Much of the dialog on the SubGenius site can be pretty lowbrow, but in reality there are quite a few bright people hanging out there. This comment recently resulted in a thread of 186 posts on the nature of reality.
I was just watching an episode of "Through the Wormhole", hosted by
Morgan Freeman. This one was on the possible existence of a "sixth
sense". Usually I would assume that a show about the possible
existence of esp and such wouldn't be worth watching, but this one
was. At one point in the show Michio Kaku is explaining an interesting
paradox using Schroedinger's thought problem about a cat in a box
(Schroedinger's Cat). I've heard of the thought problem before but he
takes it further. The whole problem centers around the fact that
certain quantum phenomena only occur concretely when they are
perceived. So you put a cat in a box with a vial of poison and a
mechanism that will release that poison only if a radioactive atom
decays within a certain period of time. After that period of time
elapses, the cat is either dead or alive. Not only do we not know
whether it is alive but from our perspective it literally isn't alive
or dead until we open the box. It's a weird thing to believe but this
uncertainty principle is the only explanation for a multitude of
phenomena, e.g. the fact that light displays wavelike properties.
So anyway, he says that the cat, until it is directly observed by an
outside observer somehow is neither dead nor alive (undead?). But he
then goes on and says, but the only way the observer can exist in a
definite state of living or dead is if he/she is also observed by
another observer. And the same is true for that observer, etc. ad
infinitum. So the only way that all these people could exist is if
there were some "Cosmic Consciousness" that perceives everyone and
everything. This is almost exactly the same proposition that George
Berkeley proposed 300 years ago. He called the principle "Esse est
percipi", to be is to be perceived. He thought that the only things
that had real existence are ideas and the souls which perceive them. A
table in a room only exists because we perceive it. Leave the room and
close the door and it doesn't exist in any real sense. But why is it
still there when we open the door again? Because God observes
everything and makes the world consistent.
I've been interested in Berkeley's philosophy ever since I read about
it because it is one of the few philosophical theories that is totally
internally consistent and doesn't imply dualism (the co-existence of
two types of ultimate realities, like matter and spirit). The other,
of course, is materialism. But materialism sort of implies that our
consciousness isn't real. And this quantum problem implies that
materialism itself is internally inconsistent. Quantum physics is the
most successful physical theory in the history of science so this
implication is pretty profound.
Dr. LoBotomy the left wing twit.
If you wish to add your 2 cents you will have to be admitted. It became necessary to sort out the people who act crazy from those who simply are crazy.
Edited by Ray V on Jul 18, 2011 1:39 PM