Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Spirit of Neo-Luddism

It was almost exactly 50 years ago on December14, 1962 that Mariner 2 reached Venus and sent radio signals back to Earth. But the space age shouldn't last for long. 10 years later NASA launched their last flight to the Moon. Today NASA is criticized for being"lost in space" and having no clear strategy for the future.
What happened with the space program is only the peak of the iceberg of the pathetic situation of mankind today in general. Since the beginning of the 70s there is an apparent decline in technology with only on exception: semi-conductors and computer technology. There can be no doubt that this technology has immensely advanced and continues to advance. But apart from that, there is nothing positive to report.
  • Mankind is not able to get to the Moon anymore. A second attempt by the so called Constellation program utterly failed and had to be cancelled.
  • The space shuttle was never able to fulfill its expectations (launch from any airport, cheap, fully reusable) and is now also cancelled.
  • Long range travel with supersonic speed cannot be achieved anymore since the Concord has been grounded.
  • At the beginning of the 70s mankind was just a small step away from commercial nuclear fusion reactors. No progress has been made since then and even nuclear fission reactors are shut down worldwide (Germany, Japan).
  • Prototypes of sophisticated car engines were developed in the 60s and early 70s with electric fuel engines or pistonless rotary engines (Wankel engine). However we still drive cars with primitive combustion engines based on the design of Nikolaus Otto at the end of the 19th century.
An entire generation has obviously refused to do anything to advance mankind any further. And this phenomenon is not only visible when it comes to technology but also in the mindset of our current generation.
  • Any technological progress is perceived primarily as negative.
  • Any investment in a space program or new technologies (e.g. magnetic levitation trains) is considered to be a waste of money. However feeding unproductive masses in order to multiply their numbers is considered useful spending.
  • Creationism has become a widely accepted and equally valid theory along with evolution.
  • Religious superstition has returned and displaced humanism and reason (Evangelical christianity has become more and more influential in the US. Islam has resurged first in Persia 1979, then all over the Middle East.)
  • Human rights have become undermined. Censorship has become more and more accepted to suppress whatever is considered offensive, blasphemous, immoral, or not politically correct.
  • The state has been empowered to enact arbitrary laws in total disrespect of individual freedom as long as it can be claimed that it is for the common good (e.g. public health, security, etc.)
  • Preindustrial tribal cultures have their primitive traditions equally valued as modern humanist philosophy.
  • The gold standard was abolished in the beginning of the 70s creating the perfect means to accumulate wealth without producing anything and playing with virtual numbers, effectively establishing a financial aristocracy. Now even primitive tribal chieftains from the Arabian Peninsula can enjoy full respect of the international community by joining the financial aristocracy.
  • Theoretical physics with its useless mathematical models without any practical application has superseded real science and engineering. Physics has become a matter of faith where we have to believe the revelations of this new academic clergy who alone have the authority to decree "scientific truth" (Big Bang, dark matter, singularities, n-dimensional string theory etc.).
All this is the result of the irrational neo-Luddite mindset of one generation: the so called "baby boomers". They have brought humanity to an effective standstill and led us on a path back into the medieval Dark Ages.
Why is it that old sci-fi  movies from the 60s look more futuristic than a sci-fi movie of today that only excels in unrealistic special effects that tell no story? This is the spirit of today. The generation of the last decades prefers impossible dream worlds over the real world. They don't care about what is possible or not, because they prefer thrilling entertainment in the safety of their homes. This is what led to the success of computer technology, which enables these impossible dream worlds to become true, even if it is only on a computer screen.The only important thing is that no risks are involved.

Even modern wars must not cause any harm anymore. They are fought remotely with drones controlled from 10,000 miles away on a screen by an employee with an 8-hours office shift. The military obviously very much enjoys playing war, much more than 40 or 50 years ago, when wars were actually dangerous and involved the threat of a nuclear holocaust. But today's wars should not be too real with real casualties on either side. It has become easy and fun to attack another country, since no real risk is involved and its outcome will not change any status quo. It just keeps the usual conflicts going on. Before one side can win, a cease-fire is declared, so both sides can keep their face and go on with their eternal conflict. This is where the generation of today prefers to spend money on, instead of funding space missions.

Humanity is definitely on the wrong track. There is no way that we will ever progress again, if we continue on this path. We have to go back to the way of thinking that was still prevalent in the 60s and start over. Whatever mankind has done since then should be discarded, because nothing good has come out of it.
We need a new positive way of thinking. We have to embrace progress and technology. We have to understand that the future of mankind is in space. We don't need to waste our efforts on Earth. Earth has already been colonized by man. There is nothing more that we can hope to achieve here on this planet.
We need better engines, better energy sources (nuclear fusion) and new visions for the future. We have to get rid of superstition and religion, tribalism, ethical indifference and a nanny state that promotes wrong values. We need to be willing to take risks, to open our minds up for new ideas. We need bravery and courage, not an urge of safety and social security. We have to understand that quality is more important than quantity. It is better to put effort in one expensive but really advanced invention than equipping the masses with cheap junk technology for their entertainment.

If mankind manages to build a colony on another planet, it will be remembered for all human history. But nobody will remember, if we manage to equip everybody on this planet with the latest model of the iPhone,r a flat screen TV with 3D capability or an economic car. We should make positive sci-fi movies about the future, not negative dystopias that are so fashionable these days. 
We need to put an end to the spirit of neo-Luddism of the baby boomer generation, or otherwise mankind will have no future. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The "Big Bang" Cult

Astronomer at the California Institute of Technology have just corrected the supposed age of the oldest known galaxy to 13.3 billion years using photos by the Hubble telescope. This means that this galaxy already existed in the form as we see it today only 380 million years after the supposed beginning of the universe. 
Nevertheless they still stick to the obsolete Big Bang theory.
How would galaxies as they exist today have formed after just 380 million years and then continued unchanged for the next 13.4 billion years in a totally different environment? The universe was much smaller, hotter and denser in this time. It was shortly after its energy condensed into matter. There is no scenario imaginable how matter would have aggregated into galaxies with fully developed stars in such a short time. So if you apply common sense then the Big Bang theory has now been utterly disproved. There is no way that the Big Bang could have occurred 13.7 billion years ago, and an earlier date doesn't fit into current models of this theory. But theoretical physics simply refuses to accept the overwhelming evidence. 
Fact is that the Big Bang theory cannot hold anymore. We have to accept some kind of steady state theory as cosmological model. The steady state theories have their own problem too, but at least not such serious problems as the Big Bang theory, which is totally unable to explain the observations that we can make with our telescopes.
The universe has no beginning, at least not in form of a Big Bang. This is now certain beyond any doubt. The Big Bang theory is dead, so dead as any scientific theory can possibly be. And those who deny this fact can only have other motives than scientific reasoning. Theoretical physicists have become just as stubborn as creationists. They insist in a similar theory of a young universe in spite of plenty of evidence for the contrary.
This recently corrected age for the aforementioned galaxy is not the only example for objects that are simply too old for a universe created by a Big Bang. Globular clusters have also be suspected to be possibly older than the "Big Bang universe" due to their composition of stars. And objects, which are apparently too old for the universe, are not the only problem that the Big Bang theory has.
For today's theoretical physicists the Big Bang theory has become unfalsifiable. For this reason it ceases to be a scientific theory. It is a faith.
The Big Bang theory is part of a creationist cult, because without it there would be no place for a divine creator of the universe. But all observational evidence points in the same direction: The universe has no beginning, so it was not created, and therefore there cannot be a creator.
The Big Bang is no science anymore it is a cult, with a creation myth not different from the book of Genesis or Greek or Sumerian mythology.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


There are three distinct approaches of forming an opinion about a certain topic:
The first one is based on what I'd like to call "naivety". This means someone has little or know knowledge about a topic and forms his opinion based on his first impression and simple conclusions from his own direct observations.
The second one is based on what I'd like to call "knowledge". This means one has some kind of knowledge about a topic, but this is either incomplete or partially based on wrong data.
The third one would necessarily be based on "full knowledge" and would therefore be the optimal approach.

