Because science can explain that an event happened in space/time down to the most infinitesimal starting point, it assumes it has explained why this occurrence took place. In Punk Science, Dr. Samanta-Laughton attempts to address a host of "Big Questions," which up till now, have been mere paradoxes. In particular she posits that scientists use the act of observation in their studies but do not address how humans are able to observe at all.
At CERN in France, the 17 -mile in circumference hadron collider, has been completed. It will attempt to uncover what types of energy/particles were responsible for the Big Bang and its immediate expansion into our known universe. However, if this underground machine produces even more infinitely small particles with no mass, the question will still linger: why did the Big Bang happen at all and how is it possible that humans are capable of observing the collider’s results?
In Punk Science, Doctor Samanta-Laughton provides an extremely persuasive argument for why things are the way they are: the universe, the world, living creatures, human beings, human thought, and the great mystery of the One—God.
Early in Punk Science, Manjir explains why consciousness lies outside the human brain. In our ordinary everyday experience, we observe reality—chairs, cars, people, stars—as stable real objects in space, so much so, that we can measure them in four separate dimensions: length, width, height, and permanence through time. Liquids and gases we measure by volume and/or weight, but we know they are real.
However, under a microscope, every one of these so called real objects is made of molecules which in turn are composed of tiny atoms. The atoms are built from smaller subatomic “thingies” which scientists have broken into even smaller particles. The CERN monster mentioned above is supposed to find the ultimate, infinitely small particles.
But here’s the rub. These small particles are not particles at all. Left alone, they are merely strings of probable energy with enormous spaces existing between them. When measured, they only appear as particles without mass.
This is to say that when our brains make a conscious effort to locate them, the particles appear to exist because we stop their energetic movement. Unstopped, they are non-existent. In this sense, it is our act of consciousness that brings possible matter into existence. Thomistic/Scholastic philosophers during Medieval times may have been correct with their directive that things exist either in potentia or in actu (as possible beings or as real things).
Furthermore, the human brain is made of matter. The logical conclusion of this entire argument is this: our consciousness gives human brains, chairs, cars, people, stars, liquids and gases their reality. Thus, consciousness must be an inherent quality of everything that exists. It does not reside in the brain. According to Punk Science, “consciousness is the soul of the universe.”
Farther on in her book, Manjir discusses the process which brought about life within the universe in the first place. Once again, reductionist biology claims that when conditions were ripe, given enough time and with the proper positive mutation, the very first cell(s) evolved in a primordial soup.
This she does not dispute, but she fervently adds that the molecules of the very first cell and those that followed, surely grouped themselves into plants, animals, and humans, organized by a principle outside the cells themselves—a consciousness—an intelligent awareness which pervades the entire universe.
“It is consciousness itself that undergoes evolution and this is reflected in the increasing complexity of species.”
Finally, Punk Science explains that current theory is rapidly changing about stars imploding throughout the universe. Traditionally, these disintegrating stars were thought to be destructive events where stellar debris was sucked inward forming a singularity—a black hole in space from which nothing could escape, not even light.
Manjir is one of the scientists ready to reverse black hole thinking. A black hole is not a destructive event but an infinite source of creative light which comes from the formless center of the black hole singularity. Ultimately, this transcendent light cannot be seen nor measured because it normally is beyond our conscious ability to measure it.
Yet Manjir would admit that legitimite mystics, psychics, prophets, and healers can often sense this light energy beyond the "Perception Horizon." It is the light of the spirit world traveling infinitely faster than normal light rays/particles (photons). Punk Science explains that it is within this realm that a theory-of-everything, which eluded Einstein, might finally be explained but certainly not understood.
For those readers fascinated by—or like this reviewer, obsessed with—thoughts about where the universe came from, where it is going, and how we arrived within it, Punk Science is the read for you. The book weaves together diverse scientific theories, faulting some and positing others. Best of all, it offers a new model for the universe that is both satisfying and inspirational.
At times, I found Manjir’s ideas and implications hard to follow, but that was probably due to my own ignorance of high level physics and my inability to leap the same logical gaps as she. The simple diagrams in the book certainly helped me in these cases.
Like the BHP (Black Hole Principle) Manjir refers to, Punk Science is a trip spiraling from the seemingly infinite cosmos, downward into the tiniest of particles/wave strings which exist only because we are conscious of them. It is a fun read that will rattle your perception of existence and provide you with thoughtful meditation for a long, long time.
Incidentally, it is this reviewer’s opinion that, in many ways, Dr. Samanta-Laughton might view the CERN supercollider as a waste of time and money that could be more humanely spent helping her and other medical doctors heal their patients.