Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

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Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#1  Postby Animavore » Oct 10, 2014 5:45 pm

I'm wondering what many of you here think will be the most interesting, important, ground-breaking or close to your heart scientific theories in the years to come?

To me, hands down, the most important theory I can think of is -

A materialistic theory of mind.

In my own lifetime there have not been any real controversial scientific theories. Most of the controversial theories, the ones which really punted the hornets nest over the crossbar, were done before my time so I grew up with them and sort of take them for granted. I wasn't around to be humbled by the idea that we aren't the centre of the universe, or to be placed among the animals. Any controvesy surrounding them now are hangovers from the past from people who just won't let it go.

Reading up on neurology, I feel like I may be living in a time similar to Darwin's with biology. The evidence is building, the facts are mounting, and it's just going to take that right person to tie them all together in a testable and predictive theory of mind/consciousness, whatever you like to call it. I think this will lead us into exciting times for a couple of reasons.

A materialistic theory of mind will once again humble us and re-adjust how we see ourselves. We will knock down one of the single most perplexing mysteries that surrounds us. Such a theory should give us greater insight into psychology and mental illness by allowing us to understand the underlying mechanism which can give rise to such conditions. We should also have greater depth into how the brain processes information and learns, remembers and quantifies.

My second reason for wanting to see such a theory is one of complete Schadenfreude which I'm not going to even bother to conceal. The shit storm, nay, shit el nino from many theists, philosophers and spiritualists alike will be a thing of beauty and I will welcome it and stand, arms outstretched, looking to the sky like Andy Dufresne, feeling those glorious rain drops fall on my face. The more literalist theists will explode in a fit of strawmen, misinformation, ad hom, non-sequitur, and willful ignorance unparalleled to anything we've seen so far. Even organistations, like the Catholic Church, who have up to now tolerated things like evolution and reconciled their believes with the science will be shook to their core. Watching them huff and puff and scramble to salvage something out of the whole thing will verge on comedic.

The thing is many of these people don't have the mental preparedness* for such a revelation. Immaterialists of all stripes, citing the "Hard Problem", have already written off a materialistic theory of mind as impossible. They have already built the walls around their ideology in advance of such a theory as if, deep down, they suspect that such a theory is inevitable. I would fully expect protests, objections, resistence, refusal to teach, spurious court cases, even the odd death threat in the face of such a controversial theory. A theory of mind completely gets into our very soul in a way Darwin's theory can't really approach as it removes what is practically the last bastion of immaterialism. There won't really be anywhere left to hide.


*Objection: I know you are, but what am I. Immaterialists might be tempted here to say that I am equally mentally unprepared for some sort of immaterial theory of mind. I must point out that such a thing really isn't a problem for me. I think that the Hard Problem applies equally to an immaterial theory (how does immaterial "stuff" create what we experience?), but I don't have the hubris nor am I stubbornly wedded to a worldview to completely write it off in advance without reason. I'm not a materialist.

Disclaimer: You'll notice that this is in the General Discussion section, not Philosophy. I won't be entertaining objections to whether a material theory is possible or on the so-called Hard Problem. You all know who you are. Don't highjack this thread and make it about consciousness. The only type of responses I expect are -

Your own little write up on what scientific theories you'd like to see (and this may include An Immaterial Theory of Mind).
or

Objections to on topic things like; maybe you don't think a theory of mind is that important, or maybe you don't think a material theory of mind poses a problem for immaterialism.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#2  Postby Macdoc » Oct 10, 2014 6:11 pm

I tend to agree that breaking the brain code to allow interaction beyond what we do now and enhance our senses and ability will be massive....not sure we need a universal theory to be able to do practical things but it will be a work in progress as all theories are.

Get the "physics" of the brain sorted out enough to really have wetware/hardware effectiveness for say enhanced vision or even replaced vision

•••

The title is a bit misleading as how would we know what we have not discovered. ( ie antigravity ).

Plasma physics leading to fusion might have most world changing impact.


I suppose FTL travel would be in the wish for category of a theory leading to practical application.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#3  Postby Animavore » Oct 10, 2014 6:17 pm

Macdoc wrote:
The title is a bit misleading as how would we know what we have not discovered. ( ie antigravity ).