I'd like to explain this further by an example, which is quite fitting for our current season of the year.
Some years ago during Christmas time there was an article in newspaper somewhere in Latin America, which had conducted a survey among school children about the meaning of Christmas. The children were asked, why Christmas was celebrated. In Spanish Christmas is called "Navidad", so this allows no direct conclusion to a Christian background from its name.
One child answered that Christmas was a family holiday, where everybody comes together and has a big family dinner. Another one told the journalist that it is a holiday where children get a lot of gifts. A third child answered that it is a celebration of peace worldwide.
So the journalist who wrote the article was outraged that today's children were totally unaware of the original meaning of Christmas and that it had lost any spiritual meaning to the young generation. Of course he was convinced that the children were totally ignorant of the truth and that Christmas was the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ.
At least this was what  he had learned. And assuming that his education was so far superior than that of these children, he could only pity them for their lack of knowledge.
However he was wrong. There is no record about the date of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The church declared arbitrarily the 25th of December to be his birthday, because it was the date of a pagan festival (winter solstice, Saturnalia), which was very popular. In order to erase the pagan background of this festival, they gave it a Christian meaning. So they established the tradition to celebrate Jesus' birthday at this date. Although most other Christmas traditions had nothing to do with Christianity but with the original pagan meaning, e. g. the Christmas tree, the candles, the Christmas gifts etc.
Therefore the seemingly ignorant school children were far closer to the truth than the outraged journalist with his half-knowledge about the topic. In fact Christmas has far more to do with gifts, family and peace than with the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, which is very unlikely to have occurred on  a 25th of December.
I this example the children based their opinion on naivety, while the journalist based it on half-knowledge that led him farther away from the truth.

Hardly anybody of us is free from that kind of half-knowledge. And many of us make the same mistake as this journalist. We assume us to be more educated than seemingly naive and ignorant people but we might ourselves have misguided opinions based on our education that is possibly incomplete or contains false data. 
The problem is that the one whose knowledge is incomplete or false is never aware of this fact and believes his knowledge to be complete and true. He simply cannot know that there is more necessary data to form a correct opinion. 

To demonstrate how ubiquitous this phenomenon is, I will give another example. 
A common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.
Some naive people frequently try to treat this disease with antibiotics.
This behavior is vehemently criticized by physicians and scientists. Since a common cold is caused by a virus and antibiotics are only effective against bacteria, this treatment is totally useless and might even be harmful due to the negative side-effects of antibiotics... - according to their opinion, which is again based on half-knowledge.
The empirical fact is that antibiotics are indeed effective against a common cold. Some scientists try to explain this fact away by attributing it to the placebo effect of those antibiotic. However antibiotics are even then effective, when they are not expected to be so by the patient in cases when they are prescribed against a totally different disease stopping the respiratory infection only as a side-effect.
The reason is that the human body is a more complex system than the simplistic mechanical model of those physicians and scientists. The most severe symptoms of the common cold are not caused by the virus itself that is responsible for the initial infection but by opportunistic bacterial infections of the affected respiratory tissue. And against these opportunistic bacteria antibiotics are quite well effective. Once the opportunistic bacterial infection is suppressed, the immune system can deal with the remaining viral infection much faster and more efficient.
Again the half-knowledge of those scientists and physicians who learned that antibiotics don't work against a virus has misled them to an opinion, which is farther away from the truth than the naive opinion of those people who have no clue about the mechanisms of infections at all.

Half-knowledge is dangerous. It can lead to inferior decisions than even total ignorance of a subject. The problem is that we can never be sure, if we have really full knowledge about a topic or only half-knowledge. This is why we should always be skeptical about everything we believe to know. We should not right away discard any naive opinion of rather ignorant people who form their opinions just on personal observation and no education. We should always question ourselves and what we have learned from our education.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Authority

