Tuesday, 11 January 2022

What physicists claim exists can be doubted

Do our theories in physics mirror how reality really is? Physicists invoke a bewildering plethora of subatomic particles and sometimes even "strings", warped space-time, extra dimensions and so on to explain our observations of the world.  And, indeed, doing so can often accurately predict what we observe.  But look at the following gif.



In the gif we can see that the movement of the small black circles can be explained if we imagine they reside on the corners of moving invisible equilateral triangles, or alternatively on the corners of moving invisible squares, and so on. 

Invoking alternative, apparently incompatible, invisible mechanisms to explain what we observe can also be applied to the actual physical world.  Watch the short 3 minute video below.



 
If it's the case that distinct differing mechanisms can explain our observations, then this invites the question of whether any of these invisible mechanisms actually exist?  Perhaps they simply function as tools to enable us to predict and ultimately control the world?

On this issue theoretical physicist Mano Singham asks in "The Great Paradox of Science":


If extraterrestrial beings were to visit the Earth at some point, that would imply they possessed technology superior to ours. If we could communicate with them, would we find that the theories of science on which their technological prowess was based were the same or a close approximation to ours (as would be the case if the theories of science are true or approaching truth), or would we find them to be completely different, suggesting that there is no unique truth out there waiting to be discovered?

I think most probably that the aliens conception of reality would be very different from ours. It is my suspicion that it's not truth that physics is revealing, rather physics merely provides the means for improved engineering.  Hence, despite their usefulness, the theoretical entities conjured up by physicists, such as the various subatomic particles, do not have a literal existence.  

Indeed, I am inclined to think that what theoretical physicists allege exists and doesn't exist gets it precisely the wrong way around.  Hence, it seems to me that the various hypothetical entities employed in physics might well not literally exist.  Contrariwise, that colours, sounds, and odours do exist*. 

*I mean by the words 
colours, sounds, odours as we actually experience them so that the external world is literally coloured.  I intend to argue for this in a future blog post.

3 comments:

  1. I agree the "External" world is literally full of color, sound, etc.

    However, and I'm sure you'll agree, this makes no sense if by "External" we mean "external to any consciousness whatsoever.

    If we distinguish "mind" and "Consciousness", with the latter being That in which all things 'live and move and have their Being," then it does not seem so radical to say there is a world "external" to mind, but "internal" to Consciousness.

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    Replies
    1. Don, I am indeed sympathetic to some form of immaterialism. However, even if there is a consciousness-independent material world, I believe it would have colours, sounds and odours. But I'll address the issue in a separate blog post when I get around to it.

      Got to confess, I'm surprised everyone is so dismissive of a material world with qualities.

      Delete
  2. I've posted a response to this on my blog: HERE

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