts means you can learn most of the subjects easily. One of the perfect examples is application of mathematics in computer science.

    Computer instructions are written and coded with different types of programming languages which translate to machine languages. So those instructions or designs known as algorithm are based on some mathematical theories. If you have sound knowledge in mathematical theorems, it would be easy for you to learn those computational concepts. Real world applications are built on strong foundation of proven principles. How we implement those methods to prove the feasibility or relevancy of computer applications? Again here comes the role of mathematics. If you are interested in making mathematician as a career option or if you are inclined to a career in computers, do not forget the fact that both are interconnected. As a mathematician, you can develop computational methods and computer codes, based on which real world problems will be solved. On the other hand, as an IT professional, you may use applied mathematics in your area of expertise, even if it is programming or information security. No matter, in which niche area you work, mathematics can be found in every computer related occupation.

    If you wish to become a mathematician or a computer professional, you should know the educational path. As we have discussed, both the majors are closely related, so what about pursuing an interdisciplinary course? Majoring in an interdisciplinary program of mathematics and computer science helps you in exploring diverse career roles. An associate’s degree in either mathematics or computer science can be your initial step. Enrolling into a bachelor’s degree interdisciplinary program of mathematics and computer science, can help you gaining in-depth knowledge in both the disciplines. This can serve as a knowledge foundation, based on which your career will be built. Completing the bachelor’s degree, you can even specialize in any specific option with an advanced degree.

    It is the time to be informed about salaries of these professions. Computer professions are always viewed as a lucrative career choice. Bureau of labor statistics reports that the job growth is also expected to be far better. What would be job outlook of mathematical careers? It would be surprising to know that mathematicians are one among the highly paid careers with a median annual wage of $99,380. Even the job prospects are expected to be good with keen competition. So get ready to play with numbers, make calculations and code some programs. Start your search for the right match of colleges and universities.


  • The Science Of Superstitions

    The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”

    Albert Einstein, The World as I See It, 1931
    The debate between realism and anti-realism is, at least, a century old. Does Science describe the real world – or are its theories true only within a certain conceptual framework? Is science only instrumental or empirically adequate or is there more to it than that?

    The current – mythological – image of scientific enquiry is as follows:

    Without resorting to reality, one can, given infinite time and resources, produce all conceivable theories. One of these theories is bound to be the “truth”. To decide among them, scientists conduct experiments and compare their results to predictions yielded by the theories. A theory is falsified when one or more of its predictions fails. No amount of positive results – i.e., outcomes that confirm the theory’s predictions – can “prove right” a theory. Theories can only be proven false by that great arbiter, reality.

    Jose Ortega y Gasset said (in an unrelated exchange) that all ideas stem from pre-rational beliefs. William James concurred by saying that accepting a truth often requires an act of will which goes beyond facts and into the realm of feelings. Maybe so, but there is little doubt today that beliefs are somehow involved in the formation of many scientific ideas, if not of the very endeavor of Science. After all, Science is a human activity and humans always believe that things exist (=are true) or could be true.

    A distinction is traditionally made between believing in something’s existence, truth, value of appropriateness (this is the way that it ought to be) – and believing that something. The latter is a propositional attitude: we think that something, we wish that something, we feel that something and we believe that something. Believing in A and believing that A – are different.

    It is reasonable to assume that belief is a limited affair. Few of us would tend to believe in contradictions and falsehoods. Catholic theologians talk about explicit belief (in something which is known to the believer to be true) versus implicit one (in the known consequences of something whose truth cannot be known). Truly, we believe in the probability of something (we, thus, express an opinion) – or in its certain existence (truth).

    All humans believe in the existence of connections or relationships between things. This is not something which can be proven or proven false (to use Popper’s test). That things consistently follow each other does not prove they are related in any objective, “real”, manner – except in our minds. This belief in some order (if we define order as permanent relations between separate physical or abstract entities) permeates both Science and Superstition. They both believe that there must be – and is – a connection between things out there.

    Science limits itself and believes that only certain entities inter-relate within well defined conceptual frames (called theories). Not everything has the potential to connect to everything else. Entities are discriminated, differentiated, classified and assimilated in worldviews in accordance with the types of connections that they forge with each other.

    Moreover, Science believes that it has a set of very effective tools to diagnose, distinguish, observe and describe these relationships. It proves its point by issuing highly accurate predictions based on the relationships discerned through the use of said tools. Science (mostly) claims that these connections are “true” in the sense that they are certain – not probable.