Hey, such theories are perfectly acceptable here. I don't mind speculation, conjecture or outright sci-fi :)
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#4  Postby CdesignProponentsist » Oct 10, 2014 6:33 pm

I'm hoping for:

Any evidence for a pre-big bang universe.
The discovery of a particle outside of the standard model (Super symmetric or multiple Higgs).
Detection of life specific gasses in the atmospheres of extrasolar rocky worlds.
The imaging of the shadow of an event horizon of a supermassive black hole, currently being attempted with Sagittarius A.
Quantum gravity (not holding my breath)

I'm sure there are tons more.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#5  Postby Calilasseia » Oct 10, 2014 7:24 pm

Not so much a theory, rather observational data, that would have me doing cartwheels, is the announcement of the discovery of an RNA world on Titan. At the moment, extremely unlikely, but boy, can you imagine the impact that would have? It would kill stone dead apologetics aimed at trying to rubbish abiogenesis at a stroke. I probably wouldn't be the only person enjoying the shits and giggles: practically every abiogenesis researcher on the planet would be high-fiving the NASA team responsible for the spacecraft that discovered this.

The hilarity that would ensue would be enormous. I would savour the discomfort arising from the usual professional liars for doctrine, as a result of such a discovery, more than I would savour a 1945 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, or the sexual favours of Scarlett Johanssen. For me, stuffing it to the creotards in such an inescapable manner, would be fucking ecstasy.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#6  Postby zulumoose » Oct 10, 2014 7:57 pm

What is to stop them just saying that it proves gawd has carried out a separate act of creation, perhaps a prototype, after all he "works in mysterious ways".
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#7  Postby kennyc » Oct 10, 2014 9:04 pm

I agree that a cognitive science understanding of the brain is important, but I think we are well on the way to that, it's a long road though.

Here's my bucket list:
- unification of quantum gravity
- time travel.
- life that is demonstrably different than life on Earth (DNA-based) and/or
- detection of intelligent signals communication from an alien civilization
- conscious/intelligent computers
and here's my most 'far out' hope
- a true integration/unification of information with known physics. (along the lines of the O.P. - a materialistic theory of information that mathematically relates it to physics).

I'm sure there's more, but it's late on a friday....time for a beer. :)
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#8  Postby Boyle » Oct 10, 2014 10:31 pm

Calilasseia wrote:Not so much a theory, rather observational data, that would have me doing cartwheels, is the announcement of the discovery of an RNA world on Titan. At the moment, extremely unlikely, but boy, can you imagine the impact that would have? It would kill stone dead apologetics aimed at trying to rubbish abiogenesis at a stroke. I probably wouldn't be the only person enjoying the shits and giggles: practically every abiogenesis researcher on the planet would be high-fiving the NASA team responsible for the spacecraft that discovered this.

The hilarity that would ensue would be enormous. I would savour the discomfort arising from the usual professional liars for doctrine, as a result of such a discovery, more than I would savour a 1945 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, or the sexual favours of Scarlett Johanssen. For me, stuffing it to the creotards in such an inescapable manner, would be fucking ecstasy.

It would be awesome. The tears from Freep would be the best thing since the US election nights of 2008 and 2012.

For me, it would be consciousness transfer (to other brains) and just implanting neurological patterns into existing systems, e.g. data dump straight into a brain.

Also detecting dark matter would be nice, but I don't want that to happen for another, oh, 7 years.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#9  Postby Spinozasgalt » Oct 11, 2014 3:45 am

Moral realism.
When the straight and narrow gets a little too straight, roll up the joint.
Or don't. Just follow your arrow wherever it points.

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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#10  Postby quas » Oct 11, 2014 4:39 am

Time travel.

Imagine being able to send all this Christians back into the past where they can witness the resurrection that never happened. Or to send the Muslims back where they can witness that Mohammed never rode a winged horse to the moon. Should have their facial expressions videotaped and live broadcasted everywhere.
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From this website: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=2931

Mark Smith (atheist) confirmed Craig’s position when he asked:

Dr. Craig, for the sake of argument let’s pretend that a time machine gets built. You and I hop in it, and travel back to the day before Easter, 33 AD. We park it outside the tomb of Jesus. We wait. Easter morning rolls around, and nothing happens. We continue to wait. After several weeks of waiting, still nothing happens. There is no resurrection- Jesus is quietly rotting away in the tomb.

