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Contemplation for the day:


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Would the universe cease to exist if there were no one there to observe it? Another way of expressing this is as follows... Ignoring for a moment the philosophical concept of a soul; If a person dies, from the perspective of other people, they cease to exist. From their perspective, however, it is the universe that ceases to exist. Could one meaningfully argue that, if every single living thing shared this experience, thus eliminating all observers and all possible perspectives for observation, that the universe would still exist?

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Scientifically, observation does not require consciousness. Observation is just another word for interaction.

 

From a conservation of mass-energy standpoint, yes, the Universe would still exist even without conscious observers.

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There is an argument that, if it is possible to simulate universes, then there are likely more simulated universes than real universes. Therefore, the probability that we are in the one real universe is lower than the probability that we are in one of many simulated universes. There are some fringe research projects aimed at determining whether we could detect the difference between a real universe and a simulated one, the results of which would possibly tell us which kind of universe we are in.

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We can only verify history. Because I didn't exist a millennia ago does not mean that the universe did not exist. Because there is evidence of older things that exist. It was not created at my birth. It will not end at my death. Much like Einstein said though it is all relative to us as what I see and perceive is different than that of what you may see and perceive as reality. Going to Tami's "if a tree falls..." I can see a fallen tree and because I have seen other things fall, I know it made a sound during its impact with the earth.

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There is an argument that, if it is possible to simulate universes, then there are likely more simulated universes than real universes. Therefore, the probability that we are in the one real universe is lower than the probability that we are in one of many simulated universes. There are some fringe research projects aimed at determining whether we could detect the difference between a real universe and a simulated one, the results of which would possibly tell us which kind of universe we are in.

I actually stole this topic from a good friend. I will put a reply that was posted that may have some bearing on this post and your first one that may or may not add to the discussion. YOU DECIDE!

 

If the existence, of anything, is predicated on sentient observation, it seems well worth asking, stating, as was done above, I, for one, would not assert the existence of rainbows absent sufficient occular facility coincident sufficient interpretive/constructive powers to so construe them. Without sophisticated scientific devices with which to "see" subatomic particles, would their existence be any less conjecture than the alternative dimensions and universes of String and M-Theory? Even with such devices their "existence" is precarious. And if String, or M, or some similiar approach should loom more amenable to experimental testing than currently possible, might not subatomic particles then cease to exist as we currently construct them for testing and discussion.

 

The original question/contemplation is somewhat semantic... tricks of words, but there is also something of Schrodinger's universe about it. How big is a universe that is not observed and that nobody imagines? How long does it last? What we think of as time, space, change and size are fundamentally tied to point of view. To even argue for existence, we must hypothesize a point of view, whether inside or outside of such a universe, and so long as that point of view is outside, and not inside the universe, it remains in some sense an imaginary thing. If all points of view are eliminated, the very model blinks off, like turning off a switch.

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Pavonis, I can't tell you that because at the end of the day you would just take the blue pill. Wake up tomorrow, go to your little tenured faculty job, believing in things like "matter" and "geology." My knowledge is only for those who are brave enough to take the red pill.

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Pavonis, I can't tell you that because at the end of the day you would just take the blue pill. Wake up tomorrow, go to your little tenured faculty job, believing in things like "matter" and "geology." My knowledge is only for those who are brave enough to take the red pill.

Technically, wasn't the red pill the pill of harsh truth? The harsh truth is that physics is hard, and accepting the reality of a universe that doesn't need us or even notice us is a bitter pill to swallow. You have taken your own blue pill and embraced the dream of your own consciousness' importance to the continued existence of the Universe, which is self-delusional. You've taken the blue pill because you thought it was red!

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Pretty sure I'm on his wavelength most of the time, give or take a few misunderstandings.

 

Judging by the philosophical somewhat abstract nature of his post, and the quantity of recreational mind enhancers he has probably taken over his life, I'm gonna suggest that he is serious, in a light hearted way. But he probably said it also cause he knew you wouldn't agree or understand the point being made anyways.

 

Either way it's confusing you, so therefore a victory

 

(Feel free to correct me, Evo)

Edited by Odine
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Why is confusing me a victory? Should not the goal of communication be to enlighten rather than befuddle? Surely Evolence is intelligent enough to communicate clearly.