    The cycle of formulation, prediction and falsification (or proof) is the core of the human scientific activity. Alleged connections that cannot be captured in these nets of reasoning are cast out either as “hypothetical” or as “false”. In other words: Science defines “relations between entities” as “relations between entities which have been established and tested using the scientific apparatus and arsenal of tools”. This, admittedly, is a very cyclical argument, as close to tautology as it gets.

    Superstition is a much simpler matter: everything is connected to everything in ways unbeknown to us. We can only witness the results of these subterranean currents and deduce the existence of such currents from the observable flotsam. The planets influence our lives, dry coffee sediments contain information about the future, black cats portend disasters, certain dates are propitious, certain numbers are to be avoided. The world is unsafe because it can never be fathomed. But the fact that we – limited as we are – cannot learn about a hidden connection – should not imply that it does not exist.

    Science believes in two categories of relationships between entities (physical and abstract alike). The one is the category of direct links – the other that of links through a third entity. In the first case, A and B are seen to be directly related. In the second case, there is no apparent link between A and B, but a third entity, C could well provide such a connection (for instance, if A and B are parts of C or are separately, but concurrently somehow influenced by it).

    Each of these two categories is divided to three subcategories: causal relationships, functional relationships and correlative relationship.

    A and B will be said to be causally related if A precedes B, B never occurs if A does not precede it and always occurs after A occurs. To the discerning eye, this would seem to be a relationship of correlation (“whenever A happens B happens”) and this is true. Causation is subsumed by a the 1.0 correlation relationship category. In other words: it is a private case of the more general case of correlation.

    A and B are functionally related if B can be predicted by assuming A but we have no way of establishing the truth value of A. The latter is a postulate or axiom. The time dependent Schrdinger Equation is a postulate (cannot be derived, it is only reasonable). Still, it is the dynamic laws underlying wave mechanics, an integral part of quantum mechanics, the most accurate scientific theory that we have. An unproved, non-derivable equation is related functionally to a host of exceedingly precise statements about the real world (observed experimental results).

    A and B are correlated if A explains a considerable part of the existence or the nature of B. It is then clear that A and B are related. Evolution has equipped us with highly developed correlation mechanisms because they are efficient in insuring survival. To see a tiger and to associate the awesome sight with a sound is very useful.

    Still, we cannot state with any modicum of certainty that we possess all the conceivable tools for the detection, description, analysis and utilization of relations between entities. Put differently: we cannot say that there are no connections that escape the tight nets that we cast in order to capture them. We cannot, for instance, say with any degree of certainty that there are no hyper-structures which would provide new, surprising insights into the interconnectedness of objects in the real world or in our mind. We cannot even say that the epistemological structures with which we were endowed are final or satisfactory. We do not know enough about knowing.

    Consider the cases of Non-Aristotelian logic formalisms, Non-Euclidean geometries, Newtonian Mechanics and non classical physical theories (the relativity theories and, more so, quantum mechanics and its various interpretations). All of them revealed to us connections which we could not have imagined prior to their appearance. All of them created new tools for the capture of interconnectivity and inter-relatedness. All of them suggested one kind or the other of mental hyper-structures in which new links between entities (hitherto considered disparate) could be established.

    So far, so good for superstitions. Today’s superstition could well become tomorrow’s Science given the right theoretical developments. The source of the clash lies elsewhere, in the insistence of superstitions upon a causal relation.

    The general structure of a superstition is: A is caused by B. The causation propagates through unknown (one or more) mechanisms. These mechanisms are unidentified (empirically) or unidentifiable (in principle). For instance, al the mechanisms of causal propagation which are somehow connected to divine powers can never, in principle, be understood (because the true nature of divinity is sealed to human understanding).

    Thus, superstitions incorporate mechanisms of action which are, either, unknown to Science  or are impossible to know, as far as Science goes. All the “action-at-a-distance” mechanisms are of the latter type (unknowable). Parapsychological mechanisms are more of the first kind (unknown).

    The philosophical argument behind superstitions is pretty straightforward and appealing. Perhaps this is the source of their appeal. It goes as follows:

    There is nothing that can be thought of that is impossible (in all the Universes);
    There is nothing impossible (in all the Universes) that can be thought of;
    Everything that can be thought about  is, therefore, possible (somewhere in the Universes);
    Everything that is possible exists (somewhere in the Universes).
    If something can be thought of (=is possible) and is not known (=proven or observed) yet – it is most probably due to the shortcomings of Science and not because it does not exist.

