full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Jim Holt: Why does the universe exist?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Okay, this is a really ingenious srenaico. It's very speculative. It's fascinating. But I've got a big pboelrm with it, and the problem is this: It's a pseudo-religious point of view. Now, lrecwane tikhns he's an atheist, but he's still in thrall to a religious worldview. He sees physical laws as being like divine cmnodmas. The laws of quantum field theory for him are like fiat lux, "Let there be light." The laws have some sort of ontological power or clout that they can form the asbys, that it's pregnant with being. They can call a world into existence out of nothing. But that's a very piivmrtie view of what a physical law is, right? We know that physical laws are actually generalized descriptions of patterns and regularities in the world. They don't esixt outside the world. They don't have any oitnc colud of their own. They can't call a wrold into existence out of nothingness. That's a very primitive view of what a scientific law is. And if you don't believe me on this, listen to Stephen Hawking, who himself put forward a model of the cosmos that was self-contained, didn't require any outside cause, any creator, and after proposing this, hkwnaig admitted that he was still puzzled. He said, this model is just equations. What breathes fire into the equations and creates a world for them to describe? He was puzzled by this, so equations themselves can't do the magic, can't resolve the pluzze of existence. And besides, even if the laws could do that, why this set of laws? Why quantum field theory that describes a universe with a certain number of fecors and particles and so forth? Why not a completely different set of laws? There are many, many mathematically consistent sets of laws. Why not no laws at all? Why not sheer ntongnheiss?

Open Cloze

Okay, this is a really ingenious ________. It's very speculative. It's fascinating. But I've got a big _______ with it, and the problem is this: It's a pseudo-religious point of view. Now, ________ ______ he's an atheist, but he's still in thrall to a religious worldview. He sees physical laws as being like divine ________. The laws of quantum field theory for him are like fiat lux, "Let there be light." The laws have some sort of ontological power or clout that they can form the _____, that it's pregnant with being. They can call a world into existence out of nothing. But that's a very _________ view of what a physical law is, right? We know that physical laws are actually generalized descriptions of patterns and regularities in the world. They don't _____ outside the world. They don't have any _____ _____ of their own. They can't call a _____ into existence out of nothingness. That's a very primitive view of what a scientific law is. And if you don't believe me on this, listen to Stephen Hawking, who himself put forward a model of the cosmos that was self-contained, didn't require any outside cause, any creator, and after proposing this, _______ admitted that he was still puzzled. He said, this model is just equations. What breathes fire into the equations and creates a world for them to describe? He was puzzled by this, so equations themselves can't do the magic, can't resolve the ______ of existence. And besides, even if the laws could do that, why this set of laws? Why quantum field theory that describes a universe with a certain number of ______ and particles and so forth? Why not a completely different set of laws? There are many, many mathematically consistent sets of laws. Why not no laws at all? Why not sheer ___________?

Solution

  1. ontic
  2. cloud
  3. puzzle
  4. abyss
  5. commands
  6. primitive
  7. nothingness
  8. forces
  9. problem
  10. thinks
  11. hawking
  12. exist
  13. lawrence
  14. scenario
  15. world

Original Text

Okay, this is a really ingenious scenario. It's very speculative. It's fascinating. But I've got a big problem with it, and the problem is this: It's a pseudo-religious point of view. Now, Lawrence thinks he's an atheist, but he's still in thrall to a religious worldview. He sees physical laws as being like divine commands. The laws of quantum field theory for him are like fiat lux, "Let there be light." The laws have some sort of ontological power or clout that they can form the abyss, that it's pregnant with being. They can call a world into existence out of nothing. But that's a very primitive view of what a physical law is, right? We know that physical laws are actually generalized descriptions of patterns and regularities in the world. They don't exist outside the world. They don't have any ontic cloud of their own. They can't call a world into existence out of nothingness. That's a very primitive view of what a scientific law is. And if you don't believe me on this, listen to Stephen Hawking, who himself put forward a model of the cosmos that was self-contained, didn't require any outside cause, any creator, and after proposing this, Hawking admitted that he was still puzzled. He said, this model is just equations. What breathes fire into the equations and creates a world for them to describe? He was puzzled by this, so equations themselves can't do the magic, can't resolve the puzzle of existence. And besides, even if the laws could do that, why this set of laws? Why quantum field theory that describes a universe with a certain number of forces and particles and so forth? Why not a completely different set of laws? There are many, many mathematically consistent sets of laws. Why not no laws at all? Why not sheer nothingness?

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
quantum field 4
friend martin 2
martin amis 2
book called 2
lawrence thinks 2
physical laws 2
field theory 2
primitive view 2
intermediate realities 2
generic realities 2
infinite number 2
special reality 2
nasty bits 2
nice bits 2

ngrams of length 3

collocation frequency
friend martin amis 2
quantum field theory 2

Important Words

  1. abyss
  2. admitted
  3. atheist
  4. big
  5. breathes
  6. call
  7. cloud
  8. clout
  9. commands
  10. completely
  11. consistent
  12. cosmos
  13. creates
  14. creator
  15. describe
  16. describes
  17. descriptions
  18. divine
  19. equations
  20. exist
  21. existence
  22. fascinating
  23. fiat
  24. field
  25. fire
  26. forces
  27. form
  28. generalized
  29. hawking
  30. ingenious
  31. law
  32. lawrence
  33. laws
  34. light
  35. listen
  36. lux
  37. magic
  38. mathematically
  39. model
  40. nothingness
  41. number
  42. ontic
  43. ontological
  44. particles
  45. patterns
  46. physical
  47. point
  48. power
  49. pregnant
  50. primitive
  51. problem
  52. proposing
  53. put
  54. puzzle
  55. puzzled
  56. quantum
  57. regularities
  58. religious
  59. require
  60. resolve
  61. scenario
  62. scientific
  63. sees
  64. set
  65. sets
  66. sheer
  67. sort
  68. speculative
  69. stephen
  70. theory
  71. thinks
  72. thrall
  73. universe
  74. view
  75. world
  76. worldview