 

At any rate, metaphysics and philosophy are examples of intellectual masturbation, in that they fun but not productive, and a little bit sad.

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I can't tell when Evo is being serious and when facetious. I'm not sure anyone can. Evo's the Schrodinger's cat of Nightly.

If he's posting, odds are he's being facetious.

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I actually stole this topic from a good friend. I will put a reply that was posted that may have some bearing on this post and your first one that may or may not add to the discussion. YOU DECIDE!

 

If the existence, of anything, is predicated on sentient observation, it seems well worth asking, stating, as was done above, I, for one, would not assert the existence of rainbows absent sufficient occular facility coincident sufficient interpretive/constructive powers to so construe them.

So, in other words, wouldn't say a rainbow exists until you see one. That's fine. Makes sense. It's a fine way to approach the world.

 

Without sophisticated scientific devices with which to "see" subatomic particles, would their existence be any less conjecture than the alternative dimensions and universes of String and M-Theory? Even with such devices their "existence" is precarious. And if String, or M, or some similiar approach should loom more amenable to experimental testing than currently possible, might not subatomic particles then cease to exist as we currently construct them for testing and discussion.

Unfortunately, this part doesn't make much sense. Subatomic particles exist, their existence has been demonstrated by experiment repeatedly. They don't exist by our collective agreement on their existence. They're not figments of our collective imaginations. They're real. Furthermore, string theory is an attempt to explain the origins of the various families of subatomic particles - there are a lot of them, and there must be some underlying order that explains their existence and properties, just as atomic theory explains why the elements are ordered so periodically and why they have the properties that they do. String theory is not an attempt to "replace" subatomic particles, which I take to be the implication of the question.

 

How big is a universe that is not observed and that nobody imagines?

Well, the Universe existed for about 9 billion years before Earth even formed, so I'd say that it can be pretty large and very long-lived without conscious observers. What "imagination" has to do with it is unclear.

 

What we think of as time, space, change and size are fundamentally tied to point of view.

This statement is correct from relativity theory. There is no absolute frame-of-reference for observers to make "true" measurements from; there are only accelerated or non-accelerated frames of reference that observers can make measurements in. Two observers in different frames may make different measurements of the same object.

 

To even argue for existence, we must hypothesize a point of view, whether inside or outside of such a universe, and so long as that point of view is outside, and not inside the universe, it remains in some sense an imaginary thing. If all points of view are eliminated, the very model blinks off, like turning off a switch.

My first instinctive response is to say "Cogito ergo sum." The sentence is composed of words I understand, and yet has no meaning that I can grasp. It sounds like the ravings of a madman.

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I don't even know what's going on here. I just keep a pocketful of red and blue pills, and periodically snack on them throughout the day. So I never know if I'm coming or going, much less what reality I'm in.

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In all seriousness, I wasn't being serious. But I CAN make a serious argument for my perspective, though I won't bother too hard, because as pavonis says-- philosophy is just mental masturbation. It goes back to age-old philosophical quandaries on the nature of reality and consciousness. Is "reality" defined by what we perceive as substance-- matter, energy, STUFF if you will? And if so, is consciousness a subordinate reality to this STUFF? Or is it possible that all the STUFF we observe is a subordinate reality to a higher consciousness, and that consciousness exists outside of it, beyond being quantifiable as sparks in the neural synapses?

 

It's sort of like the God question, non-resolvable at the end of the day. But yeah, if you do enough red and blue pills simultaneously, one will begin to question if this STUFF is all there is to reality.

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Pavonis, those copied from the conversation I was in. So I don't claim to have written them - although I posted nonsense many times. I am on an iPhone so I will respond later but I just wanted to post that people used to think the world was flat. As we increase our knowledge our understanding of the universe should also grow, thus the universe will perhaps increase when thought of from this way. Simplistic.

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Um, what? The universe is still increasing from the initial Big Bang anyway. How would increasing human knowledge influence the Universe? How would we know that any change is due to our influence and not some other intelligences like Vulcans or Wookiees? What's the mechanism? Where's the falsifiability?

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