    Some of these propositions can be easily attacked. For instance: we can think about contradictions and falsehoods but (apart from a form of mental representation) no one will claim that they exist in reality or that they are possible. These statements, though, apply very well to entities, the existence of which has yet to be disproved (=not known as false, or whose truth value is uncertain) and to improbable (though possible) things. It is in these formal logical niches that superstition thrives.

    APPENDIX – From “The Cycle of Science”

    “There was a time when the newspapers said that only twelve men understood the theory of relativity. I do not believe that there ever was such a time… On the other hand, I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics… Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, ‘But how can it be like that?’, because you will get ‘down the drain’ into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.”
    R. P. Feynman (1967)

    “The first processes, therefore, in the effectual studies of the sciences, must be ones of simplification and reduction of the results of previous investigations to a form in which the mind can grasp them.”
    J. C. Maxwell, On Faraday’s lines of force

    ” …conventional formulations of quantum theory, and of quantum field theory in particular, are unprofessionally vague and ambiguous. Professional theoretical physicists ought to be able to do better. Bohm has shown us a way.”
    John S. Bell, Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics

    “It would seem that the theory [quantum mechanics] is exclusively concerned about ‘results of measurement’, and has nothing to say about anything else. What exactly qualifies some physical systems to play the role of ‘measurer’? Was the wavefunction of the world waiting to jump for thousands of millions of years until a single-celled living creature appeared? Or did it have to wait a little longer, for some better qualified system … with a Ph.D.? If the theory is to apply to anything but highly idealized laboratory operations, are we not obliged to admit that more or less ‘measurement-like’ processes are going on more or less all the time, more or less everywhere. Do we not have jumping then all the time?

    The first charge against ‘measurement’, in the fundamental axioms of quantum mechanics, is that it anchors the shifty split of the world into ‘system’ and ‘apparatus’. A second charge is that the word comes loaded with meaning from everyday life, meaning which is entirely inappropriate in the quantum context. When it is said that something is ‘measured’ it is difficult not to think of the result as referring to some pre-existing property of the object in question. This is to disregard Bohr’s insistence that in quantum phenomena the apparatus as well as the system is essentially involved. If it were not so, how could we understand, for example, that ‘measurement’ of a component of ‘angular momentum’ … in an arbitrarily chosen direction … yields one of a discrete set of values? When one forgets the role of the apparatus, as the word ‘measurement’ makes all too likely, one despairs of ordinary logic … hence ‘quantum logic’. When one remembers the role of the apparatus, ordinary logic is just fine.

    In other contexts, physicists have been able to take words from ordinary language and use them as technical terms with no great harm done. Take for example the ‘strangeness’, ‘charm’, and ‘beauty’ of elementary particle physics. No one is taken in by this ‘baby talk’… Would that it were so with ‘measurement’. But in fact the word has had such a damaging effect on the discussion, that I think it should now be banned altogether in quantum mechanics.”
    J. S. Bell, Against “Measurement”

    “Is it not clear from the smallness of the scintillation on the screen that we have to do with a particle? And is it not clear, from the diffraction and interference patterns, that the motion of the particle is directed by a wave? De Broglie showed in detail how the motion of a particle, passing through just one of two holes in screen, could be influenced by waves propagating through both holes. And so influenced that the particle does not go where the waves cancel out, but is attracted to where they co-operate. This idea seems to me so natural and simple, to resolve the wave-particle dilemma in such a clear and ordinary way, that it is a great mystery to me that it was so generally ignored.”
    J. S. Bell, Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics

    “…in physics the only observations we must consider are position observations, if only the positions of instrument pointers. It is a great merit of the de Broglie-Bohm picture to force us to consider this fact. If you make axioms, rather than definitions and theorems, about the “measurement” of anything else, then you commit redundancy and risk inconsistency.”
    J. S. Bell, Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics

    “To outward appearance, the modern world was born of an anti religious movement: man becoming self-sufficient and reason supplanting belief. Our generation and the two that preceded it have heard little of but talk of the conflict between science and faith; indeed it seemed at one moment a foregone conclusion that the former was destined to take the place of the latter… After close on two centuries of passionate struggles, neither science nor faith has succeeded in discrediting its adversary.
    On the contrary, it becomes obvious that neither can develop normally without the other. And the reason is simple: the same life animates both. Neither in its impetus nor its achievements can science go to its limits without becoming tinged with mysticism and charged with faith.”
    Pierre Thierry de Chardin, “The Phenomenon of Man”

