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-   -   Is reality real? (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=339498)

Scorpion 9th October 2019 07:32 AM

Is reality real?
 
Reality,
Property of being real, real existence, what underlies appearances.
Realism,
1 Scholastic doctrine that universal or general ideas have objective existence.
2 Belief that matter as object of perception has real existence.
Oxford dictionary

Stuff; as we know is made of atoms, and atoms can be totally converted back into energy. Therefore everything is energy. Not the solid substances our senses perceive. Quantum theory cannot be explained physicists and mathematicians from Niels Bohr to Roger Penrose have admitted that it doesn't make sense.

"If quantum mechanics hasn't shocked you, you haven't understood it yet. Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real."
Niels Bohr

" we live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance."
John Archibald Wheeler

"Modern physics has confirmed most dramatically that all the concepts we use to describe nature are limited, that they are not features of reality, as we tend to believe, but creations of the mind."
Fritjof Capra

In the light of these great minds admitting they cannot define reality why should we not consider metaphysics as possible sources of truths not understood by science?

JoeMorgue 9th October 2019 07:34 AM

No. It's totally an illusion. Therefore you can stop making pointless word salad threads in it over and over.

Dave Rogers 9th October 2019 07:46 AM

Alternatively, yes, by definition.

Dave

JayUtah 9th October 2019 07:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12849925)
Stuff; as we know is made of atoms, and atoms can be totally converted back into energy. Therefore everything is energy.

No.

Quote:

...physicists and mathematicians from Niels Bohr to Roger Penrose have admitted that it doesn't make sense.
It doesn't make intuitive sense. Every student of physics will tell you this, and that's because quantum mechanics exists only as mathematical formalisms. Yet there's still an exam at the end of the term, where we test them on how much it has made mathematical sense to them.

Quote:

In the light of these great minds admitting they cannot define reality...
Equivocation. The study of physics is not the study of reality as you desire to use the word. You're only the umpteen thousandth person who has tried this pseudo-science parlour trick. Quantum mechanics is not your savior.

Quote:

why should we not consider metaphysics as possible sources of truths not understood by science?
Because when it comes down to proving individual concrete beliefs, it's just another god-of-the gaps argument. You cherry-pick a few vague statements from one narrow slice of science and pretend that it exemplifies the gaps in all of science such that you can wishfully wedge your desired beliefs into it. You don't understand science and you don't seem to understand philosophy either. What you perceive as failures of science does not suddenly allow metaphysics to supersede it with equal or greater evidentiary weight.

JoeMorgue 9th October 2019 07:50 AM

Is reality real:

Option 1. You exist to ask me that question. Reality is real.
Option 2. You don't exist, so you never asked that question, so I don't have consider it. Reality is real.
Option 3. You know damn well reality is real you're just trying to set up an escape clause for Woo. Reality is real.

JayUtah 9th October 2019 08:04 AM

This category of argument always equivocates on "real" and "reality" and relies upon dramatic statements made by physicists in a popular setting. The goal is always to stir up enough uncertainty about science's ability to know what it knows to then go on to claim it cannot therefore know enough to reject the claimant's specific farfetched belief, for which he is unable to provide any direct evidence. Quantum mechanics is a popular target because it is a non-intuitive model for representing the behavior of matter. That it is non-intuitive doesn't mean it fails to explain and predict observations. Nevertheless, because of its novelty there is no end of expressions from all quarters in the public record arising from people's encounters with it. The reason this occurs is that success in manipulating quantum mechanics lies in not attempting to force its predictions and processes into the intuitive model. This is hard for many students to do.

Dr.Sid 9th October 2019 08:27 AM

I don't see issue with reality and QT. Bohr might have been shocked, but QT was new to him at the time. For me, today, it's not.
I see issues with reality from philosophical sense though. There might be another level of reality, from which this one might seem like just an illusion.
Like living in a dream. In a dream, everything looks real. But it's not. We can only tell, when we wake up.
Scientific method cares about what's testable, which is fine, but it won't give you the answer .. will you ever wake up from this reality ?