One major obstacle to rational thinking is a phenomenon, which has been called "book authority". It is a philosophical method in which an argument is proven by reference to a written source that enjoys ultimate authority over a topic.
The most obvious example are religious scriptures. They are supposed to be of divine origin and therefore enjoy a higher authority than any other form of human epistemology including rationalism or empiricism. This means a believer would rather trust a scripture than his own logical conclusions or personal experience. 
People with Western secular education usually believe to be free from such methodical fallacies, but this is unfortunately not the case.
I'd like to recount at this occasion a recent experience that I had during a discussion with a friend. This friend of mine is not particular religious and has a full Western school education, so he should actually have been familiar with the scientific method.
During a conversation about the tides of the sea level, he made the statement that the tides would shift daily for a length of 25 minutes. This means high tide would be every day 25 minutes later than the day before. I quickly calculated this number and came to the conclusion that the time shift had to be about double the time. However he insisted that it was 25 minutes, because he had read this number somewhere.
So I demonstrated him by an easy calculation that this could not be true:
The tides are caused by the moon. The moon orbits Earth in about 29 days and one day has 24 hours. Therefore the time shift had to be 24h/29 days = 50min/day. 
My friend did still not agree. 
He was fully aware that the tides are caused by the moon, that a moon cycle has 29 days and that every day has 24 hours, but he was still not willing to accept the validity of this simple calculation just because he had read a different value somewhere. This means he was willing to accept that 24h/29 days = 25min/day just because it was written in some unknown book and although it contradicts a simple mathematical calculation. that he could easily do himself. He had given "book authority" priority over his own ability to calculate.
His belief in "book authority" was even more obvious, when he later asked me to back up my claim by a link from the Internet. So he was willing to accept another "book authority", but unwilling to give up his false belief just based on logic and mathematics. 
Unfortunately we have a lot of people acting this way. They want a written proof, and be it an article from Wikipedia, in oder to believe something. Logical reasoning is not enough for them. 
I have also made similar experiences during discussions with other scientists. Even if somebody just makes a logical conclusion, they ask for a source for it. Providing references and sources has become an obsession. It is almost like scholastic theology in the Middle Ages. You need to back up everything with a quote from the bible. Famous scientists like Einstein or Hawkins are quoted as some kind of divine authority. If Einstein said so, it has to be true, even if it is beyond our understanding, because he is supposed to have had some sort of supernatural inspiration about how the universe works.
This way of thinking has nothing to do with the scientific method. It is not rational. It is some kind of outsourcing of thinking. For some reason, be it laziness or lack of self-confidence, people are unwilling to think for themselves. So they let others think for them, trusting fully in their authority on the subject.
Well, if you want to outsource your thinking, you better have some very competent authorities. Unfortunately this is often not the case because these authorities may have their own agenda, which might not be finding out the truth or letting you find out the truth. 
Our own ability to reason and logic should always be the highest authority, not some person or some books. 
But the most problematic issue is that most people are not even aware, when they put their trust in "book authority" instead of reason and logic. Observe yourself next time when you look up something in Wikipedia in order to decide an argument that you just had. Are you just putting all your trust into a guy, because he has an academic title, or a book from a respectable publisher or are you really able to understand what is told and is it in accordance with your own observations and rational conclusions?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is widely considered to be a human right. But by the very definition of a human right, it is the right of a human being, not the right of a deity. There can be no right for a deity to impose his or her rules over humans and call this a human right. It might be a divine right, but this is certainly not what human rights are supposed to be about.
Religions are a community of believers at best, and no human right protects the privileges of communities, human rights only protect individuals.
The term "freedom of religion" was actually based on the concept "freedom from religion". No individual should be forced by the state to obey certain religious doctrines. Every individual should be free to believe whatever he or she wanted, no matter what the predominant religion of his or her country was. This is what freedom of religion is about.
Unfortunately today religious community abuse the term "freedom of religion" to enforce their doctrines on others.
A recent example is Germany, where ritual circumcision of minors has been banned by a court decision. Now Jewish and Muslim organizations claim that their human rights, their "freedom of religion" has been violated. They fail to understand that their religion does not enjoy any freedom under the protection of human rights. Only individuals, in this case underage children, enjoy any protection of human rights. They are protected from physical mutilation by their parent,s before they are old enough to make such severe decisions on their own.
The whole issue of "freedom of religion" seems to be too complicated for religious people to understand. They don't understand that it only means that nobody can be told what to believe. It does not protect any faith or any religion.
The best solution would be to avoid further confusions and abolish the idea of "freedom of religion" at all. Religion should not be mentioned in the context of human rights. The right of everybody to hold any opinion he wants and not to be persecuted for it, is already protected by other human rights. There is no need to mention religious opinions separately.
Organized religions should not have a right to their existence. Religion is a mental disorder. To protect a religion is like protecting schizophrenia. It is time to strip religions from any kind of privileges or protection. We might not want to force religious people to undergo treatment for their mental disorder, but they should certainly not get any special acknowledgement for it.
Religion is no value, it is a erroneous method of thinking. It is a serious problem that affects the capacity of logic reasoning. Therefore measures should be taken to encourage people to overcome religion. Furthermore we cannot allow people that suffer from religion to make important decisions, which means their political rights need to me restricted, if it becomes obvious that they make decisions based on superstitious believes instead of reason.
It would be wrong to show tolerance towards religion, just as it is wrong to show tolerance towards any other mental disease. They are diseases and as such they are a problem.
If humanity wants to become a truly intelligent lifeform, we have to overcome religion and other forms of superstition. It is time to take decisive measures against religions. We need a zero-tolerance policy against any kind of public expressions of religion.
Nobody can be told what to think, but there can be limits to what he is allowed to do in order to prevent harm from others. And spreading a mental disease is certainly harmful for others. Making statements that you can't prove, is wrong, and it should be treated as such. Therefore religion needs to disappear from the public.
Religious people have been treated with too much leniency for far too long. We have to treat them as what they are - as some sick people.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The odd relationship between nudity and modern religions defies any logic. For unknown reasons all of today's world religions abhor the the idea of not having the human, especially the female, body covered by some kind of clothes. The most extreme cases are the islamic dress codes that include covering the face. The influence of these religions has made most countries to enact laws effectively banning nudity even for people who don't belong to these superstitious cults. Even the guidelines of the provider of this blog has such restrictions in place banning me from adding a fitting illustration to this topic.
What might be the reason for such irrational restrictions?
Considering that nudity is the natural state of human beings and therefore inevitable during certain circumstitions like birth, body hygiene and replacement of clothes, it appears counterintuitive that there are legal restrictions against nudity instead against excessive clothing, which might sometimes be a security concern.
The restrictions against nudity are apparently related to religion. The more religious a country is, the more restrictive it is against nudity, which can be seen by comparing Europe with Saudi Arabia to name just two examples. Historically the origin of this taboo can be found in the so called Abrahamic religions, although modern India, which is predominantly Hindu, is very restrictive in this matter too. However this seems to be caused by many centuries of Islamic influence. Ancient India before its first contact with Islam seems not to have had this taboo as we can see by the depictions of ancient Hindu temples. Therefore the common denominator of the irrational taboo of nudity seems to be the Abrahamic faith. It might therefore be a good idea to look at the scriptures of these religions in order to find the reasoning behind it.
Since the quran is no original scripture but based on Christian and Jewish sources, we only need to look into these older scriptures. Considering that the Abrahamic faith believes that its deity is the creator of nature, it is quite ironical that the "Work of God" should need to be covered by a "Work of Man". The opposite would make more sense. There would be good reasons that Abrahamic religions should ban clothes and instead require humans to be nude with few exceptions. According to the book of Genesis, the first book of the bible, that includes the Jewish/Christian creation myth, the origin of wearing clothes is closely related to the Original Sin and man's expulsion from paradise.
Genesis 3:6 - 3:11:
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 
From this chapter of the torah/bible it is quite clear that clothes are a serious offense to the Abrahamic god and therefore sinful. If we follow the religious logic, clothes are the work of Satan (the serpent) and should therefore be banned.
Nevertheless the opposite is the case. Religious people don't get tired settig up minimum requirements of how much clothes needs to be worn. The reason for it is obviously not a divine revelation as we have seen. It seems to have something to do with the general stance towards human sexuality. 
Nudity is associated with sexuality. This is why it is opposed with or without being based on the scriptures. The hatred of the Abrahamic religions against sexuality is also visible in the eagerness of these people to mutilate the genitals of their offspring. The Abrahamic religions have become a refuge for people with severe sexual disorders that enables them to justify their aberrant behavior. If somebody is for some reasons incapable of normal sexual relationships, he naturally seeks refuge in religion. This is how religions have become an asylum for people with all kind of sexual perversions. There are the pedophile Catholic priests; there is Islam with its sex-obsessed prophet raping captives and abusing a 7-years-old girl; and there is the overproportional ratio of homosexuality among Arabs and Catholic priests and monks.
These people have used the power of their religious institutions to influence the society according to their personal sexual aberrations.
This is why we have restrictions on nudity everywhere: in publications, broadcastings, public places. They can be found everywhere, in any country of the world, although they make no sense at all and defy any attempt to understand their reasoning. We have allowed pathologically aberrant people to dictate our laws. Perverted behavior has become so commonplace that we don't even dare to question it. And we have to live with insane laws that seem to be made in a madhouse.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Speed of Light Part II

