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What truly exists?


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#1    keithisco

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 06:48 PM

This goes to the heart of many questions surrounding received scientific "truths"...

Quote

ARE you ever tempted to ask whether entities such as electrons, black holes or the Higgs particle really exist? As a chemist, I worry about what is real and dependable in my field. Is it the "entities" or the "theories" of chemistry and quantum mechanics that largely explain the periodic table? I also care because all of this goes to the heart of an old, important - and unresolved - debate about how to regard scientific discoveries.

Makes for an interesting debate between scientific realism and anti-realism.

Read More, courtesy New Scientist: http://www.newscient...ue#.UwZMamJ5PeI


#2    SkeptcByMindBelievrByHeart

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 07:13 PM

nothing exists we are all in cryogenic sleep, just our thoughts make the virtual world to go on

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#3    Mikko-kun

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 07:21 PM

Perhaps we're ripped between existence and a more abstract realm, experiencing flashes of both realms.

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#4    Leonardo

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 03:30 PM

We can measure (quantify) the energy required or released in a chemical reaction. We know the constitutent elements of that reaction, and so we can predict the structure of those elements.

It doesn't matter what you call that structure - whether you stick to the convention of "electrons, protons, etc" - or use the names of flavours of ice cream, that structure exists and, because it can be measured and quantified, is as the Standard Model describes.

What is real, is real. What exists, exists.

You can debate what we name it and you can debate whether our perception is being 'fooled', but neither case makes any difference to what is.

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"It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them."  - J. Robert Oppenheimer; Scientific Director; The Manhattan Project

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#5    StarMountainKid

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 07:15 PM

"What is real, is real. What exists, exists."  Well, as far as elementary particles and forces, we can only define the behavior of reality, not the essence of reality itself, the thing itself. Is something behaving, or is there just behavior? What is it that we are describing with our mathematics? Obviously, we are describing our reality as we experience it and what goes on without our experiencing it, but I have an intuition that this physical structure that we except as reality emerges from something else that cannot be inferred by the structure itself, and can not be described or defined. After all, we are part of the structure and our perception is limited to the structure we call reality.

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#6    Xynoplas

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 07:51 PM

If you were watching a play, then wander up on stage during an intermission, and discover that the scenery is made of painted canvas and 2x4's, and that the antagonists whom you witnessed at deadly conflict, are now backstage calmly chatting.
I guess it's like that.

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#7    toast

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 08:28 PM

I`ll keep it as Stephen Hawking has said:

There is no picture- or theory-independent concept of reality. Instead we adopt a view that we call model-dependent realism: the idea that a physical theory or world picture is a model (generally of a mathematical nature) and a set of rules that connect the elements of the model to observations. This provides a framework with which to interpret modern science.

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#8    Leonardo

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 09:15 PM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 24 February 2014 - 07:15 PM, said:

"What is real, is real. What exists, exists."  Well, as far as elementary particles and forces, we can only define the behavior of reality, not the essence of reality itself, the thing itself. Is something behaving, or is there just behavior? What is it that we are describing with our mathematics? Obviously, we are describing our reality as we experience it and what goes on without our experiencing it, but I have an intuition that this physical structure that we except as reality emerges from something else that cannot be inferred by the structure itself, and can not be described or defined. After all, we are part of the structure and our perception is limited to the structure we call reality.

The universe we exist in is as we perceive it to be. It doesn't matter if you decide that universe is 'real' or 'illusion' - because you (we) cannot perceive the 'illusion'. Therefore, in every way that is meaningful to us, this 'illusion' (or 'deeper reality') does not exist, only what we can perceive to be the universe exists.

Chasing this 'illusion' is nothing more than philosophical posturing.

Edited by Leonardo, 24 February 2014 - 09:16 PM.

In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. - Charlie Brown

"It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them."  - J. Robert Oppenheimer; Scientific Director; The Manhattan Project

"talking bull**** is not a victimless crime" - Marina Hyde, author.

#9    pallidin

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:18 PM

"The secret things belong to God", or, "our Lord"

Deuteronomy 29:29

Just thought I would through this in for the heck of it...

Edited by pallidin, 24 February 2014 - 10:27 PM.


#10    StarMountainKid

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 04:50 PM

Leonardo said:

The universe we exist in is as we perceive it to be. It doesn't matter if you decide that universe is 'real' or 'illusion' - because you (we) cannot perceive the 'illusion'. Therefore, in every way that is meaningful to us, this 'illusion' (or 'deeper reality') does not exist, only what we can perceive to be the universe exists.

Chasing this 'illusion' is nothing more than philosophical posturing.

I agree with you,and yes, I'm philosophically posturing so I'm not talking about our reality, the only reality that we know, i'm posturing in a silly way trying to make myslef look foolish. :)  Sort of joking, but I don't think it's foolhardy to speculate, even to speculate on something we cannot know. Well, I don't want to exclude the possibility that we may some day tear the fabric of spacetime apart and look between the curtains and see what's happening backstage. It would surprise us and not be what we had expected with all our philosophical posturing, of course. But still, we have to have our fun, and fun is nice as long as we realize it's only fun, we're only playing. I'm opnly playing here, and I know I'm just playing.

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#11    Leonardo

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 04:58 PM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 27 February 2014 - 04:50 PM, said:

I agree with you,and yes, I'm philosophically posturing so I'm not talking about our reality, the only reality that we know, i'm posturing in a silly way trying to make myslef look foolish. :)  Sort of joking, but I don't think it's foolhardy to speculate, even to speculate on something we cannot know. Well, I don't want to exclude the possibility that we may some day tear the fabric of spacetime apart and look between the curtains and see what's happening backstage. It would surprise us and not be what we had expected with all our philosophical posturing, of course. But still, we have to have our fun, and fun is nice as long as we realize it's only fun, we're only playing. I'm opnly playing here, and I know I'm just playing.

Sorry, SMK, I didn't mean to rag on you and there is nothing wrong with us having a discussion about reality - what it is, etc.

I get a bit miffed with articles like the one in the OP, where it is promoted that science demonstrates "reality isn't real", or some such thing - because not only is that not true, is perpetuates ignorance among the lay-community regarding science - what it is and what it tells us. So, sometimes I get a bit sharp in my replies.

In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. - Charlie Brown

"It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them."  - J. Robert Oppenheimer; Scientific Director; The Manhattan Project

"talking bull**** is not a victimless crime" - Marina Hyde, author.

#12    lightly

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:19 PM

Oranges exist..  we perceive them as orange orbs with a pleasant smell.  A bacterium living on the skin of an orange experiences it entirely differently . On an atomic level , and below, an orange is more complex than the orb we perceive.

I'd say only forms of energy truly exist ,  and then only in a constant state of change,  perceived and measured all sorts of ways.

http://www.newscient...ml#.Uw-M96nO95g

It's confirmed: Matter is merely vacuum fluctuations

Matter is built on flaky foundations. Physicists have now confirmed that the apparently substantial stuff is actually no more than fluctuations in the quantum vacuum.


  *

Edited by lightly, 27 February 2014 - 07:20 PM.

Important:  The above may contain errors, inaccuracies, omissions, and other limitations.

#13    StarMountainKid

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 05:11 PM

It's ok, Leonardo, no problem. I'm sort of off subject, anyway.  I'm just speculating that our definition of reality emerges from something else that cannot be described by that definition...or maybe not.  Can we separate the rules of the game from the game itself? The rules are the game, the players are the rules.

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