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An inconsistency in The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking

 
 
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2016 10:27 am
Stephen Hawking's The Grand Design is an inspiring masterpiece that is one of my favorite books.
I've found, however, one inconsistency in the book:

Quote:
1) While conceding that human behavior is indeed determined by the laws of nature, it also seems reasonable to conclude that the outcome is determined in such a complicated way and with so many variables as to make it impossible in practice to predict. For that one would need a knowledge of the initial state of each of the thousand trillion trillion molecules in the human body and to solve something like that number of equations. That would take a few billion years, which would be a bit late to duck when the person opposite aimed a blow. (Chapter 2 THE RULE OF LAW)

2)
We cannot even solve exactly the equations for three or more particles interacting with each other. Since an alien the size of a human would contain about a thousand trillion trillion particles even if the alien were a robot, it would be impossible to solve the equations and predict what it would do. We would therefore have to say that any complex being has free will-not as a fundamental feature, but as an effective theory, an admission of our inability to do the calculations that would enable us to predict its actions.
(Chapter 8 THE GRAND DESIGN)


The above shows us:
Chapter 2 tells us that the human body contains "the thousand trillion trillion molecules," while Chapter 8 tells us "the size of a human would contain about a thousand trillion trillion particles." Yet we know that a molecule contains a lot of particles. So Chapter 2 is not consistent with Chapter 8.
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timur
 
  2  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2016 10:39 am
Oristar wrote:
Yet we know that a molecule contains a lot of particles.

I'd say it's nitpicking.

A molecule contains a lot of "elementary particles" but,

Wiki wrote:
A particle is a minute fragment or quantity of matter. In the physical sciences, the word is used to describe a small localized object to which can be ascribed several physical or chemical properties such as volume or mass;
oristarA
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2016 11:04 am
@timur,
timur wrote:

Oristar wrote:
Yet we know that a molecule contains a lot of particles.

I'd say it's nitpicking.

A molecule contains a lot of "elementary particles" but,

Wiki wrote:
A particle is a minute fragment or quantity of matter. In the physical sciences, the word is used to describe a small localized object to which can be ascribed several physical or chemical properties such as volume or mass;



Not nitpicking in my opinion.
When Hawking said "We cannot even solve exactly the equations for three or more particles interacting with each other," he unequivocally refers to "elementary particle," not suggesting otherwise.
timur
 
  2  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2016 11:11 am
@oristarA,
You are assuming that the alien the size of a human would contain the same amount of molecules than a human.

Such a huge quantity is a metaphor.

Hence the nitpicking..
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oristarA
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 9 Jan, 2016 10:37 am
The frame of reference is the size of human body. So it is important to stick to it.
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