Large Hadron Collider of CERN

It has now been confirmed that the Opera experiment that seemed to show that neutrinos moved faster than the speed of light was faulty. This means the neutrinos did not move faster than light.
And it also means that we don't need to rethink over one hundred years of scientific research. Einstein's Theory of Relativity is still valid and has not been disproved.
And faster-than-light travel has been pushed back into the fantasy realms of science fiction and theoretical physics. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Big Bang

The theory of the Big Bang is based on the assumption that once the universe with all its matter, energy and  pace was concentrated in a single point. Then it exploded in a Big Bang and during the following 13.7 billion years it formed the universe that we can see today with its planets, stars, galaxies and galaxy clusters.
It is today the most widely accepted theory about the origin of the universe and replaced earlier theories like for example the steady state theory, which assumes that the universe has more or less always been as it is today and has neither a beginning nor an end.
Although the Big Bang theory is today so widely accepted, it has still its problems that it cannot explain so easily. However scientists have always come up with new adjustments to this theory in order to save it from being falsified by actual observations.

First Problem: Missing Matter (Flatness Problem)
In order to determine the future fate of the universe, scientists wanted to measure the concentration of matter in space. If the amount of matter in the universe was more than a certain value, the universe would one day stop to expand, when the gravity of its matter would get stronger than the force that caused the Big Bang and its expansion. The process would then reverse and the universe would collapse in a Big Crunch. Would the amount of matter be lower than a certain value, it would forever continue to expand, since the gravity would never be enough to stop its expansion.
The third possibility was that the amount of matter would exactly be that value to be able to stop the expansion, but not enough to reverse it. In this case the universe would slowly approach its maximum extension, without ever reaching it or surpassing it.
Observations of the Hubble telescope finally allowed an estimation of the amount of matter in the universe. And the result was that the amount of matter was not just lower than the value needed to stop its expansion it was far lower. It was so low, that it couldn’t even explain, why the universe hadn’t exploded long ago and was still merely compact. In fact the amount of matter found was about 17% of the amount needed to explain how the universe would have survived for so long after the Big Bang. So the theory of the Big Bang was in big trouble.
But some ingenious scientist came suddenly up with the creative idea, that if there was not enough matter in the universe to support the Big Bang theory, there had to be some invisible matter that simply could not be detected. This matter was called with the mysterious name "Dark Matter".
No scientist can actually explain, what this Dark Matter is supposed to be, and why it is undetectable, although it makes for more than 80% of matter in the universe, but they came up with vast number of theories like Black Holes, neutrinos, "Dark Energy", or simply a hidden variable of space or gravity.
However thanks to this unproven speculation about Dark Matter or Dark Energy the Big Bang theory is still alive.

Second Problem: The Universe is too Big. (Horizon Problem)
Since nothing can move faster than light according to Einstein’s theory of Relativity and the Big Bang is supposed to have occurred about 13.7 billion years ago, there shouldn’t be any objects in the universe, which are more than 13.7 billion years away from each other. Unfortunately for the Big Bang theory, this is not how it is. There have indeed objects been observed on opposite sides of our horizon to be farther away from each other than light speed would permit. Once again the Big Bang theory was threatened. But scientists were quick to find a solution for this problem. They assumed that there was a phenomenon called "inflation" just shortly after the Big Bang when for some strange reason the universe expanded faster than light. The so called "Inflation" theory so once again saved the day for the Big Bang theory, although it created even more questions than answers. Simply introducing new parameters into an equation that have never been observed anywhere else is a very bad style. Apart from the "Inflation" theory there has never been any observation to support the assumption that space would be able to expand faster than light.

Third Problem: Where is the Antimatter? (Baryon Assymetry)
If all the matter in the universe was created during the Big Bang from an extremely hot state out of energy, then for every particle there must have been created its anti-particle. Elementary particles cannot be produced without producing their anti-particles. This means that there must be the same amount of matter and anti-matter in the universe. On the other hand the observation of the universe shows that there is no anti-matter in the observable part of the universe. Since matter and anti-matter would annihilate each other if they ever meet, there would need to be a vast amount of space between them. It can be calculated that in the whole universe there is no such area of empty space. Until the present day not even a single anti-helium atom has ever been observed, neither in space nor artificially created in a particle accelerator.
Therefore the matter of the universe cannot have been created by the Big Bang, if we don’t want to give up all the elementary principles of elementary physics and quantum physics.
So far even the scientists who support the Big Bang theory haven’t found a theory to explain this problem away. Some speculate about the CP symmetry of elementary particles being somehow incomplete (anti-particles having distinct properties from normal particles) without realizing hat they are questioning the basic laws of nature that hold our universe together as it is.
In fact the anti-matter problem is simply ignored when talking about the Big Bang and its solution is postponed.

Forth Problem: Objects older than the universe? (Globular Cluster Age)
Although the age of the universe has been calculated to be 13.7 billion years, the globular star clusters surrounding our galaxy seem to be at least 15 billion years old considering their star population.
This problem caused an immediate headache to all scientists supporting the Big Bang theory. But they saw their chance. The difference between the age of these star clusters and the age of the universe was rather small, so it was an observation, which could be discussed away with enough effort. And finally in the late 1990s they had had done enough fine tuning in some computer models, so that they turned out a younger age for the globular clusters. The results of these computer simulations are still disputed and it is obvious that the scientific method had been reversed in this case. The desired result of these simulations predated the actual experiment and had obviously an influence of it.  And even supposed that the results are right, there remains the question how these structures could form so early in the history of the universe.

Fifth Problem: A beginning without an end?
Since scientists found out that the expansion of the universe is increasing, instead of slowing down as one might expect due to the effect of gravity, the Big Bang theory has to assume that the universe had a beginning but will have no end, no Big Crunch. This rises first of al the question, if it is theoretically thinkable that thing have a beginning but no end. We would have a situation that an infinite and ever-increasing number of things would come into existence populating the world ad infinitum. Avery odd concept. 
However we could assume that the universe will finally come to an end when its expansion has become so fast that even the strong nuclear interaction would not be able to prevent the quarks of the baryons moving away from each other beyond their respective event horizon resulting in some kind of evaporation of the universe. This event, the so called "Big Rip" would be more than 10^{10^{76}} years in the future (a 1 with 1076 zeros, an unimaginable number for the human mind), long after the "Big Freeze" when all matter of the universe had turned into Black Holes. Then we would have to question why we are existing at a moment so close to the beginning of the universe, while we should expect to exist just in any random point of time during the lifespan of the universe. From a statistical point of view it has a probability close to zero that we live just 13.7 billion years from the Big Bang while the whole lifespan of the universe is close to infinitely longer. Even if we apply the highly controversial Anthropic Principle (that we can only exist when physical existence is  possible due to the physical conditions of the universe), there would be conditions for biological life up to 1014 years in the future. This means we would still be during the first 3 days of baby's life if we scale down the productive life of the universe to a human lifespan. This is still very improbable. 
Improbable doesn't mean impossible, but it makes the whole theory look very ugly. We should not settle for theories with a probability of less than 0.01%.     

