That's another light, physically philosophical posting from sci.physics.research where backdoorstudent replied to one of my texts.
When I wrote:
"You don't seem to appreciate how amazing it is that the world satisfies some simple enough comprehensible laws at all,"
- Of course I do. I think almost everybody reading this newsgroup does.
- I know. And I'm getting sick of hearing everybody parrot it around as their mantra. And if you insist on presuming that it must be that way you may miss out on finding out something more accurate about the world. Because our experience of the world being this way is a very short one so far, and it is an idealist extrapolation to think it will continue forever. I am not saying I believe it won't. I'm just saying keep your mind open to other possibilities.
- Would you really be surprised if the world was ultimately incomprehensible?
Your question contradicts reality, as well as Einstein's quote that you agreed with at the very beginning. So I suppose you wanted to ask whether I would have been surprised if *some* features of the world would remain incomprehensible.
But even this restricted question is actually nonsensical.
The essential point is that science can *never* lead to the conclusion that something is incomprehensible. It's just an oxymoron. Science can reveal that some aspects of the Universe are probabilistic; or they are environmental details that are hardly predictable because they depend on too many things that are more or less random.
But even in these two cases, the insight that implies these statements brings us a better *understanding* of reality, and it must be so, otherwise the argument would have no scientific value. The only real reason why we believe the statement of quantum mechanics that only probabilities can be predicted is the highly quantitatively successful agreement of quantum mechanics with experiments.
In science, something's being "incomprehensible" is always a temporary state of the affairs.
One can never prove, in science, that something is "incomprehensible", simply because the very meaning of science is to understand things better. Things may *look* incomprehensible to us until we comprehend them. But it's just logically impossible to imagine that someone proves that something is inherently and permanently "incomprehensible".
Therefore your question whether I would be surprised, if you ask it as a serious scientific question, does not really make sense - the answer can be both "yes" and "no" because the assumption of your sentence can never occur. There will never be a moment in which something in the Universe will be scientifically identified as "permanently incomprehensible", and therefore I will never have the opportunity to be surprised by this impossible insight.
What can happen is that someone will *claim* that some features of the world are permanently incomprehensible. In that case, I won't be surprised - I will only be skeptical about the value of this claim.
The idea that someone will make a discovery that something is incomprehensible (not just random, but hiding some important non-random facts that are inherently unavailable to the scientists) and science will be limited is just a totally non-scientific, medieval idea. No doubt, many powerful people in religion, philosophy, social sciences and humanities - both left-wing and right-wing people - would love to prove that science will never understand something about the material world around - but such an "insight" is simply impossible in science.
Even if one imagines that there exists a hypothetical pattern, insight, mechanism, or a piece of knowledge about Nature that can't be comprehended by the humans, in science, we will never know for sure that this insight is incomprehensible.
- If this is really what you mean by "ugliness" then it looks to me as though we have indeed reached that place of being not robust with too many arbitrary components. Am I wrong?