    I opened this appendix with lengthy quotations of John S. Bell, the main proponent of the Bohemian Mechanics interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (really, an alternative rather than an interpretation). The renowned physicist, David Bohm (in the 50s), basing himself on work done much earlier by de Broglie (the unwilling father of the wave-particle dualism), embedded the Schrdinger Equation (SE throughout this article) in a deterministic physical theory which postulated a non-Newtonian motion of particles. This is a fine example of the life cycle of scientific theories.

    Witchcraft, Religion, Alchemy and Science succeeded one another and each such transition was characterized by transitional pathologies reminiscent of psychotic disorders. The exceptions are (arguably) medicine and biology. A phenomenology of ossified bodies of knowledge would make a fascinating read. This is the end of the aforementioned life cycle: Growth, Pathology, Ossification.

    This article identifies the current Ossification Phase of Science and suggests that it is soon to be succeeded by another discipline. It does so after studying and rejecting other explanations to the current state of science: that human knowledge is limited by its very nature, that the world is inherently incomprehensible, that methods of thought and understanding tend to self-organize to form closed mythic systems and that there is a problem of the language which we employ to make our inquiries of the world describable and communicable.

    Kuhn’s approach to Scientific Revolutions is but one of a series of approaches to issues of theory and paradigm shifts in scientific thought and its resulting evolution. Scientific theories seem to be subject to a process of natural selection as much as organisms are in nature.

    Animals could be construed to be theorems (with a positive truth value) in the logical system “Nature”. But species become extinct because nature itself changes (not nature as a set of potentials – but the relevant natural phenomena to which the species are exposed). Could we say the same about scientific theories? Are they being selected and deselected partly due to a changing, shifting backdrop?

    Indeed, the whole debate between “realists” and “anti-realists” in the philosophy of Science can be thus settled, by adopting this single premise: that the Universe itself is not a fixture. By contrasting a fixed subject of the study (“The World”) with the moving image of Science – anti-realists gained the upper hand.

    Arguments such as the under-determination of theories by data and the pessimistic meta-inductions from past falsity (of scientific “knowledge”) emphasized the transience and asymptotic nature of the fruits of the scientific endeavor. But all this rests on the implicit assumption that there is some universal, immutable, truth out there (which science strives to approximate). The apparent problem evaporates if we allow both the observer and the observed, the theory and its subject, the background, as well as the fleeting images, to be alterable.

    Science develops through reduction of miracles. Laws of nature are formulated. They are assumed to encompass all the (relevant) natural phenomena (that is, phenomena governed by natural forces and within nature). Ex definitio, nothing can exist outside nature – it is all-inclusive and all-pervasive, omnipresent (formerly the attributes of the divine).

    Supernatural forces, supernatural intervention – are a contradiction in terms, oxymorons. If it exists – it is natural. That which is supernatural – does not exist. Miracles do not only contravene (or violate) the laws of nature – they are impossible, not only physically, but also logically. That which is logically possible and can be experienced (observed), is physically possible. But, again, we confront the “fixed background” assumption. What if nature itself changes in a way to confound everlasting, ever-truer knowledge? Then, the very shift of nature as a whole, as a system, could be called “supernatural” or “miraculous”.

    In a small way, this is how science evolves. A law of nature is proposed. An event or occurs or observation made which are not described or predicted by it. It is, by definition, a violation of the law. The laws of nature are modified, or re-written entirely, in order to reflect and encompass this extraordinary event. Hume’s distinction between “extraordinary” and “miraculous” events is upheld (the latter being ruled out).

    The extraordinary ones can be compared to our previous experience – the miraculous entail some supernatural interference with the normal course of things (a “wonder” in Biblical terms). It is through confronting the extraordinary and eliminating its abnormal nature that science progresses as a miraculous activity. This, of course, is not the view of the likes of David Deutsch (see his book, “The Fabric of Reality”).

