Watcha think? #3

Posted on September 9, 2011

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Remember the neat  quote: ”

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
       - Phillip K. Dick

Things like your mother-in-law, the wart on the side of your nose, your bank overdraft, the idiot in the next lane, etc,. etc.

Sub-atomic particles

How would Hawking’s followers answer Phillip Dick?

They would probably say that if you take away the model – the belief – that holds the experience (sensations) together, that you would be left with sensory noise. For the theoretical physicist that would presumably consists of  the tracings of sub-atomic particles?

Brain waves

For the neurologist that would be fuzzy tracings of brain waves….?

Perhaps the closest we come to loosening up our reality-constructing brain function occurs when we dream or have nightmares,  get into a good sc-fi movie or Stephen King novel.  At such time we experience some unpacking, repackaging or loosening of the boundaries of our familiar belief systems.

When we stop believing in something – for instance a mate’s love – Hawkingites would probably say that it’s replaced by another belief or model that helps make sense  of  (package ) the brain waves firing around at the time, because the firing patterns of neural networks in your brain is the closest you get to any ‘out there reality.”

You say, OK ‘love’ is pretty fuzzy stuff – pretty fuzzy form of “reality”. So let’s agree that we rely on models and beliefs  to package fuzzy stuff like love, politics religion and particularly the future! But what about something with harder boundaries, like rocks and toes. Well , Mr.Dick is right, if  a human with bare toes stops believing in rocks they get into trouble.

So it appears that Hawking’s ‘model dependant realism’ seems to make sense for humans dealing with fuzzy boundaries – fuzzy  relative to our current models about their senses and nervous system.

However, Hawking’s theory is less convincing when dealing with phenomena with hard, stable boundaries relative to our current beliefs about our senses and nervous system.

So  the “reality” identified seems to depend on the detector systems – eg., light  waves, sound waves, x-rays, gamma rays – and the modeling system – frog brains, bat brains, human brains (A, B…..n), computer  brains (A, B……n), photo sensitive paper, etc.

sub-atomic paricles: flickr.com/photos/elray/129127711/

Brain waves: flickr.com/photos/bionerd/3257741693

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Posted in: Sciencing