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Is matter real, or do we just imagine that we can see it, feel it, touch it, measure it, etc.

Posted on 2003-03-08
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Question by:james95035
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by:ecims
ID: 8097622
Matter itself is not "more real" than 'I'.  

Descartes believed there was that of mind (res cogitans), and that of matter (res extensa).  If using the Euclidean geometrical concept of matter then matter is what we measure.

"Nemo extensio in longum, latum et profundum, substantiae corporea naturam constituit"
(extension in length, breadth, and thickness constitutes the nature of corporeal substance)

But, you never know.  This could all be a very lucid dream.

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by:GPrentice00
ID: 8097913
Even harder to wrap our minds around -- even the most solid of solid matter is >99.999% empty space.
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by:jpkemp
ID: 8100679
If we only imagine that we can see it, feel it, etc., then either we are all in a dream together (one which is remarkably self-consistent), or you are the only conscience in existence and the rest of us are merely hallucinations of yours.

Jeff
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by:james95035
ID: 8100825
Good point, I hope you are happy as ny hallucination, or am I yours?
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by:james95035
ID: 8100833
Interesting point on the empty space...

Jim
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by:james95035
ID: 8100836
I like the lucid dream one so far...

Matter itself is not "more real" than 'I'.  

Descartes believed there was that of mind (res cogitans), and that of matter (res extensa).  If using the Euclidean geometrical concept of matter then matter is what we measure.

"Nemo extensio in longum, latum et profundum, substantiae corporea naturam constituit"
(extension in length, breadth, and thickness constitutes the nature of corporeal substance)

But, you never know.  This could all be a very lucid dream.
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by:TheBeaver
ID: 8100852
Seeing, feeling, etc are just an interpretation of electrical singals made by our brain that come from the various "sense" organs (eyes, skin, etc). So from this one could agrue the answer is "imagined".

But, touch is a different matter (no pun intended), because to touch something we need to have a physical resistance so that we can't put our finger through an object. This resistance is in no way imaginary or an interpretation by our brain. It is physical and irrelevent to our sences. A rock has no brain to interpret the resistance of a more solid object. In other words, a rock can no more travel through another rock then we humans can. So therefore matter is real.
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by:james95035
ID: 8100870
Or so we immagine we cannot move through a wall or a rock cannot move through another rock, but a rcok can move through a window, or at least we can immagine it can.

Jim
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by:TheMek
ID: 8101705
You took the red pill?
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8104609
Matter is real, what changes is the way our brain percevies it.  TO us the world looks quite differnt from the way a ladybug sees it.  
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by:SunBow
ID: 8104614
Matter is real, .... really in your imagination.
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by:james95035
ID: 8105767
How "does" a lady bug see things, why with it's eyes I suppose...LOL
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by:james95035
ID: 8105769
What red pill?
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8105865
And antena.  I was more refering to time.  But its all good.
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by:GivenRandy
ID: 8105906
We can never know. Let me copy some from Rucker describing Godel's Incompleteness Theorem:

The proof of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem is so simple, and so sneaky, that it is almost embarassing to relate. His basic procedure is as follows:

Someone introduces Gödel to a UTM, a machine that is supposed to be a Universal Truth Machine, capable of correctly answering any question at all.
Gödel asks for the program and the circuit design of the UTM. The program may be complicated, but it can only be finitely long. Call the program P(UTM) for Program of the Universal Truth Machine.
Smiling a little, Gödel writes out the following sentence: "The machine constructed on the basis of the program P(UTM) will never say that this sentence is true." Call this sentence G for Gödel. Note that G is equivalent to: "UTM will never say G is true."
Now Gödel laughs his high laugh and asks UTM whether G is true or not.
If UTM says G is true, then "UTM will never say G is true" is false. If "UTM will never say G is true" is false, then G is false (since G = "UTM will never say G is true"). So if UTM says G is true, then G is in fact false, and UTM has made a false statement. So UTM will never say that G is true, since UTM makes only true statements.
We have established that UTM will never say G is true. So "UTM will never say G is true" is in fact a true statement. So G is true (since G = "UTM will never say G is true").
"I know a truth that UTM can never utter," Gödel says. "I know that G is true. UTM is not truly universal."
Think about it - it grows on you ...