    The last phase of this Life Cycle is Ossification. The discipline degenerates and, following the psychotic phase, it sinks into a paralytic stage which is characterized by the following:

    All the practical and technological aspects of the discipline are preserved and continue to be utilized. Gradually the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings vanish or are replaced by the tenets and postulates of a new discipline – but the inventions, processes and practical know-how do not evaporate. They are incorporated into the new discipline and, in time, are erroneously attributed to it. This is a transfer of credit and the attribution of merit and benefits to the legitimate successor of the discipline.

    The practitioners of the discipline confine themselves to copying and replicating the various aspects of the discipline, mainly its intellectual property (writings, inventions, other theoretical material). The replication process does not lead to the creation of new knowledge or even to the dissemination of old one. It is a hermetic process, limited to the ever decreasing circle of the initiated. Special institutions are set up to rehash the materials related to the discipline, process them and copy them. These institutions are financed and supported by the State which is always an agent of conservation, preservation and conformity.

    Thus, the creative-evolutionary dimension of the discipline freezes over. No new paradigms or revolutions happen. Interpretation and replication of canonical writings become the predominant activity. Formalisms are not subjected to scrutiny and laws assume eternal, immutable, quality.

    All the activities of the adherents of the discipline become ritualized. The discipline itself becomes a pillar of the power structures and, as such, is commissioned and condoned by them. Its practitioners synergistically collaborate with them: with the industrial base, the military powerhouse, the political elite, the intellectual cliques in vogue. Institutionalization inevitably leads to the formation of a (mostly bureaucratic) hierarchy. Rituals serve two purposes. The first is to divert attention from subversive, “forbidden” thinking.

    This is very much as is the case with obsessive-compulsive disorders in individuals who engage in ritualistic behavior patterns to deflect “wrong” or “corrupt” thoughts. And the second purpose is to cement the power of the “clergy” of the discipline. Rituals are a specialized form of knowledge which can be obtained only through initiation procedures and personal experience. One’s status in the hierarchy is not the result of objectively quantifiable variables or even of judgment of merit. It is the result of politics and other power-related interactions. The cases of “Communist Genetics” (Lysenko) versus “Capitalist Genetics” and of the superpower races (space race, arms race) come to mind.

    Conformity, dogmatism, doctrines – all lead to enforcement mechanisms which are never subtle. Dissidents are subjected to sanctions: social sanctions and economic sanctions. They can find themselves ex-communicated, harassed, imprisoned, tortured, their works banished or not published, ridiculed and so on.

    This is really the triumph of text over the human spirit. The members of the discipline’s community forget the original reasons and causes for their scientific pursuits. Why was the discipline developed? What were the original riddles, questions, queries? How did it feel to be curious? Where is the burning fire and the glistening eyes and the feelings of unity with nature that were the prime moving forces behind the discipline? The cold ashes of the conflagration are the texts and their preservation is an expression of longing and desire for things past.

    The vacuum left by the absence of positive emotions – is filled by negative ones. The discipline and its disciples become phobic, paranoid, defensive, with a blurred reality test. Devoid of new, attractive content, the discipline resorts to negative motivation by manipulation of negative emotions. People are frightened, threatened, herded, cajoled. The world without the discipline is painted in an apocalyptic palette as ruled by irrationality, disorderly, chaotic, dangerous, even lethally so.

    New, emerging disciplines, are presented as heretic, fringe lunacies, inconsistent, reactionary and bound to lead humanity back to some dark ages. This is the inter-disciplinary or inter-paradigm clash. It follows the Psychotic Phase. The old discipline resorts to some transcendental entity (God, Satan, the conscious intelligent observer in the Copenhagen interpretation of the formalism of Quantum Mechanics). In this sense, it is already psychotic and fails its reality test. It develops messianic aspirations and is inspired by a missionary zeal and zest. The fight against new ideas and theories is bloody and ruthless and every possible device is employed.

    But the very characteristics of the older nomenclature is in its disfavor. It is closed, based on ritualistic initiation, patronizing. It relies on intimidation. The numbers of the faithful dwindles the more the “church” needs them and the more it resorts to oppressive recruitment tactics. The emerging knowledge wins by historical default and not due to the results of any fierce fight. Even the initiated desert. Their belief unravels when confronted with the truth value, explanatory and predictive powers, and the comprehensiveness of the emerging discipline.

    This, indeed, is the main presenting symptom, distinguishing hallmark, of paralytic old disciplines. They deny reality. The are a belief-system, a myth, requiring suspension of judgment, the voluntary limitation of the quest, the agreement to leave swathes of the map in the state of a blank “terra incognita”. This reductionism, this avoidance, their replacement by some transcendental authority are the beginning of an end.