Observations Supporting the Big Bang Theory

After reading about all these problems with the Big Bang theory one may wonder, why they came up with this theory in the first place.
Indeed there is currently no better theory about the origin of the universe and the steady state theory has its own unexplained problems, which are even more serious than those of the Big Bang.

The key observation, which led to the development of the Big Bang theory, was the red-shift of the galaxies. The light reaching earth from galaxies far away is shifted towards longer wavelength (towards the red end of the optical spectrum). This red-shift is stronger in galaxies farther away and seems to be directly correlated to the distance of the object.
This red-shift was explained with the Doppler Effect. It is known that the wavelength from a source of a wave moving away from an observer is stretched longer than the wavelength from a wave with a source, which doesn’t move. We can hear this effect when a ambulance car is driving past us. First the siren sounds pitched. Then when it passes the closest point and moves away the sound seems to have a lower frequency.
The same would happen with light emitted from a moving object. Since the light of all galaxies has a longer wavelength then expected, they seem to move away from us. The only logical explanation was that earth would either be the center of the universe, from which everything moves away, which is rather unlikely, or that the universe itself expands creating more empty space between the galaxies.
If we extrapolate this situation, there must have been a point of time when all matter of the universe was concentrated at one single point and then started to move away from each other.
This is historically the beginning of the Big Bang theory.

But what if the red-shift is not caused by the Doppler effect? Are there other explanations possible for the red-shift?
Indeed there are.
And indeed the Doppler effect is a pretty bad explanation for the red-shift, since it contradicts astronomic observations. We know for sure that galaxies don’t necessarily move away from each other. We can actually observe a huge number of collisions of two galaxies throughout the universe. Even our own galaxy is not moving away from its closest neighbor the Andromeda galaxy. They are approaching each other and will eventually collide and merge. So, if we can actually see galaxies approaching each other and organizing in huge clusters and super-clusters, then this means the gravity between them is stronger than any other force, which is supposed to pull them away from each other. Our own galaxy and the local group are part of the Virgo super cluster. So why should they move away from each other, if they are obviously organizing themselves into super structures due to their gravity?
No, the Doppler effect doesn’t convince as an explanation for the red-shift of the galaxies.
What other explanations are possible then?
A red-shift means that the light reaching us from other galaxies has obviously lost energy, since the wavelength is reciprocally proportional to the energy of light. This means red light has less energy than violet light for example. But there are many explanations possible for this loss of energy. It actually seems quite logical that light would lose some energy on its long way to us. Although space seems to be empty, it is not an absolute vacuum. There is still some intergalactic matter between the galaxies in very low concentration, but nevertheless there is. And any interaction between the light and the matter between the galaxies would naturally result in a loss of energy, which would be given to the matter particles between the galaxies. What we would see in such a case is exactly the same red-shift that we can see today, and which was may be wrongly attributed to the Doppler effect.
The possibility that photons may not be that stable as we think, may also be considered. What if photons slowly decay in other photons with lower energy or other low-energy particles?
This loss of energy, no mater what its cause may be, would continue until the photon has reached an energy as low as the average energy of the universe, resulting in a diffuse background radiation. And this is exactly what we see. However the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation was interpreted differently in order to support the Big Bang theory.

Cosmic Background Radiation
Since the Cosmic Background Radiation was discovered in 1964, it has been considered the ultimate proof for the Big Bang theory, which had predicted it. It is a homogenous glow coming from every direction with a wavelength in the microwave spectrum equivalent of a thermal black body spectrum at a temperature of approximately 3 K. It is considered to be the remnant of the Big Bang, which has now cooled down to a temperature of 3 K.
Nevertheless the assumption that light emitted from galaxies far away loses energy on its way to us results in exactly the same prediction, so it is no proof for any of these theories.
In an infinite universe without beginning or end there has necessarily to be a homogenous background radiation coming from the infinite number of stars out there in any possible direction.

Why the Big Bang Theory?
Even the supporters of the Big Bang theory admit that there are still unsolved problems with their theory. But nevertheless nobody has come up with a better theory so far. The main problem of the steady-state model of the universe is the question why the entropy of the universe hasn’t reached its maximum meanwhile. In the same way the Big Bang theory can be asked why the universe has such little entropy in its beginning. But either way, there is in fact no conclusive model that could explain the origin and fate of the universe.
But why don’t we just say, we don’t know it? Why do we continue to work with a theory, which contradicts our observation?
It looks like the Big Bang theory cannot be falsified, which is part of the definition of the scientific method since Karl Popper. Whatever observation we make that contradicts this theory, some obscure new phenomenon is introduced to keep the theory alive, may it be Dark Matter, the Cosmic Inflation or violations of the CP symmetry. Scientists will cling to the Big Bang theory no matter what new observations they make.
This has little to do with science.
Why would scientists behave in such a irrational way?
There are several circumstances when we can’t trust scientists anymore. This is when politics, money, religion or social issues come in. In the case of the Big Bang theory it has nothing to do with politics, society or money. The issue is politically and socially irrelevant and can’t be turned into financial benefit.
But it has to do something with religion. And this is when the whole issue gets suspicious.

The biblical god creating the Big Bang

The Big Bang and God
Throughout human history the omnipotent gods have always been somehow hidden on remote places. This was necessary in order to make unproven claims about them and to empower a class of clerics. So gods have frst been placed on some high and remote mountains (Olympus, Mount Sinai). But some curious humans had soon verified that there were no gods.
Then they were moved to the sky above the clouds. And humans built planes and couldn’t find them there either.
Finally the god (meanwhile there was only one of them left.) was moved beyond the sky into outer space. But spaceships and telescopes couldn’t find him there either.
Next the god was placed into a hidden realm within nature where his spirit was supposed to be the driving force behind all life on earth. But the theory of the vis vitalis (life-force) crumbled and biochemistry was able to explain life without any divine interference.
Then, when there was finally no place left for the god to go, he was placed outside the universe as its creator as the cause of the primary cause of everything.
But therefore it was necessary that the universe had a primary cause, a beginning. And this is when the Big Bang theory was happily received by all those who wanted to belief in god. At last the god was safe from human curiosity in a place beyond scientific investigation. Through the Big Bang the god was able to do whatever he wanted. He could determine the primary condition of the universe, and everything what happened later would depend on it.
Therefore it shouldn’t be a surprise that the scientist who once came up with the theory of the Big Bang, Georges Lemaître, was also a Catholic priest.

Prelate Father Georges Lemaitre
Inventor of the Big Bang theory

So it should now be quite obvious why such a flawed theory as the Big Bang resisted any doubts and contrary observations. It will never be disproved, because those who support it are not willing to give it up. It is their last attempt to keep the idea of an omnipotent creator-god alive. Without the Big Bang there is no way how this god could fit in.
This would not make a difference for the majority of people with little or no scientific education who usually react with denial to inconvenient scientific facts, but it is a problem for the huge number of intelligent and educated scientists who also happen to believe in a god due to their indoctrination in early childhood. They depend on a rational explanation of the god and could not live without it.