Trebuchet 9th October 2019 08:33 AM

Reality is being discussed over at Cosmoquest, perhaps Scorpion should join in. Be sure to read the whole thread, of course.

bluesjnr 9th October 2019 08:47 AM

If you are local to Scotland we could meet up and I'll transfer the energy from the atoms that make up my foot to the atoms that make up your nuts?

After that brief experiment we can discuss how solid my foot felt. How, on a metapyhsical level, your testicles feel and the whole concept of the perception that we aren't solid. We could also cover what feelings you have simply created in your mind, other possible sources of truths and your, perhaps somewhat refined, opinion of those great minds?

sackett 9th October 2019 08:51 AM

Is Scorpion real?

Scorpion 9th October 2019 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluesjnr (Post 12850022)
If you are local to Scotland we could meet up and I'll transfer the energy from the atoms that make up my foot to the atoms that make up your nuts?

After that brief experiment we can discuss how solid my foot felt. How, on a metapyhsical level, your testicles feel and the whole concept of the perception that we aren't solid. We could also cover what feelings you have simply created in your mind, other possible sources of truths and your, perhaps somewhat refined, opinion of those great minds?

The illusion of pain is an electrical signal sent up the nerves to the brain. In theory one should be able to ignore the pain signals. However the illusion is difficult to overcome, as I know from once having a dental filling without anaesthetic. I did not try that again.

8enotto 9th October 2019 09:14 AM

I do not worry about the atomic levels of anything 99.9999% of daily life. I am too busy dealing with an accepted reality of daily life. Probably as are 99.99999% of everyone else out there.

Science is real also and has its place, I am sure I benefit from it a million times a day. But I do not contemplate the tiny details of much of anything.

If it all is one grand illusion it's one hell of a ride with up and down moments thrown at us without much warning. I rather enjoy it too.

pgwenthold 9th October 2019 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 8enotto (Post 12850073)
I do not worry about the atomic levels of anything 99.9999% of daily life. I am too busy dealing with an accepted reality of daily life. Probably as are 99.99999% of everyone else out there.

Science is real also and has its place, I am sure I benefit from it a million times a day. But I do not contemplate the tiny details of much of anything.

If it all is one grand illusion it's one hell of a ride with up and down moments thrown at us without much warning. I rather enjoy it too.

Yeah, who gives a ****** What difference does it make?

turingtest 9th October 2019 09:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12850047)
The illusion of pain is an electrical signal sent up the nerves to the brain. In theory one should be able to ignore the pain signals. However the illusion is difficult to overcome, as I know from once having a dental filling without anaesthetic. I did not try that again.

The electrical signal is real; the nerve pathway is real; the brain is real- what makes the pain an illusion? Just the fact that one could ignore it doesn't make it so- does the fact that we could (in theory) ignore you make you an illusion?

This whole "what is reality, maaaaaan?" schtick is so hackneyed; I remember thinking it was a really deep question when I was about ten years old.

JayUtah 9th October 2019 09:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by turingtest (Post 12850103)
This whole "what is reality, maaaaaan?" schtick is so hackneyed; I remember thinking it was a really deep question when I was about ten years old.

Indeed, it's just coffeehouse navel-gazing. It's neither good physics nor good philosophy, as commonly employed by the fringe. To be sure, some elements of theoretical physics raise some questions that metaphysicists find interesting. But quantum mechanics is not the "sweep the leg" panacea against science or operative concepts of reality that fringe claimants want it to be.

I see the question Scorpion is trying to raise as having a fairly easy answer. He has spiritualist beliefs. In a prior thread we nailed down what must be true about the alleged spirit world in order for it to have the effects Scorpion attributes to it. The metaphysical shoal upon which Scorpion's eventual argument will fetch up is that the existence and causality axioms metaphysics bestows upon modern physics are the same ones that operate in his stated beliefs. That metaphysics might hypothesize other relevant axioms does not dissolve this necessary equivalence.

