String Theory: A Meeting of the Minds

What is String Theory, anyway?

Well, I’m writing to tell you that, I…don’t really know. I know that it’s a means of unifying both Einstein’s Relativity and also the Theory of Quantum Gravity and that if you were to take a large sketchbook, say 12″ x 16″ and fill it up with impossible equations scrawled in the tiniest font your aching hand was able, you might be on your way to lining out the math of the universe. Oh, and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity must be true for String Theory to be true as well.

And, “Mathematics is the language with which God wrote the universe.” Says Galileo.

So, the “strings” of String Theory are infinitesimal strings that form closed loops and unite all matter everywhere in the universe. I’ve read exactly two books on the subject. One by a proponent and one who thinks there’s a better way. The funny thing about the whole mess is, while they disagree on the effectiveness (using parlance I won’t even attempt to parley) of String Theory and even the origin of the whole thing (i.e. God), they’re friends. And that, unlike all that cold math and infinite space, makes me feel all warm inside.

Leonard Susskind is one of the fathers of String Theory. A staunch atheist, he opens his book “The Cosmic Landscape” with a quote from French astronomer and mathematician Pierre Simon de Laplace: “Your honor, I have no need of this hypothesis.” Laplace is responding to Napoleon when asked how a working model of the universe could have appeared in his house, let alone at all (the real universe) without a creator, or Creator. And that answer is what Susskind assents to throughout the whole of his tome. Fair enough. I read it, and promptly forgot most of what was contained therein. I will say that the term “Landscape” was a new one for me. The “Landscape” is the infinite number of universes of which ours is the one with conditions ripe and rife for life (sorry). Nevermind that we have a universe fine-tuned to support our existence (that’s called the Anthropic Principle, by the way). You can’t say that God created the universe just for us. An untenable and logically fallacious proposition, the takeaway message of the Landscape, or “multiverse” theory is that it’s postulated, but cannot be provable in real time, only on paper. A simple way of understanding this is to look at the Pythagorean theorem (a²+b²=c²), then add one more (a²+b²+c²=d²). Makes sense to me. Only on paper, though. It takes an extra-dimensional vantage point to observe. And time (being the fourth) doesn’t cut it…

Surely, you’re familiar with the CERN superconductor in Switzerland? In an attempt to substantiate String Theory’s equations, they turned on the collider and let it run for a bit. And then comes the task of deciphering the data. One of the particles the physicists are looking for is called the Higgs Boson. Also known as the “God Particle”, it’s the “unknown” in the equations. Should the Higgs Boson be found (at time of writing, they hadn’t found it yet–at time of press, however, it was indeed located), they plug its symbol into their equations (they have already) and voila! It all makes sense now. How ironic that for many of these physicists, the very thing that they’re lacking is indeed one particle of belief in God. Let alone His particle…

The other book, by one Lee Smolin, opens with the line “There may or may not be a God, or gods…”. It’s called “The Trouble With Physics” and proceeds to explain just how String Theory has tied the shoes of modern theoretical physics (the cover image renders this well). He ends on a high note though, positing “M Theory” as a plausible replacement. Who knew? At least he’s not openly antagonistic to the concept of a mind behind the math. But the heart of God? That’s where Jesus comes in.

Reading theoretical physics is like listening to Jesus speak in parables. There are other dimensions in the vernacular of which I’m not privy. I can’t wrap my mind around the concepts, hard as I try. And when Jesus says he speaks “to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.” (Luke 8:10), what He means is that without humility and love, anyone hearing the Gospel won’t know what to do with it other than doubt. All of the analogies in the information I read on String Theory didn’t do much because, let’s face it, I didn’t apply myself to its understanding like I could’ve.

Funny thing, the suffix “-aster” is added on to a title’s prefix to indicate someone who only pretends to know what they’re talking about. Can’t say I fit that description regarding String Theory a-hundred percent, but if I coin the word “mathemaster”, would it be a positive thing? Or a negative one? Oh well…

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)

Can we at least agree on that?

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