Science is done by humans. So it suffers from their human weaknesses. This is why we should not have much trust in scientific results where human emotions are involved.

A final word: This article doesn't mean to state that the Big Bang theory is wrong. It only states that there is insufficient proof for this theory and that the theory is unable to explain even the most basic questions related to the nature of the universe. There is currently no better theory that I would have to offer. But this doesn't mean that we have to live with a model that contributes nothing useful to our understanding of the world. We should simply admit that currently we have no working model for the origin (if there is one) and the final destiny of the universe.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dark Matter

Supposed distribution of dark matter in the galactic halo

Our series about ill-guided science would not be complete without discussing a very "dark" chapter of modern science - the topic of so called "Dark Matter".
After scientists found out that the measured density of matter in the universe could not explain its flatness and that there needed to be about ten times more matter than could actually be observed; that the observable matter could not explain intergalactic super-structures; and that galaxies rotated with such a high velocity that its matter would not be able to hold them together; it was obvious that there was something wrong with the existing models of the universe. But everybody had become so accustomed to the well-known models of gravity, the Big Bang and black holes, that nobody was willing to throw them over board so easily. Something needed to be done to save these beloved theories and reality could not be allowed to get into the way of such nice models.

So scientist introduced some mysterious variable into the equations. The "dark matter" was born. They could also have resorted to some supernatural power like a god who would keep things together and do what the missing matter in the universe was not able to do, but the term "dark matter" simply sounds more "scientific". People had already become used to things like "black holes", so "dark matter" fitted quite well into the faith of theoretical physics.
In fact "dark matter" has a lot of things in common with a god: First of all it is invisible. This is an important advantage, because it makes it difficult to disprove it. Second, since it is undetectable, you can give it any attribute you need to support your model of the world. So theoretical physicists were exactly able to calculate the amount of dark matter as 83% of the total matter in the universe, which was the amount they needed to save the existing models. Since there was no way to detect dark matter, there was also no need to measure this number, which is always quite convenient. Since nobody could see or understand this mysterious dark matter, the priesthood of theoretical physics had the sole authority to interpret and describe this esoteric substance.

Unfortunately some heretical astrophysicists have recently spoiled the fun for the theoretical physicists ( They measured the dynamical surface mass density in the galactic neighborhood of the sun and found no indication for the presence of dark matter as common theories would suggest. This will probably not be the final death blow of "dark matter" and theoretical physicists will most likely come up with some adjustments to their theory, but it shows that a lot of those models of theoretical physics are just invented out of thin air and always circumvent any experimental proof.

If a measurement deviates a whole magnitude from the predictions of a theory, like the measured density of matter does, the normal reaction should be discarding the theory as useless. Why are theoretical physicists not reacting this way? If the observable matter in the universe is not able to explain the observable effect of gravity, then probably our theory of gravity is wrong. The scientifically correct attitude would have been to declare Newton's law of universal gravitation as wrong. 

F = G \frac{m_1 m_2}{r^2}\
Possibly wrong.
May be it is only an approximation for planetary distances but incorrect for interstellar or intergalactic scales.
We have no explanation for the surprising discovery that the universe expands at an accelerating rate, although gravity is supposed to slow it down. Perhaps gravity has a reversed effect over intergalactic distances. But this cannot explain, how galaxies are held together by such little matter. It seems that the effect of gravitation is higher than it actually should on a galactic scale. There are so many unanswered questions regarding gravity, that we should simply admit that we don't have a working model of gravity at the moment. 
Instead we invent theories of speculative objects like black holes and other singularities with arbitrarily extrapolated values of our flawed law of universal gravitation. May be there is an upper limit for the density of matter, perhaps in the magnitude of atomic nuclei, which is by coincidence also the density of a neutron star, an astronomic object that can actually be observed, different from black holes, which are just based on speculations. We even have theories about so called "Hawking radiation" that causes black holes to slowly evaporate and other descriptions of odd phenomena of singularities like wormholes, white holes etc. We have faster than light inflation of the universe in order to save the otherwise failed theory of a Big Bang, we have a string theory with up to 26 dimensions, of which only four are apparently observable.

When is it finally enough with such weird speculations? What does this have to do with science, which should primarily be occupied with explaining actual observations?
This has nothing to do with what science is supposed to be. This is at best some philosophical exercise. We need to bring back rationalism into scientific research. And we need to limit science to what we can actually observe. We should get our feet back on the ground, think about what we really know and only make research about subjects where we have an actual chance to find answers instead of inventing more or less unfalsifiable speculations.
Let's be honest. We have no idea how the laws of physics work outside our solar system. We have no idea about the origin or the future of the universe. We cannot jump to conclusions based on theories. We have to observe the world and then come up with possible models of our observations. As long as we haven't seen a black hole or some dark matter, we don't even need to ask a question about it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Global Warming

The issue of global warming has passed from being a question of scientific interest to being a religious topic. It provokes strong emotions among believers and disbelievers and you better think twice before offending the religious feelings of one of the followers of this religion, since they can be very zealous defending their object of worship. The clerics of this new religion, the so called "climatologists" don't research to make new discoveries about this topic but to prove their opinion that they already had.
The opinion about Global Warming doesn't depend much on the information that people have acquired about it, but rather on their overall political stance. As a democrat they will most likely believe that it exists and is man-made, as a Republican they will probably reject one of these two claims.
The scientists that work on this topic are furthermore only interested in possible economic and political impacts of the phenomenon and not that much of its biological relevancy. Global Warming is depicted as a disaster scenario for the global ecosystem in order to exaggerate its importance. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Some basic facts of ecology are simply ignored. The question if Global Warming may be positive or negative for the ecosystem is not even asked. It is taken for given that it is something negative emphasizing the rather exotic examples of some individual arctic species or micro-ecosystems.

But when judging the impact of Global Warming on the sustainability of life on earth, we have to look at the big picture and recall some basic principles of biology that are actually well-known but totally overlooked.

The Temperature Problem

The temperature range in which organic life can exist on a planet is basically defined by the temperature in which water can exist in a liquid state. Under the pressure of earth's sea level the lower limit is 0° C and the upper limit is 100° C.
This can vary insignificantly depending on solvents in the water (Salt water freezes at lower temperatures.) but not by a large margin.
It was formerly thought that the upper limit was determined by the temperature above which proteins would be unable to maintain their folding structure, which was assumed to be around 60° C, but this was disproved by the discovery of thermophilic bacteria that can survive over 100° C. So the theoretical limits for the sustainability of life seem to be determined only by the freezing and boiling point of water.
Now earth"s average surface temperature is estimated to be about 15° C, which is apparently much closer to the lower limit than to the uper one. There is no place on earth were the upper temperature limit is reached, but the polar regions are far below the lower limit and can't sustain organic life. There are still some carnivores living in those regions but their food source is produced in warmer climates. Plants cannot maintain a higher body temperature than their environment and they are at the base of the food chain.
This means the temparature of earth is not optimal for organic life. Earth is on the lower limit with large areas being below it. Further cooling would be a serious threat for life on earth, warming can only improve the situation, because it would make new areas habitable, which currently aren't. But there is no place on earth where a temperature increase of 20° or even 30° would bring it over the upper limit for sustainability of life, not even on the equator.
If polar and sub-polar regions become warmer, life forms from moderate regions would simply migrate there. The vegetation zones of earth would shift, but life forms adapted to colder environment would not just die off and leave a deserted wasteland. The opposite is true. The bio-mass of earth would actually increase.
So there is no temperature problem.

