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Robin Ince 談科學與驚奇?

Robin Ince: Science versus wonder?

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Robin Ince

2011年7月演講,2011年11月在TEDGlobal 2011上線

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:朱學恆

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

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閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講

科學會毀了生命的魔法嗎?在這場激動但迷人的獨白中,Robin Ince提出反對的意見。我們越是瞭解宇宙驚人的奧秘-就越加感到肅然起敬。

 

關於Robin Ince

理性思考的Robin Ince在現場進行喜劇的實驗。

 

為什麼要聽他演講

理性思想可以是滑稽的嗎?喜劇可以是科學的嗎?這是建構出Robin Ince近期事業的兩個問題。在他本人主持並參與其中的BBC4廣播節目《無限猴子籠》(TIMC)中,Robin Ince及他的好友,如Brian Cox、Ben Goldacre和Simon Singh,共同製作了平易近人的科學喜劇。TIMC剛獲得Sony廣播獎2011年最佳談話節目獎,這是長久以來第一個獲獎的科學節目。他們最近以「出籠的猴子」為節目名稱進行巡迴演出,《每日電訊報》對此的評論為,「坦白說,我期待有更多的內褲丟向籠子。」

 

在舞台上,Ince以現場實驗呈現出喜劇的科學原理及笑料。他和他的團隊探索了時間的奧秘、人類是否天生滑稽及電腦是否能講笑話。

 

他說:「我認識的大多數科學家屋內都有電影和小說,而我拜訪過的小說家屋內卻沒有任何科學書籍。」

 

「Robin Ince說話很快,但反應更快。」

-《蘇格蘭人報》

 

Robin Ince的英語網上資料

Home: robinince.com

Twitter: @robinince

 

[TED科技‧娛樂‧設計]

已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

Robin Ince 談科學與驚奇?

 

首先,我想向大家說聲抱歉,因為我不會展示任何PowerPoint投影片,所以我打算做的是,我會不時地擺出這種姿勢,在這個PowerPoint民主時刻,你們可以任憑喜好想像自己看到什麼。

 

我主持一個廣播節目,節目名稱是「無限猴子籠」,內容跟科學及理性主義有關,因此我們每星期都會接到大量的投訴,其中包括一個我們經常接到的投訴,說「無限猴子籠」這個節目名稱鼓勵了活體解剖的想法。我們已經非常清楚地讓這些人知道,無限猴子籠是相當寬敞的。

 

(笑聲)

 

也有某些人說,「無限猴子籠的想法很可笑,無限隻猴子永遠無法寫出一部莎士比亞作品,我們知道這一點是因為他們做了一個實驗。」是的,他們給12隻猴子一台打字機一星期,一星期後,牠們只把它當廁所用。

 

(笑聲)

 

而主要內容,我們接到最主要的投訴-最令我感到擔憂的一個,就是有人說,「哦,為什麼你非得毀了魔法不可?你導入科學觀念,而它毀了魔法。」現在,我是一位藝術系畢業生,我熱愛神話、魔法、存在主義和自我厭惡,我就是這種人;但我依然不明白它怎麼會毀了魔法。我認為,所有可能被科學驅走的魔法,都將會被某種同樣神奇的東西取代。

 

例如,占星術。就像許多理性主義者一樣,我是雙魚座的,現在-(笑聲)占星術-我們抹煞了它可以預測你生命這個陳腐的想法;也許今天你將會遇見一位幸運的人,他戴著一頂帽子;這種觀念已不復存在。但如果我們想仰望天空,看到某些預測,依然是可以的。我們可以看到關於星系形成、星系互撞、新太陽系的預測;這是件美妙的事。如果有一天,太陽-事實上是地球;如果地球可以讀出自己的星象、天文圖,有一天它會說,「這不是個制定計劃的好日子,你將會被一顆紅巨星吞噬。」

 

