This Is Why We Will Never Know Everything About Our Universe
“The total amount of information accessible to us in the Universe is finite, and hence, so is the amount of knowledge we can gain about it. There’s a limit to the amount of energy we can access, the particles we can observe and the measurements we can make. That doesn’t mean we’re done, or that we shouldn’t strive to learn everything we absolutely can. Only we can push the frontiers of knowledge back as far as they can go.
There’s a whole lot left to learn and a whole lot that science has yet to reveal. If we continue to look, many of the present unknowns will likely fall in the near future. But what is knowable is finite, and this implies that there are necessarily some things we may never know. The Universe may yet be infinite, but our knowledge of it never will be.”
The Universe is enormous, the speed of light is incredibly fast, and the Big Bang happened a very long time ago. But even if you could somehow know all the properties of every particle that could possibly be connected to us via the laws of physics, we still wouldn’t know everything. The total amount of information contained within the Universe is finite, as is the total amount of energy. With those constraints, even if we knew everything that was knowable, we would still have questions that would be unanswerable in principle.
Sounds disconcerting? Well, maybe you need a little bit of unease. Science, no matter how good it gets, will never know everything about the Universe. Find out why.
Your Glorified Ignorance Wasn’t Cool Then, And Your Scientific Illiteracy Isn’t Cool Now
“You are not right about everything. Many of the opinions that you hold — and some of the facts that you believe to be true — will turn out to be falsely-held beliefs. Some of them, most likely, have already had their falsehood demonstrated beyond a reasonable scientific doubt. Unless you yourself are a huckster, trying to profit off of the willful deception of others, you must be open to changing your mind and deferring to the genuine experts who know more than you.
Glorified underachieving, proclaiming falsehoods as truths, and the derision of actual knowledge are banes on our society. The world is made objectively worse by every anti-science element present within it. Nobody likes to hear that sometimes, they’re the problem. But sometimes, it really is on each of us to do better. The next time you find yourself on the opposite side of an issue from the consensus of experts in a particular field, remember to be humble. Remember to listen and be open to learning. The future of our civilization may hang in the balance.”
Did you ever have an experience in school where you knew the answer, but didn’t raise your hand because it wasn’t cool to do so? Did you ever get a report card full of good grades, but were afraid to be proud of your achievement? Did you ever hear people proudly proclaiming falsehoods so outrageous that it seemed like people were flouting their ignorance, as though they were proud of it?
The seeds of a scientifically illiterate society get planted when we’re young, and it’s up to all of us to work together to overcome them. Here’s the antidote.