The CO2 Problem

Rising CO2 concentrations are described as a problem. However for many plants on earth CO2 is actually the limiting factor of growth. For this reasons many greenhouses artificially supply CO2 to increase the growth of their plants. While the normal CO2 concentration in the environment is 392 ppm, increasing the CO2 concentration up to 1,000 ppm results in photosynthesis rates, which are 50% higher. This is a well-known practice in commercial greenhouses to increase the production of crops. 
The CO2 concentration also was far higher in earth's geological past than today. During the Jurassic period  the CO2 concentration was about 2,000 ppm, 5 times higher than today. During the Cambrian period it even reached 7,000 ppm (almost 20 times higher than today) Whatever fossil fuel we might burn today, it once was already in the atmosphere, because this is how coal, oil and natural gas formed in the first place. They are fossilized bio-mass made from carbon in earth's atmosphere. Man has no means to produce carbon artifically and introduce it into the natural cycle of the ecosphere. Man can only use carbon that has already been either in the atmosphere or in the oceans at some time in the past. A man-made catastrophic accummulation of CO2 in earth's atmosphere is therefore technically impossible. We can only restore the COconcentration to a level that it once was. And an increase of CO2 would even be beneficial for earth's vegetation, since all carbon that is currently stored in fossil fuels had been taken out of earth's carbon cycle. By burning fossil fuels we only put the carbon back where it belongs.
The other question is to which extent COis the cause or the effect of Global Warming. We know that most of earth's COis in the ocean and that any warming causes water to release some of the COit contains. You can see it by comparing the CO2 released by a warm and by a cold bottle of Coca Cola. So the question is, whether an incrase of COin the atmosphere is the result of industrial emissions or the result of the warming of the oceans rather than its cause. 
Either way COis no problem to worry about.

Rising Sea Levels

Global Warming will indeed cause sea levels to rise, which is particular problematic because of the population density along the coast lines. But there is a simple solution to it, which is migrating further inland into less densly populated areas. It will of course reduce the available land surface of earth and aggravate the problem of overpopulation, but the problem of overpopulation is first of all due to high birth rates and a low mortality. So a loss of land surface would only contribute insignificantly to this problem. If we seriously want to deal with the problem of overpopulation, we would have a far stronger effect decreasing the natality and increasing the mortality than preventing an insignificant loss of learth's and surface. 
There are however economic and political difficulties involved, since several countries are at risk of disappearing completely like the Fiji islands or Bangladesh. But this is not a scientific issues. Nevertheless it is one of the reasons why politics and money get ivolved in the issue of Global Warming. It would require a new distribution of available land resources among the existing nations. And another reason is that COemissions are closely related to the issue of energy resources. This makes it highly relevant for politics and economy.
For the global ecosystem itself it is irrelevant, if the ratio between water and land surface shifts a few percent, especially when at the same time vast land surfaces in formerly too cold latitudes get suddenly inhabitable.
For the global ecosystem rising sea levels are therefore no problem, but for the human economy and political entities they are.

As we can see, Global Warming is not so much a biological problem but a political and economic one. And these are the factors that provide the funding of scientific research. And at the same time these same powers have a vital interest in a particular result of this research. So every scientist working in this area will always be biased depending on those who sponsor his work.
It is also closely related to the general political stance of these sponsors as well as the scientists. Global Warming has become part of one's ideology. As such it must not be questioned and defended against all critics and doubts. The question of Global Warming is no scientific question anymore, it touches all you believe in. It is a question of faith.

Therefore we don't need to expect any useful data about this topic to be published. Just as religious writings don't contribute anything useful to questions about the nature and origin of the world, papers about Global Warming won't contribute anything useful to the question how the global climate will develop in the future.
But it is comforting to know that this question is no threat to the ecosystem anyway. It can only be beneficial.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Post-PC Era

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, the leading manufacturer of so called »tablet computers« has recently announced the beginning of the Post-PC Era. What he rerers to is the increasing market share of mobile devices like smart phones and tablets in the general usage of computers. PC sales are relatively declining including laptops. This analysis is apparently confirmed by the new operating system Windows NT 6.2 (better known as Windows 8) from Microsoft, the leading software company for PCs. Microsoft and its founder Bill Gates had created the PC world. Without MS-DOS and Windows, the way we think about computers would not be the same. But the way how the next generation of the Windows operatig system targets primarily mobile devices like tablets instead of conventional PCs leaves a clear message: The PC is dying.

Even Microsoft surrenders to the tablet market.

What are the consequences of this development? 
The rise of the PC had turned every user into a little computer engineer. PCs were flexible and could do almost every job. They were highly customized and configured by their users for their particular purpose. And normal users acquired remarkable skills and understandings how computers work.
The rise of tablet computers changes this situation. The users are turned from little engineers into dull consumers. The users don't create anything anymore, they consume what others have created for them and communicate in a very rudimentary way. The language of SMS and emails has severely crippled human language.
As a consequence we will have two types of computer users in the future: The masses who have no or little understanding of these devices and  use them primarily for online dating purposes instead of real communication as well as consumption of multimedia products and advertisements. And on the other hand there will be a small elite of professional computer specialists who use real computers for very restricted work purposes. But these computers will have little in common with the accessibility and easiness of today's PCs. With Windows saying "good bye"to the PC market, Linux will probably take over as the predominant operating system on these devices.

We have already seen that there are little technological advances regarding processor capacity in recent years. Computers are generally getting more mobile but less powerful. May be some physical limits of conventional semi-conductor based processor technology is responsible for this shift in the direction of computer development. So maybe there is a tangible reason for it and not just a change in marketing strategy. 

It seems that the Golden Era of the PCs is indeed over. It had lasted hardly for 3 decades and had turned us all into engineers and scholars. Now we are becoming consumers again as we were before.
In some way Microsoft has turned us into geniuses, and Apple turned us into dummies again.

But is there any positive effect of this new trend at all?
Maybe yes. It will certainly solidify the job market for computer specialists. During the last decades there was not much special about these specialists. Programmers, network specialists and computer technicians had lost their magical aura, because everybody understood what they were doing and could do more or less the same with a little bit of training. But this situation will soon be over. They will soon get their status as the high-priests of the sacred and mysterious world of computer technology back, while the rest of us will be busy organizing their social life over the Internet, since smart phones and iPads have turned us all into Aspergers that lack the ability to do this in the physical world without digital help.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Future of Humanity

There are lots of speculations about the future development of humanity: the economical rise of China, global warming and other ecological disasters, technocratic utopias or a new dark age etc.
Most of these scenarios are very narrow-minded because they extrapolate a single variable and neglect others. Making predictions for the future is so difficult because of the enormous number of variables that are to consider. Therefore predictions, which reach several millennia into the future, are impossible given the current speed, in which the human species is developing.