    Consider physics:

    The Universe is a complex, orderly system. If it were an intelligent being, we would be compelled to say that it had “chosen” to preserve form (structure), order and complexity – and to increase them whenever and wherever it can. We can call this a natural inclination or a tendency of the Universe.

    This explains why evolution did not stop at the protozoa level. After all, these mono-cellular organisms were (and still are, hundreds of millions of years later) superbly adapted to their environment. It was Bergson who posed the question: why did nature prefer the risk of unstable complexity over predictable and reliable and durable simplicity?

    The answer seems to be that the Universe has a predilection (not confined to the biological realm) to increase complexity and order and that this principle takes precedence over “utilitarian” calculations of stability. The battle between the entropic arrow and the negentropic one is more important than any other (in-built) “consideration”. This is Time itself and Thermodynamics pitted against Man (as an integral part of the Universe), Order (a systemic, extensive parameter) against Disorder.

    In this context, natural selection is no more “blind” or “random” than its subjects. It is discriminating, exercises discretion, encourages structure, complexity and order. The contrast that Bergson stipulated between Natural Selection and lan Vitale is grossly misplaced: Natural Selection IS the vital power itself.

    Modern Physics is converging with Philosophy (possibly with the philosophical side of Religion as well) and the convergence is precisely where concepts of Order and disorder emerge. String theories, for instance, come in numerous versions which describe many possible different worlds. Granted, they may all be facets of the same Being (distant echoes of the new versions of the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics).

    Still, why do we, intelligent conscious observers, see (=why are we exposed to) only one aspect of the Universe? How is this aspect “selected”? The Universe is constrained in this “selection process” by its own history – but history is not synonymous with the Laws of Nature. The latter determine the former – does the former also determine the latter? In other words: were the Laws of Nature “selected” as well and, if so, how?

    The answer seems self evident: the Universe “selected” both the Natural Laws and – as a result – its own history. The selection process was based on the principle of Natural Selection. A filter was applied: whatever increased order, complexity, structure – survived. Indeed, our very survival as a species is still largely dependent upon these things. Our Universe – having survived – must be an optimized Universe.

    Only order-increasing Universes do not succumb to entropy and death (the weak hypothesis). It could even be argued (as we do here) that our Universe is the only possible kind of Universe (the semi-strong hypothesis) or even the only Universe (the strong hypothesis). This is the essence of the Anthropic Principle.

    By definition, universal rules pervade all the realms of existence. Biological systems must obey the same order-increasing (natural) laws as physical ones and social ones. We are part of the Universe in the sense that we are subject to the same discipline and adhere to the same “religion”. We are an inevitable result – not a chance happening.

    We are the culmination of orderly processes – not the outcome of random events. The Universe enables us and our world because – and only for as long as – we increase order. That is not to imply that there is an intention to do so on the part of the Universe (or a “higher being” or a “higher power”). There is no conscious or God-like spirit. There is no religious assertion. We only say that a system that has Order as its founding principle will tend to favor order, to breed it, to positively select its proponents and deselect its opponents – and, finally, to give birth to more and more sophisticated weapons in the pro-Order arsenal. We, humans, were such an order-increasing weapon until recently.

    These intuitive assertions can be easily converted into a formalism. In Quantum Mechanics, the State Vector can be constrained to collapse to the most Order-enhancing event. If we had a computer the size of the Universe that could infallibly model it – we would have been able to predict which event will increase the order in the Universe overall. No collapse would have been required then and no probabilistic calculations.

    It is easy to prove that events will follow a path of maximum order, simply because the world is orderly and getting ever more so. Had this not been the case, evenly statistically scattered event would have led to an increase in entropy (thermodynamic laws are the offspring of statistical mechanics). But this simply does not happen. And it is wrong to think that order increases only in isolated “pockets”, in local regions of our universe.

    It is increasing everywhere, all the time, on all scales of measurement. Therefore, we are forced to conclude that quantum events are guided by some non-random principle (such as the increase in order). This, exactly, is the case in biology. There is no reason why not to construct a life wavefunction which will always collapse to the most order increasing event. If we construct and apply this wave function to our world – we will probably find ourselves as one of the events after its collapse.

