Cosmologic philosophy: multiverse/string theory (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, January 02, 2015, 12:45 (1842 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: I mean indirect observation, studying the effects when the cause can not be studied directly. For example, you can't measure gravity directly. You can measure the effect of it, i.e. the degree of attraction between two objects of mass, but you can't actually observe the force itself. This is different than say, electromagnetism, which can be observed directly.

TONY (to David): So many things that we “know” that we really don't “know”. If someone can ‘believe' in gravity, as it is taught in school, a force that can not be detected by any means other than the effect it has on other objects, why not God?

I agree with you totally about things we “know”, and indeed that was the subject of the thread on epistemology. In an absolute sense, we don't “know” anything. But from a practical point of view, I would define as knowledge anything on which there is an almost universal consensus (we have to allow for small minorities, like flat-earthers - though of course they are entitled to their opinion - and what we now count as "knowledge" may well change with new discoveries). Since the universe is so vast and we are so small, we are all restricted in our access to and our interest in “knowledge”, and so we rely on others to keep us informed. You will perhaps be horrified to hear that I couldn't care less about “gravity”. It makes sense to me that if an apple falls, as opposed to floating up into the sky, it must be because there is a force that attracts it downwards, and that force is called gravity. Beyond that, I am not bothered. I am, however, extremely interested in questions about how we got here, an afterlife, the nature of identity and consciousness, and whether there is a greater consciousness than our own. There is no consensus on any of these issues. We have no “knowledge”. Only conjecture. If you say gravity is an issue, I'm happy to let you fight it out with gravity-believers, but whether the theory is true or false won't make the slightest difference to my life or to the fall of the apple. And people won't go round persecuting or killing one another in accordance with their gravity-beliefs, so I'm not alone in my priorities. That is not a defence of my ignorance, but merely an answer to your question. Belief in gravity is not an issue for many of us. Belief in God is.

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