They've Gone About As Far as They Can Go?

Has the human run his race? The picture in art, science, and politics isn't encouraging. Sculpture reached its apex somewhere between 500 and 2500 years ago. Music, painting, and literature all topped out at least 150 years ago. Attempts to go beyond the works produced then either produced disasters like Ulysses or throwbacks like abstract art.

Physics was the glamor science of my youth, but it hasn't produced anything notably new for almost 40 years. Chemistry has been reduced to a computer exercise in quantum mechanics. Biology is still mining the last gems of the DNA revolution, but the end certainly looks in sight - it's hard to imagine any more great revelations. Cosmology may have gotten us almost as close to the beginning of everything as we can hope to get.

What about the supposed mystery of consciousness? My guess is that there won't turn out to be much there there. Robots (today) and earthworms will turn out to have a little bit of consciousness, honeybees a bunch more, and ravens still more. People and chimps probably have a bit more yet.

Only astrophysics still has fundamental unplumbed mysteries: dark matter and dark energy. Can physics, astronomy, or cosmology help solve these?


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