When scientists think about truth, they often think about it in the context of their own work: the ability of scientific ideas to explain our world. These explanations can take many forms. On the simple end, we have basic empirical laws (such as how metals change their conductivity with temperature), in which we fit the world to some sort of experimentally derived curve. On the more complicated and more explanatory end of the scale, we have grand theories for our surroundings. From evolution by natural selection to quantum mechanics and Newton’s law of gravitation, these types of theories can unify a variety of phenomena that we see in the world, describe the mechanisms of the universe beyond what we can see with our own eyes, and yield incredible predictions about how the world should work.


During the early 20th century, evolutionary biologists successfully built the modern evolutionary synthesis. In this synthesis they brought the worlds of the very small (genetics) and the worlds of the very large and deep (selection) together to create our modern understanding of evolution. Physics has had a difficult time creating their own "grand unified theory" (which would bring together quantum mechanics and general relativity). I have thought for a while that the discovery of this synthesis will be made by artificial intelligence.

posted by thenewgreen: 2304 days ago