An amusing and informative article. Many thanks, Glenn. One of the things I personally like about science is that we have to be comfortable with partial knowledge. Religions pretend to provide “the full story” but of course only in the sense that children’s tales provide full stories. Reality is far more interesting than any mythology because we continually learn more — and we learn what we don’t yet know. The surface area of our ignorance increases even as we increase the volume of our knowledge. This is actually very exciting, but many people seem to be unable or unwilling to remain in a condition of imperfect knowledge and fall back on simplistic stories in order to achieve a sense of completion. Fortunately, real knowledge continues to expand, albeit sometimes only after tremendous intellectual efforts.
As cosmology reaches deeper into reality, the conceptual space in which it operates becomes increasingly difficult for the non-specialist to grasp. Our ape-brains are hardwired for existence in the savannah of Africa and the primordial forests of Eurasia; they don’t cope well with notions like “before time began” or abstractions like vector fields. For anyone wanting to get a basic understanding of modern cosmology, Leonard Susskind’s Stanford Continuing Education lectures are available on YouTube and anyone with basic calculus and analytic geometry should be able to follow them easily.