對我來說也是一樣。如果你認為我擔心世界毀滅,好,有許多世界理論-其中一個來自量子解釋的最美麗、最迷人、有時令人害怕的想法中,這是件美妙的事。在場的每一個人,你今天所做的每一個決定、你一生中所做的每一個決定,並不真的是你所做的。但事實上,這些決定中的每一個改變都會進入一個新的宇宙,這是個很棒的想法。如果你曾經認為你的生活一文不值,永遠記得,還存在著另一個你,做出一些比這糟得多的決定。(笑聲)如果你曾經想過,「啊,我要結束這一切。」千萬別這麼做。請記住,在宇宙芸芸眾生中,你甚至一開始並不存在,對我來說,那種不可思議感是非常、非常令人欣慰的。

 

現在來談輪迴,這是另一件跟不復存在有關的事-來世。但它並非真的不復存在,科學確實說,我們將永遠活著。好吧,其中有個但書;我們並不是真的永遠活著,你不會永遠活著,你的意識、你本身、我本身,那是會隨之而去的部份;但每一樣組成我們的東西,我們身上的每一個原子已經創造了無數不同的事物,也將繼續創造無數的新事物。我們曾經是山巒、蘋果、脈衝星和別人的膝蓋;誰知道呢,也許你身上其中一個原子曾經是拿破崙的膝蓋,這是件好事。不同於宇宙的居住者,宇宙本身不會浪費,我們全都是可以完全回收的,當我們死後,甚至不需要被放置在不同的垃圾袋中;這是件美妙的事。

 

理解,對我來說,並不會抹煞了驚奇和喜悅。例如,我妻子或許會轉向我,然後說,「你為什麼愛我?」我可以誠心誠意地看著她,然後說,「因為我們的費洛蒙與我們的嗅覺受器彼此相符。」(笑聲)雖然我也可能會說一些關於她的頭髮和個性之類的;這是件美妙的事。因為如此,愛不會磨滅。

 

痛苦也不會消失;這是件可怕的事,儘管我瞭解痛苦。如果有人打我一拳-因為我個性的緣故,最近經常發生這種事,我瞭解痛苦來自何處,這基本上跟動量-動能的四個向量常數有關-就是這個原因。但我絕不可能這麼反應說,「哈!這就是你能得到最佳的四個動量-動能向量常數嗎?」不,我只會吐出一顆牙而已。

 

(笑聲)

 

其中包含了這所有不同的事物-我對孩子的愛。我有個兒子,他的名字是Archie。我非常幸運,因為他比所有其他的孩子更優秀。現在我知道你們並不苟同,你們很可能也有自己的孩子,心裡想著,「哦,不,我的孩子才是最棒的。」這正是演化上一件美妙的事-傾向於相信我們的孩子是最好的。現在,以許多方面來說,這只是一件跟生存有關的事,事實上我們看到的是我們基因的載體,因此我們愛他,但我們一點也沒注意到,只是無條件的愛他;這是件美妙的事。雖然我還是得說,我兒子是最棒的,比你們的孩子更優秀;我做過一些測試。

 

這一切讓我產生如此多的喜悅、興奮和驚奇。例如,量子力學甚至可以提供你一個家務凌亂的藉口。也許你已獨自在家待了一個星期,你的屋子亂成一團,你的伴侶即將返回。你想著,我該怎麼辦?什麼都不用做。你只需要在她走進家門時,用量子力學解釋說,「實在很抱歉,我只是停止觀察這間屋子一下子,當我再度開始觀察它時,一切都已經發生了。」(笑聲)這是強大的真空人擇原理。

 