Craig told him he would still believe in the resurrection of Jesus, due to the “self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit.”
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#11  Postby quas » Oct 11, 2014 4:51 am

A materialistic theory of the mind is interesting because:
1. It could help us to create robots with an actual mind.
2. It could make us all immortal by uploading our consciousness into computers.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#12  Postby johnbrandt » Oct 12, 2014 10:04 pm

Other universes.
Zero Point energy.
A way to cheat or sneak around Einstein when it comes to faster than light travel.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#13  Postby Pulsar » Oct 12, 2014 11:16 pm

Superconductivity at room temperature. The person who can pull that off is going to be very rich indeed.

Any hint of particles beyond the Standard Model.

Dark energy. What the fuck is it and how can it be reconciled with quantum field theory?

Gravitational waves.

Evidence for or against cosmic inflation, any theory to narrow down the possibilities or to replace it with something better.

Quantum gravity.

A direct detection of dark matter.

An explanation for the anomalies in the CMB anisotropy.

The baryon asymmetry: why is there more matter than antimatter?

A theory to describe turbulence. This is related to finding solutions of the Navier–Stokes equations.

A solution to the dwarf galaxy/missing satellites problem: cold dark matter simulations predict far more dwarf galaxies and satellite galaxies than we observe.

A solution to the core/cusp problem: cold dark matter simulations predict higher densities (cusps) in the centre of galaxies than we observe.

A complete description of cosmic structure formation, galaxy formation and galaxy evolution.

A direct detection of the accelerated expansion of space, by measuring the change in redshift of a distant galaxy over time. With current technology, this is centuries away.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#14  Postby Animavore » Oct 12, 2014 11:42 pm

quas wrote:A materialistic theory of the mind is interesting because:
1. It could help us to create robots with an actual mind.
2. It could make us all immortal by uploading our consciousness into computers.

Ah yes, I forgot about number 1 here. The quest to create AI is what helped propel modern neuroscience in the first place as it was only when we started wondering how to create AI that we really started realising we raelly have to figure out natural intelligence first.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#15  Postby tuco » Oct 12, 2014 11:49 pm

Calilasseia wrote:Not so much a theory, rather observational data, that would have me doing cartwheels, is the announcement of the discovery of an RNA world on Titan. At the moment, extremely unlikely, but boy, can you imagine the impact that would have? It would kill stone dead apologetics aimed at trying to rubbish abiogenesis at a stroke. I probably wouldn't be the only person enjoying the shits and giggles: practically every abiogenesis researcher on the planet would be high-fiving the NASA team responsible for the spacecraft that discovered this.

The hilarity that would ensue would be enormous. I would savour the discomfort arising from the usual professional liars for doctrine, as a result of such a discovery, more than I would savour a 1945 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, or the sexual favours of Scarlett Johanssen. For me, stuffing it to the creotards in such an inescapable manner, would be fucking ecstasy.


What-if life came from another solar system?

edit: On topic, for "undiscovered" theory - ironing out relativity and quantum physic.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#16  Postby thaesofereode » Oct 13, 2014 3:09 am

The trigger/mechanism/moment/means by which very complex organic molecular agglomerations crossed over the border to becoming replicating living organisms. Would love to see this transformation recreated in the laboratory, or a strongly plausible, specific description as to how it actually took place.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#17  Postby kennyc » Oct 13, 2014 9:55 am

.....so, you're saying, 'creation of life in the laboratory.'
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#18  Postby hackenslash » Oct 13, 2014 9:59 am

Has to be a quantum theory of gravity for me. That could be the key that unlocks all the doors.
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#19  Postby surreptitious57 » Oct 13, 2014 11:04 am

Consciousness

The Multiverse

The Placebo Effect

Mathematical Platonism

Dark Energy / Dark Matter

A Theory Of Quantum Gravity

The Infinity And Seamlessness Of Time

The Physical Infinity Of The Universe / Multiverse

Why Does The Arrow Of Time Only Go In One Direction

The Evolutionary Reasons For Sex And Death And Higher Order Thinking

Obviously Not All Or Indeed Any Of These Are Going To Be Solved In My Lifetime So Just Saying
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: Which undiscovered scientific theory do you look forward to?

#20  Postby colubridae » Oct 13, 2014 11:18 am

surreptitious57 wrote:Obviously Not All Or Indeed Any Of These Are Going To Be Solved In My Lifetime So Just Saying


The Theory of Unrequired Capitalisation. :dance:

(also known as The theory of unrequired capitalisation. )
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