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The universe is an illusion?

by Dertulm01
Tags: illusion, universe
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Apr23-08, 07:59 PM
P: 20
I'm having a discussion with a good friend of mine who's a Muslim (not your typical Muslim, he's got some very non-traditional religious beliefs for a Muslim).

While discussing how this or that in the Quran can or can not be true, I asked him about hos reasons for believing in God in general. Here was his response.:

As for believing in God, it just makes sense to me, bro. But I don't believe in God as some sort of entity. Like I mentioned, the panentheistic understanding fits most with how I understand it. I'm a layman, very much so, when it comes to science. But the little bit I grasp of quantum physics reveals to me that the entire universe is an illusion. I mean if everything in the universe is essentially just an electrically charged (or not) particle, then wtf! It's bananas! So, somehow our minds are like filters to perceive the universe in a certain way. All perception takes place in the mind, and the mind, at it's smallest, is just a bundle of electricity, what's holding it all together, where are these perceptions really taking place, and why?

I just don't think that science has all the answers. But it has the right questions. So, the point where science drops off, that's where God comes in. Maybe it's wishful thinking but I'll be damned if I haven't felt something in my life much bigger and greater and more merciful and loving than I can possibly be.

When I think about the universe as this sea of energy and here I am contemplating, able to prove nothing other than the fact that I exist, and only to myself for that matter, I can't help but resign to the fact that something much greater put it all together, and that there's something else after death.

It's certainly possible that it's just wishful thinking in the spirit of ultimate self-preservation, but it's also possible that it's spiritual truth - fostered by sub-conscious intuition. Time will certainly tell. But I understand that it's completely subjective and I have no way of proving any of this to anyone. So, that's just how I see it at this point in my life.

Does quantum physics reveal that the universe is an illusion?

Any replies to any of his other statements would be appreciated as I'm really trying to get through to him, and I actually think he's one that is open-minded enough to give up silly beliefs if given good reasons to.
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Apr23-08, 08:27 PM
P: 277
in no way does quantum physics "reveal" that the universe in an illusion, nor does quantum imply such things.
Purely by semantics, it doesn't make sense to say that the universe is an illusion (if you mean universe in a strict sense of course). The universe is the body that encompasses everything. An illusion implies a reference frame, or perspective - outside of the one thats illusory.
Apr23-08, 08:50 PM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by Dertulm01 View Post
Does quantum physics reveal that the universe is an illusion?
Your friend admits to a lack of knowledge of science, and I think his reference to quantum mechanics reflects that. We live in a particle soup, its true, but QM is really more than that.

What he seems to intend, is to reference the difference between the macro and micro worlds. How do electrons and atoms lead to lions and tigers, or even human consciousness?

In those terms, what we 'see' or perceive in our 'everyday' reality is an illusion. There are no objects, in the sense we perceive them. There is just different sorts of energy interactions. So yes, the world we live in is illusory, or 'not what it appears'. And that is what philosophers generally mean when they use the word illusion with regards to reality.

Its funny how some religious people imply that given the simplicity.... of the micro universe, there must be some designer, while others will say its because of the complexity.

I guess its all the same really. God of the gaps. The world is too big, I don't understand, but there must be someone who does, or else why bother.

At least your friend acknowledges his level of ignorance, something we all have by the way.

Apr24-08, 12:23 PM
P: 362
The universe is an illusion?

How do you know if something is an illusion if you don't know the real frame of reference? Sounds like empty talk.
Apr24-08, 01:07 PM
P: 18
I think some people are taking the word illusion to literally. . i think it was stated more as a figure of speech. Ask you muslim friend this, if he believes there must be 'something much greater that put it all together' i.e. a creator, then who created the creator? If he says nothing or noone, and the creator has always exsisted and always will, then just ask him why the unvirse couldn't have always just existed, therefore what need is there for a creator (or God)?

All just seems like pointless speculation to me!

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