對我來說,這是一件非常、非常重要的事,即使在我前來這裡的旅程中,每次我前來這裡的旅程都充滿喜悅。如果你確實思考過,就算你抹煞了神話,依然存在某些驚奇。當我坐在火車上,我每一次吸氣時都吸入了千百億個氧原子;當我坐在椅子上時,儘管我知道椅子是由原子組成,因此由許多方面來看,確實處處充滿空隙,我還是覺得很舒服;當我看向窗外,我意識到每當我們駐足看向窗外,讓身影呈現在窗框中時,無論我們在哪裡,我觀察到的生命比地球之外的已知宇宙其他部份還多。如果你去土星或木星的野生動物園,你會很失望的。我意識到我正觀察著這一切,用腦,人類的大腦,已知宇宙中最複雜的東西。這,對我來說,是一件不可思議的事。你們知道嗎?或許這就足夠了。

 

諾貝爾獎得主Steven Weinberg曾經說過,「宇宙越是顯得可以理解,就越顯得毫無意義。」現在,對某些人來說,這似乎導致一種虛無主義的想法;但對我來說並非如此,這是件美妙的事。我很高興宇宙是毫無意義的,這意味著當我生命結束時,宇宙無法轉向我,然後說,「你到底做了些什麼,你這個白痴?一點意義也沒有。」我可以為自己訂下目標,你們可以為自己訂下目標,我們擁有自我的力量可以這麼說,「這就是我想做的。」存在於一個毫無意義的宇宙中,對我來說是一件美妙的事。我選擇開一些關於量子力學及哥本哈根詮釋(對量子力學的一種理解方式)的愚蠢玩笑,你們,我想,一定能用你們的時間做更好的事。

 

非常感謝,再見。

 

(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this Talk

Does science ruin the magic of life? In this grumpy but charming monologue, Robin Ince makes the argument against. The more we learn about the astonishing behavior of the universe -- the more we stand in awe.

About the Speaker

The rational-minded Robin Ince conducts live experiments in comedy. Full bio and more links

Transcript

I'd like to apologize, first of all, to all of you because I have no form of PowerPoint presentation. So what I'm going to do is, every now and again, I will make this gesture, and in a moment of PowerPoint democracy, you can imagine what you'd like to see.

I do a radio show. The radio show is called "The Infinite Monkey Cage." It's about science, it's about rationalism. So therefore, we get a lot of complaints every single week -- complaints including one we get very often, which is to say the very title, "Infinite Monkey Cage," celebrates the idea of vivisection. We have made it quite clear to these people that an infinite monkey cage is roomy.

(Laughter)

We also had someone else who said, "'The Infinite Monkey Cage' idea is ridiculous. An infinite number of monkeys could never write the works of Shakespeare. We know this because they did an experiment." Yes, they gave 12 monkeys a typewriter for a week, and after a week, they only used it as a bathroom.

(Laughter)

So the main element though, the main complaint we get -- and one that I find most worrying -- is that people say, "Oh, why do you insist on ruining the magic? You bring in science, and it ruins the magic." Now I'm an arts graduate; I love myth and magic and existentialism and self-loathing. That's what I do. But I also don't understand how it does ruin the magic. All of the magic, I think, that may well be taken away by science is then replaced by something as wonderful.

Astrology, for instance: like many rationalists, I'm a Pisces. (Laughter) Now astrology -- we remove the banal idea that your life could be predicted; that you'll, perhaps today, meet a lucky man who's wearing a hat. That is gone. But if we want to look at the sky and see predictions, we still can. We can see predictions of galaxies forming, of galaxies colliding into each other, of new solar systems. This is a wonderful thing. If the Sun could one day -- and indeed the Earth, in fact -- if the Earth could read its own astrological, astronomical chart, one day it would say, "Not a good day for making plans. You'll been engulfed by a red giant."

And that to me as well, that if you think I'm worried about losing worlds, well Many Worlds theory -- one of the most beautiful, fascinating, sometimes terrifying ideas from the quantum interpretation -- is a wonderful thing. That every person here, every decision that you've made today, every decision you've made in your life, you've not really made that decision, but in fact, every single permutation of those decisions is made, each one going off into a new universe. That is a wonderful idea. If you ever think that your life is rubbish, always remember there's another you that's made much worse decisions than that. (Laughter) If you ever think, "Ah, I want to end it all," don't end it all. Remember that in the majority of universes, you don't even exist in the first place. This to me, in its own strange way, is very, very comforting.

