What if it is all wrong?

  • Thread starter BMW
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  • #1
BMW
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Main Question or Discussion Point

How do we know that all we think we know about the universe is correct?

The whole universe could be COMPLETELY different from what we perceive. You might say that you can do experiments which show certain things, but what if the experiment observations fit this picture we have built up, however they actually give no clue as to the workings of the universe?

In fact, is there even a universe?

What if everything we experience is no more than an experience, there is no actual matter or energy.

It's tempting to believe something like this with the discoveries of weird things like Quantum Mechanics which seems to defy "reality".

EDIT: Sorry this is not really science, but how do we know that science even exists? :)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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How do we know that you exist? Is your message "real" or just a (quantum) fluctuation of my imagination?
Is it even worth answering when I don't know if the question was really asked by someone or maybe I am talking to myself? :confused:
 
  • #3
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That is why, in current science, the observer is intimately connected with the experiment. We see proof of this in Quantum Mechanics where the presence of different methods of measurement will change the outcome of the experiment.

Complete objectivity and experimental isolation from the observer was something which was erroneous in Newton's logic. At that time, Goethe created a theory of colors in which observers were taken as an important part, but I don't know how generally accepted it is (or relevant? lol).

But... This forum isn't the place of philosophy, so let us stop here. :)
 
  • #4
Simon Bridge
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@BMW: look up "empiricism" - it is a fundamental assumption of Science that there really is a World "out there" which exists independently of our senses, gives rise to our sense data, and, that our flawed and inaccurate sense data can be used to build a coherent picture of this World. What you've noticed is that this is just an assumption - it has not been proved to be true.

A great deal has been written about this and why it makes sense to approach our sense data like this. You can get an inkling about what sorts of reasons there by asking yourself it it makes sense to post questions on PF? Do you do it because you think there is some underlying reality to the forum that is useful for getting answers, or because it is a fun way to talk to yourself and you could equally just ask a bunch of tea-leaves or interpret your dreams.

The alternate POV is usually some form of "rationalism" or "phenominalism".
Since it is impossible to prove a negative - it is up to the champions of the other POVs to demonstrate that empiricism is flawed.


There is a philosophy forum here.
However, I think more reading around the subject should be attempted first. It's a road well traveled.
 
  • #5
Drakkith
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There is a philosophy forum here.
However, I think more reading around the subject should be attempted first. It's a road well traveled.
I think the philosophy section was nixed a while back.
 
  • #6
Simon Bridge
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Oh so it was ... shows how much I value philosophy.
 
  • #7
BMW
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Yeah, I sometimes wonder whether anyone else even exists, maybe I am imagining the whole world somehow.

Those of you who exist, please raise your hand now :3
 
  • #8
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Well I know I exist, but I'm not sure about the rest of you. All I see is text.
 
  • #9
meBigGuy
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  • #10
SteamKing
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It doesn't matter if it's all wrong. You still have to take the test next week.
 
  • #11
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this forums is kinda full with philosophy haters :D It' s not that philosophy is bad or science is good it's just that some people are trying to ask philosophy the things she is not made for.

When we find out that Santa is just a way to give children presents not a real man we don't show our frustration by killing him do we? :D

@Steamking But what if the test fluctuates itself into the right answers?
 
  • #12
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Philosophy and metaphysics discussions (in connection to science) are prone to go into infinite loops, discussing vague concepts and without coming to any conclusion. I can only speak for myself, but I very seldom get anything useful out of such philosophy discussions.

Science and physics are certainly not free from points-of-view (especially when it comes to research beyond current theories), but with empiricism and the scientific method, different points-of view can at least find some common ground; we can agree upon how to go about doing science. That's one of the reasons I really like the scientific method. See:


The Scientific Method-Richard Feynman;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL6-x0modwY
 
Last edited:
  • #13
BMW
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Well I know I exist, but I'm not sure about the rest of you. All I see is text.
Prove it. I could be imagining you saying it. Then again, you could be imagining me saying this.
 
  • #14
Simon Bridge
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Yeah, I sometimes wonder whether anyone else even exists, maybe I am imagining the whole world somehow.

Those of you who exist, please raise your hand now :3
<lowers hand>
 
  • #15
ZapperZ
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This whole thread doesn't exist. Move along, now. There's nothing to see.

Zz.
 
  • #16
Evo
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Sorry, nonsensical speculation (philosophy) is not allowed here.
 

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