Dark Energy and the Ethics of Curiosity. Roger F Malina O bservatoire A stronomique de M arseille P rovence ( OAMP ) Leonardo/ISAST : I nternational S ociety for the A rts- S ciences- T echnology. A couple of confessions:. I am a positivist Critical realist, constructivist
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Roger F Malina
Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence (OAMP)
Leonardo/ISAST: International Society for the Arts-Sciences-Technology
I am a positivist
Critical realist, constructivist
World exists, is knowable
Reliance on the senses and their extensions
I am an atheist
Emergence in complex systems
Astronomers now believe only 3% of the content of the universe is made of the same stuff as us.
And maybe Einstein’s Theory of Gravity needs to be modified, is wrong on large scales
And, Or ?
1/3 Dark Matter, whose gravity holds together the structures we see
Massive collection of data
A international scientific collaboration
Total End to End cost: 1 billion pounds
Womb to Tomb schedule: 1998- 2018 ? 20 years…
Ten different research labs and universities
80 person core collaboration already..hundreds
Societal Limits to curiosity
Explanation through New Physical « Laws »:
Compact Descriptions of the World
Experiments on the world
Modified Gravity, Quintessence
Virtual Worlds that mimic our World
Retrodiction vs Prediction
« Petabyte » era, Massive Cataloguing, Virtual Observatories
Doing experiments on data about the world
Extrapolation vs Explanation…The End of Theory…
What is the limit of curiosity ?
Scientist: When one has a tested explanation that makes sense
Artist: When one has generated an experience that creates meaning/changes perception/realised self expression
What kinds of explanations make sense ?
Scientist: When we are dealing with epistemologies/ontologies that are commensurate with our current science
Artist: When it is relevant to the human condition and experience. Individual and shared ..intensity
Is there an ethics of curiosity ?
Science and the Ethics of Curiosity, Sundar Sarukkai, 2009
Most Scientists would say: No
Most Artists would say: Yes
Not observable with unaided human senses
Not observable with existing technologies:
Not observable because of measurement method
Most of our information about the universe now comes in ways, contexts where we have no basis for intuition, language, metaphorical frameworks.
These devices « hallucinate » in ways with which we have no experience. How to do « ground truth » experiments ?
How to decide what to be curious about ?
What path to take through the universe ? stop curiositycf Cheese Diagram Guardans, Czegledy SLOW........................................................................................................
SMALL OUR SIZE LARGE
Scientific curiosity is ‘pure’, driven by a child like desire to understand ourselves and the world around us
Pure Science vs Applied Science
Note: Fine Art vs Applied Art
Curiosity does not accept authority, but relies on confrontation of hypotheses/meanings with experiments/experience.
No function of ‘science critic’ cf ‘art critic”
Curiosity is embodied
Curiosity is enacted
Curiosity is cultural
Curiosity is social
Curiosity is collective
The claimed distinction between “pure” and “applied” science is not sustainable
In some cultures, eg some Indian traditions, doubt rather than curiosity is a dominant driver ( cf Descartes)
“Beware of binary oppositions” !
Curiosity is Cultural stop curiositySaint Augustine: It was curiosity led me along the false trails before submitting tochristian baptismsFrancis Bacon: It is Charity that must motivate the knower, not curiosityDonna CoxRuth WestWeather Data Bases Protein Sequence Data
Individual scientists are not emotionally detached from their work, it is through their collective activity that objectivity emerges
New scientific knowledge comes through the use of instruments that have contact with a world that is not our world
Our languages, metaphors, descriptions are disconnected from these worlds
We are trained on the wrong data set for survival
Einstein:” The universe of ideas is just as independent of the nature of our experience as clothes are of the form of the human body”
Science has become a cargo cult
Forming intuition on mediated sensory data
Designing/Interacting with simulated systems
Making sense/meaning of dense data, petabyte era
Making Science Intimate, Peoples Science, Micro Science
New Ontologies, New Intuitions,New Sensuality
Curiosity: stop curiosityD’ou venons nous ?Que Sommes Nous ?Ou Allons Nous ?Ethics of Curiosity: “the nature of the task of the “ought’ is the other-directedness of the “is”