Now reincarnation, that's another thing gone -- the afterlife. But it's not gone. Science actually says we will live forever. Well, there is one proviso. We won't actually live forever. You won't live forever. Your consciousness, the you-ness of you, the me-ness of me -- that gets this one go. But every single thing that makes us, every atom in us, has already created a myriad of different things and will go on to create a myriad of new things. We have been mountains and apples and pulsars and other people's knees. Who knows, maybe one of your atoms was once Napoleon's knee. That is a good thing. Unlike the occupants of the universe, the universe itself is not wasteful. We are all totally recyclable. And when we die, we don't even have to be placed in different refuse sacs. This is a wonderful thing.

Understanding, to me, does not remove the wonder and the joy. For instance, my wife could turn to me and she may say, "Why do you love me?" And I can with all honesty look her in the eye and say, "Because our pheromones matched our olfactory receptors." (Laughter) Though I'll probably also say something about her hair and personality as well. And that is a wonderful thing there. Love does not die because of that thing.

Pain doesn't go away either. This is a terrible thing, even though I understand pain. If someone punches me -- and because of my personality, this is recently a regular occurrence -- I understand where the pain comes from. It is basically momentum to energy where the four-vector is constant -- that's what it is. But at no point can I react and go, "Ha! Is that the best momentum-to-energy fourth vector constant you've got?" No, I just spit out a tooth.

(Laughter)

And that is all of these different things -- the love for my child. I have a son. His name is Archie. I'm very lucky, because he's better than all the other children. Now I know you don't think that. You may well have your own children and think, "Oh no, my child's best." That's the wonderful thing about evolution -- the predilection to believe that our child is best. Now in many ways, that's just a survival thing. The fact we see here is the vehicle for our genes, and therefore we love it. But we don't notice that bit; we just unconditionally love. That is a wonderful thing. Though I should say that my son is best and is better than your children. I've done some tests.

And all of these things to me give such joy and excitement and wonder. Even quantum mechanics can give you an excuse for bad housework, for instance. Perhaps you've been at home for a week on your own. You house is in a terrible state. Your partner is about to return. You think, what should I do? Do nothing. All you have to do is, when she walks in, using a quantum interpretation, say, "I'm so sorry. I stopped observing the house for a moment, and when I started observing again, everything had happened." (Laughter) That's the strong anthropic principle of vacuuming.

For me, it's a very, very important thing. Even on my journey up here -- the joy that I have on my journey up here every single time. If you actually think, you remove the myth and there is still something wonderful. I'm sitting on a train. Every time I breathe in, I'm breathing in a million-billion-billion atoms of oxygen. I'm sitting on a chair. Even though I know the chair is made of atoms and therefore actually in many ways empty space, I find it comfortable. I look out the window, and I realize that every single time we stop and I look out that window, framed in that window, wherever we are, I am observing more life than there is in the rest of the known universe beyond the planet Earth. If you go to the safari parks on Saturn or Jupiter, you will be disappointed. And I realize I'm observing this with the brain, the human brain, the most complex thing in the known universe. That, to me, is an incredible thing. And do you know what, that might be enough.

Steven Weinberg, the Nobel laureate, once said, "The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless." Now for some people, that seems to lead to an idea of nihilism. But for me, it doesn't. That is a wonderful thing. I'm glad the universe is pointless. It means if I get to the end of my life, the universe can't turn to me and go, "What have you been doing, you idiot? That's not the point." I can make my own purpose. You can make your own purpose. We have the individual power to go, "This is what I want to do." And in a pointless universe, that, to me, is a wonderful thing. I have chosen to make silly jokes about quantum mechanics and the Copenhagen interpretation. You, I imagine, can do much better things with your time.

Thank you very much. Goodbye.

(Applause)
 


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