    Appendix – Interview granted to Adam Anderson

    1. Do you believe that superstitions have affected American culture? And if so, how?

    A. In its treatment of nature, Western culture is based on realism and rationalism and purports to be devoid of superstitions. Granted, many Westerners – perhaps the majority – are still into esoteric practices, such as Astrology. But the official culture and its bearers – scientists, for instance – disavow such throwbacks to a darker past.

    Today, superstitions are less concerned with the physical Universe and more with human affairs. Political falsities – such as anti-Semitism – supplanted magic and alchemy. Fantastic beliefs permeate the fields of economics, sociology, and psychology, for instance. The effects of progressive taxation, the usefulness of social welfare, the role of the media, the objectivity of science, the mechanism of democracy, and the function of psychotherapy – are six examples of such groundless fables.

    Indeed, one oft-neglected aspect of superstitions is their pernicious economic cost. Irrational action carries a price tag. It is impossible to optimize one’s economic activity by making the right decisions and then acting on them in a society or culture permeated by the occult. Esotericism skews the proper allocation of scarce resources.

    2. Are there any superstitions that exist today that you believe could become facts tomorrow, or that you believe have more fact than fiction hidden in them?

    A. Superstitions stem from one of these four premises:

    That there is nothing that can be thought of that is impossible (in all possible Universes);
    That there is nothing impossible (in all possible Universes) that can be thought of;
    That everything that can be thought of  is, therefore, possible (somewhere in these Universes);
    That everything that is possible exists (somewhere in these Universes).
    As long as our knowledge is imperfect (asymptotic to the truth), everything is possible. As Arthur Clark, the British scientist and renowned author of science fiction, said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

    Still, regardless of how “magical” it becomes, positive science is increasingly challenged by the esoteric. The emergence of pseudo-science is the sad outcome of the blurring of contemporary distinctions between physics and metaphysics. Modern science borders on speculation and attempts, to its disadvantage, to tackle questions that once were the exclusive preserve of religion or philosophy. The scientific method is ill-built to cope with such quests and is inferior to the tools developed over centuries by philosophers, theologians, and mystics.

    Moreover, scientists often confuse language of representation with meaning and knowledge represented. That a discipline of knowledge uses quantitative methods and the symbol system of mathematics does not make it a science. The phrase “social sciences” is an oxymoron – and it misleads the layman into thinking that science is not that different to literature, religion, astrology, numerology, or other esoteric “systems”.

    The emergence of “relative”, New Age, and politically correct philosophies rendered science merely one option among many. Knowledge, people believe, can be gleaned either directly (mysticism and spirituality) or indirectly (scientific practice). Both paths are equivalent and equipotent. Who is to say that science is superior to other “bodies of wisdom”? Self-interested scientific chauvinism is out – indiscriminate “pluralism” is in.

    3. I have found one definition of the word “superstition” that states that it is “a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.” What is your opinion about said definition?

    A. It describes what motivates people to adopt superstitions – ignorance and fear of the unknown. Superstitions are, indeed, a “false conception of causation” which inevitably leads to “trust in magic”. the only part I disagree with is the trust in chance. Superstitions are organizing principles. They serve as alternatives to other worldviews, such as religion or science. Superstitions seek to replace chance with an “explanation” replete with the power to predict future events and establish chains of causes and effects.

    4. Many people believe that superstitions were created to simply teach a lesson, like the old superstition that “the girl that takes the last cookie will be an old maid” was made to teach little girls manners. Do you think that all superstitions derive from some lesson trying to be taught that today’s society has simply forgotten or cannot connect to anymore?

    A. Jose Ortega y Gasset said (in an unrelated exchange) that all ideas stem from pre-rational beliefs. William James concurred by saying that accepting a truth often requires an act of will which goes beyond facts and into the realm of feelings. Superstitions permeate our world. Some superstitions are intended to convey useful lessons, others form a part of the process of socialization, yet others are abused by various elites to control the masses. But most of them are there to comfort us by proffering “instant” causal explanations and by rendering our Universe more meaningful.

    5. Do you believe that superstitions change with the changes in culture?

    A. The content of superstitions and the metaphors we use change from culture to culture – but not the underlying shock and awe that yielded them in the first place. Man feels dwarfed in a Cosmos beyond his comprehension. He seeks meaning, direction, safety, and guidance. Superstitions purport to provide all these the easy way. To be superstitious one does not to study or to toil. Superstitions are readily accessible and unequivocal. In troubled times, they are an irresistible proposition.