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10 Questions Science Can't Answer (Yet) by M. Hanlon

By M. Hanlon

From the writer of the bestselling The technological know-how of the Hitchhiker's consultant to the Galaxy comes one other really good journey to a fair extra mysterious terrain. Michael Hanlon identifies ten clinical questions that we easily can not seem to solution and explains why those compelling mysteries will stay unsolved for years to comeHow did lifestyles start? Why are there sexes? the place did language originate? In Hanlon's regularly witty type, he ponders the methods those questions have persevered in complex the simplest minds and asks what can be had to unravel all of it. From politics to loss of expertise, every one query has its personal set of situations preserving it again. by way of exploring those unanswerable questions, Hanlon exposessome of science's maximum failings and missteps--andcharts a hopeful course for buying technological know-how again at the street to discovery.

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Persuasive though such stuff is, it isn’t really science. Owners reporting on their dog’s or cat’s behaviour means little on its own; this is hardly a double-blind trial. Perhaps more persuasive are some neurological findings which suggests that animals may be able to fall in love. In the brains of the great apes and in humans there is a structure composed of specialized neurons called spindle cells. They are found in the parts of the cerebral cortex which have been linked to social organization, empathy, sympathy, speech recognition, intuition about the feelings of others and emotional attachments.

In was never the only view though. In other, non-Abrahamic, societies animals can be viewed quite differently. In Buddhism for example every living creature is seen as part of a spectrum that includes human beings. Hindus see certain animals, particularly cattle, as sacred and will not eat or even harm them. But the Biblical view took hold in the society that ended up developing the sciences of evolutionary biology, ethology (the study of animal behaviour) and neuroscience. This rather uncompromising underlying belief about animals could be seen to have shaped our study and interpretation in a rather unhelpful way.

We can perhaps imagine a universe without colour, or without heat or light, but we cannot imagine a world without time. And yet, as far as physics seems to understand it, we may have to. When it was assumed that base metals could be turned into gold, it was naturally assumed that there must be a substance which could effect this. Now, like the old philosopher’s stone, we assume that there is a ‘quantity’ which marks the passage of events. Just as space stops everything happening in the same place, time stops it all happening at once.

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