Quantum mechanics is a red herring. Scorpion is trying to have his cake and eat it too, just as he did before. He wants spiritualism to have effects in the observable macro world, to explain his beliefs, but he wants those causes "somehow" to be otherwise completely and necessarily inscrutable to science. To support this desire, he mentions metaphysics (as he understands it) and gesticulates in a suitably equivocal fashion. We already answered this question in a different thread. Scorpion has just tried to raise it again in a different costume. The answer is the same.

Belz... 9th October 2019 10:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12849925)
Stuff; as we know is made of atoms, and atoms can be totally converted back into energy.

If your premise is wrong, what does it say about your conclusion?

angrysoba 9th October 2019 10:47 AM

The clue is in the question.

Scorpion 9th October 2019 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Belz... (Post 12850197)
If your premise is wrong, what does it say about your conclusion?

I seemed to recall a television program in which it was said Steven Hawking said he had a formula to prove all matter could be converted back into energy.
In fact the formula E= MC2 should easily transpose into such a formula. But I could be wrong.

bruto 9th October 2019 11:08 AM

It seems a pointless question. If there is any reality, reality is of course real, because that's its definition. A thing must be what it is, because it certainly isn't what it isn't. What is the alternative if nothing is real? We could of course be a story in the mind of god or something, in which case we can only live the story. I mean, as the poet says, what are we in the hands of the great God? But otherwise it's a silly paradox depending on the shortcomings of language. It's like asking if the universe is contained within another universe. Is there an everything bigger than everything. Is there a reality bigger than reality?

phiwum 9th October 2019 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JayUtah (Post 12849968)
This category of argument always equivocates on "real" and "reality" and relies upon dramatic statements made by physicists in a popular setting. The goal is always to stir up enough uncertainty about science's ability to know what it knows to then go on to claim it cannot therefore know enough to reject the claimant's specific farfetched belief, for which he is unable to provide any direct evidence. Quantum mechanics is a popular target because it is a non-intuitive model for representing the behavior of matter. That it is non-intuitive doesn't mean it fails to explain and predict observations. Nevertheless, because of its novelty there is no end of expressions from all quarters in the public record arising from people's encounters with it. The reason this occurs is that success in manipulating quantum mechanics lies in not attempting to force its predictions and processes into the intuitive model. This is hard for many students to do.

Excellent post.

Dr.Sid 9th October 2019 12:18 PM

Once you get over the fact particles simply don't behave like little balls, there is nothing weird about quantum mechanics.
And how does the fact that particles can be transformed into energy make them any less real ? Energy isn't real ?

Thor 2 9th October 2019 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr.Sid (Post 12850366)
Once you get over the fact particles simply don't behave like little balls, there is nothing weird about quantum mechanics.
And how does the fact that particles can be transformed into energy make them any less real ? Energy isn't real ?


Scorpion has such a vague understanding of energy, that it's a small step for him to see it as not real. We hear statements in other threads about energy coming from chakras without any quantities given. Has an unreal ring to it.

bruto 9th October 2019 02:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thor 2 (Post 12850526)
Scorpion has such a vague understanding of energy, that it's a small step for him to see it as not real. We hear statements in other threads about energy coming from chakras without any quantities given. Has an unreal ring to it.

I think it's also a vague or perverse understanding of what things mean. Either that or a poor way of expressing things. Even if what we consider real is not real, the question has no meaning unless there is some reality that is real. If you can say that reality is not real, you are saying that nothing exists including gods. If there is something you consider that has some being (a god for instance) and it has no reality, then you've simply redefined reality to exclude what is real.

Dr.Sid 9th October 2019 02:40 PM

What is "real" ? How do you define "real" ? God I hate Matrix, but this part is good.

Craig4 9th October 2019 04:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12850047)
The illusion of pain is an electrical signal sent up the nerves to the brain. In theory one should be able to ignore the pain signals. However the illusion is difficult to overcome, as I know from once having a dental filling without anaesthetic. I did not try that again.

