Does anybody think that there is an underlying reality?

In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of "reality" and how it is constantly being redefined and altered by human constructs such as models, language, math, and logic. There is a belief that our understanding of the universe is limited and that events and outcomes are ultimately controlled by random quantum state fluctuations. However, this belief is not supported by quantum mechanics, which has been extensively tested and fits into a logical framework. The conversation ends with a call for more optimistic ideas or comments.
  • #1
It seems like we keep chasing "reality", and by "reality" I think Physicists would mean the apparent rules of quantum physics which we hope would (if applied) lead to all the apparent known rules of macro-physics.

However ... It seems like we have had to create a few things to do that:
1. Ideas and concepts that we can test .. in our heads .. these are "models" of "reality" in our human brains.
2. Metalanguages that we use to communicate these ideas to each other (Language, Maths & Diagrams).
3. A reasonable working framework of logic "the rules of logic" (e.g. if X is true then it can't be false).

Unfortunately it seems that we have to keep altering these human-brain invented subsystems to fit reality.

Even the very rules of logic do not seem stable and safe (i.e. because the whole logic system is recursive and built on it's own sand as per 1. 2. and 3. above) - they all depend on each other !

For example we now accept that things can be in one place and another place (statistically) until "the wave function collapses" (or to state that in English "until the time we test that thing and then know were it is/was and when it is/was to a presumed statistically known level of certainty/uncertainty).

Another example might be that in future we might have to accept that "events" have no "time" at all.

i.e. there is no time - that would be fun !

What I am hoping for is broad agreement or discussion from the clever folks here that "our universe" just exists ... and all of our physics and maths and logic are just human constructs that allow us to get by and almost understand things for a short while.

Also perhaps this is all just a diversion from what seems like the depressing truth that nothing that humans think or do can alter anything at all in the future at all as only random quantum state fluctuations can alter outcomes. We can't control these, and so we can't control our thoughts, or even choose our own lunch !

It seems that these choices just occur on a macro level as dictated by the way the physics was going to do anyway in the normal macro-physics way (only randomly altered by quantum events that we can't control).

Also ... what if the universe is just saying (oh crap somebody is going to test superposition) I had better invent an outcome, as there has to be one, and spread that new rule throughout the universe instantly ?

Oh well ... anybody got any ideas or comments to cheer everybody up ?

I would love to be wrong ... i.e. It's all a bit depressing !

"so it goes" ... kbo
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  • #2
clive williams-not said:
I would love to be wrong...
I have good news for you then.

Quantum mechanics doesn't say anything like what you're thinking. It doesn't say that "things can be in one place and another place", nothing suggests that in the future "we might have to accept that 'events' have no 'time'", "quantum fluctuations" exist only in non-serious explanations from authors who don't want to subject their audience to a properly rigorous (and necessarily math-intensive) explanation. Superposition has been extensively tested over the past century and fits into a perfectly reasonable logical framework.

If you want to learn and understand what quantum mechanics does say, you'll have to start with better sources (there's no substitute for a proper textbook, but Ghiradi's "Sneaking a look at god's cards" is better than most popularizations). We can help you over the hard spots.

As this thread is based on a misunderstanding, it is closed.
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Likes nasu, berkeman, vanhees71 and 1 other person

1. What is an underlying reality?

An underlying reality refers to the fundamental, objective truth or existence of something beyond our perceptions and interpretations.

2. How do we know if there is an underlying reality?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it is a philosophical and scientific debate. Some argue that our perceptions and experiences are the only reality, while others believe that there is an objective reality that exists regardless of our perceptions.

3. Can we ever truly know the underlying reality?

While science and philosophy strive to understand the nature of reality, it is impossible to know with absolute certainty if there is an underlying reality. Our understanding of reality is limited by our perceptions, biases, and the current state of scientific knowledge.

4. How does the concept of underlying reality relate to science?

Science is rooted in the search for objective truth and understanding the fundamental laws and principles of the natural world. The concept of underlying reality is often discussed in scientific fields such as physics, philosophy of science, and neuroscience.

5. Is the existence of an underlying reality important?

This is a subjective question and the answer may vary depending on one's beliefs and perspectives. Some argue that understanding the underlying reality is crucial for gaining a deeper understanding of the world and ourselves. Others may argue that our perceptions and experiences are all that truly matter.