The Technological Singularity

But we don't need to go so far, because in a rather near future there will be an event that will cause a radical change, which makes most other variables irrelevant. This event has been called the 'Technological Singularity'. It is the arrival of a super-human intelligence on this planet. It is when the first computer is build, which exceeds human capabilities. We know that it is technically possible, because we are already very close to achieve this goal. The fastest supercomputers today have probably already the hardware capabilities of the human brain, when it comes to processor speed (Fujitsu K computer in Japan 1016 floating point operations per second, expected fully operational in Nov. 2012. The human brain is estimated to have 1014 - 1015 floating point operations per second). So it has come down to a software problem.

We know it is possible, and we know that it will happen. The only thing we don't know is, when it will happen. But realistic scenarios point approx. 30 - 40 years into the future. 
This is relatively soon and possibly within the lifetime of most of us.
When the singularity happens, nothing will be as it was. It will be a radical change for humanity and it will be a major step in evolution, a jump from organic, carbon-based biochemistry to inorganic technology.

In today's society humans spend about 20% - 30% in preparation for their purpose in society (education, school, university), then they spend the next 50% with productive work for the society and then they enter in non-productive retirement. Already today the only really productive work is done by the brain, not by physical strength, because machines have become the muscles of our society. Machines are physically stronger and far more productive. To use a human for work that can be done better and faster by machines is a disadvantage and mostly occurs in developing countries, which are not able to compete with the leading economies. Humans are only needed to control the machines because machines lack intelligence. Productive work has more and more become brain work.
But from the moment on that a computer has become more intelligent than any human being, there is no need for humans in the economy anymore. Humans will not be able to compete in productivity with computers and machines. Therefore humans can't enter a productive work in the economy anymore. They would only stand in the way of superior machines.  Not even decision makers in the higher management ranks will be needed, because a computer analysis will provide far more trustworthy data than a human decision maker can get out of his experience. We don't even need humans to design new machines, because the superior computers can design far better machines than any human could.
Humanity will be left without a job.

Impact on Society

It will have a major impact on human society, because the working class will disappear. There will be no employees, no managers, no executives in the administrations. It will continue a trend that has already started. The economy needs less people because it gets more and more automatized. However we will be left with a shareholder class that actually owns the machines and computers and makes them work for their personal benefit. It will be a very small elite of the society. This is a development that we can already see in today's society. A small part of society does no productive work but just moves money around and forms the ruling class of our modern society.
The vast majority of the future high.-tech society will be either depend on welfare or be left on their own, depending on the economical system (more or less socialist).
But there will still be a few people who actually work, because there are jobs where machines and computers can't replace humans, since these jobs don't require efficiency. These will be people who are somehow in the entertainment industry, like artists, prostitutes and athletes.
Art is an irrational métier that does not require any useful results. So we will still have musicians, writers, actors, painters etc. And they will still earn money with their work.
Although robots might eventually be able to replace sex-workers, for many people it will always make a huge difference if their partner is human or not. Therefore the market for sex-workers will also continue.
Sports has to do with physical work, but this work doesn't fulfill any purpose. And although somebody with a vehicle can drive faster than a runner, there are still competitions for runners. And the rules of a certain sport exclude the use of machines, even if they were more efficient. Athletes get paid by the people who want to watch their competitions.
Therefore these professions will be the last ones that don't become obsolete.

The Future Industrialized Society

There won't be much in the future industrialized society that we can't already see yet. 
We have a smaller and smaller upper class that doesn't actually work but lives from financial transactions. This includes politicians and shareholders. All the machines and computers work for them.
We have artists and athletes who earn more and more money, and of course we have the so called 'oldest profession of the world', which will even survive the singularity.
The employee class will cease to exist. So job training and universities become useless. Considering the little time that is most likely left until the singularity, it is already not recommendable to any child born  today to learn any job. Because when his education is finished there will be little time left that he could do any productive work before it is taken over by computers and machines.
Then there will be a huge class of recipients of welfare. It is necessary to continue the welfare program as long as there are so many jobless people in order to maintain social peace. Social unrest is a phenomenon that we can already see growing. And it might get worse. An entertainment an leisure industry is needed to keep this majority occupied when there is no work to do anymore.

With nothing left to do, ...
... future entertainment connected to cyber worlds
The lack of purpose for humans in the future high-tech society will increase psychological problems, depressions and drastically reduce fertility. It will only be a matter of time, when humans in these society stop reproducing. But it does not matter, because there is no need more for them. The economy will continue without them and the only use up resources. What will be left is an empire of machines and robots that is so sophisticated and advanced that we have no chance to understand it with our intellect. It will be the heir of human civilization. It will inherit all our achievements, our thoughts and whatever humanity stands for.

The Future Non-Industrialized Society

It is obvious that not all of humanity will take part in the computerization of the world. There will be countries that are just left behind. We already know more or less, which countries will dominate the future world economy and are developing technology at an increasing pace. Most of them are in Asia, like China, Japan, South-Korea etc. But also Russia, South- and North-America and Europe have a  certain possibility to take part in the technological singularity. Other regions like the Middle East, Africa, South Asia (Pakistan, Malaysia etc.) will be left behind, especially the rural areas.
And there will be others who are in the industrialized world but will reject the increasing computerization and this new society. It is a neo-Luddite that we can already observe today: the anti-globalization movement, the 'occupy'-movement, religious fanatics. These people don't want this new society, either because they feel that they are already not competitive in it or they foresee subconsciously that this development will mean that humanity will be replaced by computers.
Somehow the religious radicalization of the Islamic world is an expression of this resistance against the way that humanity is going. Radical Islam has more and more become a protest movement, a rejection of the modern world and all its aspects and an attempt to turn back time. They have often sympathizers from anti-globalist, anti-capitalist movements. The war on terror is a first phenomenon of this conflict between the rising high-tech society and the neo-Luddites.
However the neo-Luddites have not the means to stop the singularity. The technology they are up against is too superior. They have often to use the modern technology that they actually reject in order to be able to strike against the society, but in doing so they become part of what the are fighting against. Ultimately they will fail. But they will be the last biological humans that will be left, when the last humans in the high-tech society get absorbed into the computer civilization.

However these last humans will not be on the top of the ladder of evolution anymore. They will share the fate with the other animals whose natural environment is more and more destroyed. The same way as our human society today treats animals whose intelligence is lower than that of humans, so will the machine society treat the last remnants of humanity that did not integrate themselves into it. Where the machines will spread and will need new resources, biological humans will have to disappear.

It can't be predicted, if humanity will be extincted after the technological singularity, but it will not be the top of evolution on this planet. It will not be the supreme intelligence. It will be just one animal species among others.

Humans back on animal level - the future of Homo sapiens?