That's because the pain was physiological in nature and not an illusion. Ignoring an illusion isn't a great strategy when what you are ignoring is real.

caveman1917 9th October 2019 04:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JayUtah (Post 12849946)
No.

Huh, I would've gone with yes on that one, matter is but one form of energy. And even if you want to consider matter distinct from energy, then it's still the case that almost all of the mass of an atom is in the binding energy of the quarks, and not in the mass of the quarks themselves.

caveman1917 9th October 2019 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Belz... (Post 12850197)
If your premise is wrong, what does it say about your conclusion?

Nothing. The moon is made of cheese therefor the Earth is not flat. Premise is wrong yet conclusion is true.

Apathia 9th October 2019 05:19 PM

According to the Lankavatara Sutra, all discussion about the reality of reality is discussion of the unreality of reality. All discussion of the unreality of reality is discussion of the reality of reality.


The Bodhidarma held up his cane, "Quickly, tell me about the reality of this stick! If you say it's real, I'll strike you with it! If you say it's unreal, I'll strike you with it!"

The student answered, "Master, please bring your cane down and lean on it before you fall."

Bodhidarma nodded "yes."

dudalb 9th October 2019 05:33 PM

On the otherhand I like the guy who, when talking about the "reality does not exist" theory said

'You think five minutes of a really bad toothache would convince anybody that reality exist".

arthwollipot 9th October 2019 05:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12849925)
Stuff; as we know is made of atoms, and atoms can be totally converted back into energy. Therefore everything is energy.

I'mma gonna stop you there. Matter can be converted into energy. Matter is not energy. If it were, it would not need to be converted.

My car converts gasoline into motion. Does that mean that gasoline is motion? Of course not. It's gasoline.

Loss Leader 9th October 2019 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12849925)
In the light of these great minds admitting they cannot define reality why should we not consider metaphysics as possible sources of truths not understood by science?


I'll consider anything that's testable, falsifiable and repeatable. Absent that, I have no reason to act as though it's true.

Is there a specific metaphysical hypothesis that you think: a) better explains reality than current theories; and b) can be tested?

I Am The Scum 9th October 2019 06:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12850240)
I seemed to recall a television program in which it was said Steven Hawking said he had a formula to prove all matter could be converted back into energy.
In fact the formula E= MC2 should easily transpose into such a formula. But I could be wrong.

If X can become Y, it does not mean that X and Y are identical.

Ice can become liquid. Ice is most certainly not a liquid. They're two different things.

EDIT: arthwollipot's example is also good.

Matthew Ellard 9th October 2019 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12850047)
The illusion of pain is an electrical signal sent up the nerves to the brain.

Nope. It is an evolved mechanism that allows animal brains to comprehend a problem.

It is similar to seeing the colour red. There is no actual thing as "red" however evolution has evolved a mechanism whereas electromagnetic waves at a particular frequency are seen as "red" in their brains. The electromagnetic waves are still very real.

Ever wonder why sodium chloride tastes salty?

Robin 9th October 2019 08:26 PM

August De Morgan said it all nearly 200 years ago:

Quote:

“Our most convincing communicable proof of the existence of other things is, not the appearance of objects, but the necessity of admitting that there are other minds besides our own. ... When once we have admitted different and independent minds, the reality of external objects (external to all those minds) follows as of course. ... There must be a somewhat independent of those minds, which thus acts upon them all at once, and without any choice of their own. this somewhat is what we call an external object: and whether it arise in Berkeley's mode, or in any other, matters nothing to us here.”

Robin 9th October 2019 08:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12850047)
The illusion of pain is an electrical signal sent up the nerves to the brain. In theory one should be able to ignore the pain signals. However the illusion is difficult to overcome, as I know from once having a dental filling without anaesthetic. I did not try that again.

Illusion of pain? Good to know that when we think we are experiencing pain that we are not really experiencing pain.

arthwollipot 9th October 2019 08:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robin
August De Morgan said it all nearly 200 years ago:

Quote:

“Our most convincing communicable proof of the existence of other things is, not the appearance of objects, but the necessity of admitting that there are other minds besides our own. ... When once we have admitted different and independent minds, the reality of external objects (external to all those minds) follows as of course. ... There must be a somewhat independent of those minds, which thus acts upon them all at once, and without any choice of their own. this somewhat is what we call an external object: and whether it arise in Berkeley's mode, or in any other, matters nothing to us here.”

Reality is real because otherwise, solipsism.

bruto 9th October 2019 08:31 PM

I hope we can come to a swift conclusion on this issue, so we can get on to the really important question of what nothing is up to. If nothing is doing nothing, does that not mean that nothing is doing anything? I mean if there is nothing, can we say not only that there exists nothing but that nothing exists, and are they the same thing, and where nothing exists, are we not saying that everything is nothing, nothing the rich lode of meaning; and must not the starving seeker of wisdom dig on? Where nothing can fit, we will pry it open, hunt it down, gnaw its bones until nothing remains, and thus spin away in a blinding flash of revelation!

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I AGREE


"No, it's not that, although the tune is quite a pretty one."

Loss Leader 9th October 2019 08:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 12850960)
Reality is real because otherwise, solipsism.


See, I don't get how the title of the thread and the first 75% of the OP have to do with his point? Scorpion isn't interested in arguing if reality is real, he's interested in the last half of his last sentence:

Quote:

should we not consider metaphysics as possible sources of truths not understood by science?

And that is a completely different question. In fact, it kind of has to take reality for granted in order to make sense because, as art just said, otherwise solipsism.

So, I ask Scorpion again: Exactly what metaphysical idea would you like to argue to be true? There are, in the set of all things that aren't yet proven by experiment, roughly an infinite number of things. In which one are you interested?

Darat 10th October 2019 02:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matthew Ellard (Post 12850899)
Nope. It is an evolved mechanism that allows animal brains to comprehend a problem.



It is similar to seeing the colour red. There is no actual thing as "red" however evolution has evolved a mechanism whereas electromagnetic waves at a particular frequency are seen as "red" in their brains. The electromagnetic waves are still very real.



Ever wonder why sodium chloride tastes salty?

You're not going to catch me out with that one! I know the common name for sodium chloride is salt, so what else would it taste of!!

HansMustermann 10th October 2019 03:07 AM

I will again reiterate my previous point that for such navel-gazing, and indeed for any purpose and anyone who isn't a particle physicist, the exact nature of reality is fully irrelevant.

It could be your dream. It could be a "god's" dream, or a Boltzmann cosmic brain's dream. It could be a simulation a la The Sims. It could be whatever. It doesn't matter.

The fact of the matter is that there are parts of it that act by fixed rules, and which you can't control. That's the only thing that matters.

If you jump off a house, you WILL fall. If you pull a tight plastic bag over your head, you will suffocate. If you inhale enough carbon monoxide, you will get dizzy, and eventually lose consciousness and shortly afterwards die.

Unless you can actually prove that you keep on walking off the cliff and on thin air, like Will E Coyote, by just imagining that you're still on solid ground, then it doesn't actually MATTER if gravity is really real or just a part of your dream. It's a part that doesn't go away if you stop believing in it. It still keeps working by the same rules, regardless of whether you acknowledge or even know them or not. And we call that part "reality".

It doesn't even matter WHY it doesn't go away if you stop believing in it. If it's a simulation, well, maybe the programmer doesn't give a flip about what you wish, and didn't include your imagination in the rules for simulating the rest of the game. If it's your dream, well, maybe you don't control the parts of your brain generating it. If it's a shared dream, well, maybe other people still believing in gravity prevent your own disbelief from making it disappear. If it's some quantum stuff, well, you obviously don't understand that part either way :p

What matters is just that it doesn't just go away if you stop believing in it, and that it works by the same rules in any case. And it's still an advantage to actually know and use those rules. The fact that you even have a computer and an Internet to write your nonsense musings is because lots of people acknowledged those rules, learned them, and applied them, as opposed to just wishfully thinking that maybe they're not really really real.


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