With his great mathematical and logical genius, Gödel was able to find a way (for any given P(UTM)) actually to write down a complicated polynomial equation that has a solution if and only if G is true. So G is not at all some vague or non-mathematical sentence. G is a specific mathematical problem that we know the answer to, even though UTM does not! So UTM does not, and cannot, embody a best and final theory of mathematics ...

Although this theorem can be stated and proved in a rigorously mathematical way, what it seems to say is that rational thought can never penetrate to the final ultimate truth ... But, paradoxically, to understand Gödel's proof is to find a sort of liberation. For many logic students, the final breakthrough to full understanding of the Incompleteness Theorem is practically a conversion experience. This is partly a by-product of the potent mystique Gödel's name carries. But, more profoundly, to understand the essentially labyrinthine nature of the castle is, somehow, to be free of it.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8106010
Have you been drinking?
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by:soul_less_at_home
ID: 8106087
Did that have anything to do with the question?



Matter is only real if you percieve it to be, ie, when it affects something. at all other times you can never know.
You can know its speed, or its position, but never both, since everything is made up of the same unpredictable quarks. Thats my beleif for why stuff falls of supermarket shelves when you're stood at one end and noone else is around. Just subatomic stuff happening
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by:ecims
ID: 8106863
<<Comment from TheMek  03/10/2003 01:51AM PST:  
You took the red pill?>>

<<Comment from james95035  03/10/2003 12:40PM PST:  
What red pill? >> 


LOL.  I'm down the hole receiving advice from the caterpillar.
----------------------------------------

`I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'

`What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar sternly. `Explain yourself!'

`I can't explain MYSELF, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, `because I'm not myself, you see.'

`I don't see,' said the Caterpillar.

`I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly,' Alice replied very politely, `for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.'

`It isn't,' said the Caterpillar.

`Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet,' said Alice; `but when you have to turn into a chrysalis--you will some day, you know--and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?'

`Not a bit,' said the Caterpillar.

`Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,' said Alice; `all I know is, it would feel very queer to ME.'

`You!' said the Caterpillar contemptuously. `Who are YOU?'
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by:jpkemp
ID: 8107454
GivenRandy, have you read "The Emperor's New Mind" by Roger Penrose?

If not, I recommend it. He attempts (quite well) to explain why Godel (and the rest of us conscious beings) can know something "is true" that the putative UTM cannot.

Jeff
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by:james95035
ID: 8107620
Wow this is getting of subjuct, say, what was the subjuct, what is a subjuct, who are I...
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by:james95035
ID: 8107681
Here is the answer I gave for the question what will happen at the end of the world, does it apply to the subject at hand?
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by:GivenRandy
ID: 8110641
Yes, it relates to the question (as others obviously picked up on). Still, the only thing we can "know" is that we are PROCESSING. Our bodies may not be "real", nor this whole "universe", but you can be sure you are PROCESSING.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I put it on my reading list. There can be many arguments for all sorts of knowledge (just look at all the religions with "proof"), but they are not rigorous. The book should be interesting reading, though.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8112678
Ok... If we are not real, then it would stand to reason that the things around us where not real... can anyone put their hand through a wall, or chair or desk?  If not, maybe you are real.
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by:GivenRandy
ID: 8113134
>Ok... If we are not real, then it would stand to reason
>that the things around us where not real... can anyone
>put their hand through a wall, or chair or desk?  If not,
>maybe you are real.

No, it may just be very good programming. The movie "The Matrix" is a very good example of that.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8113187
Yes however that was a MOVIE.  And one could argue that even using this as a model that the "beings" in the matrix where real.  It seems that you must define real, anytime you reference it.
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by:GivenRandy
ID: 8113316
>Ok... If we are not real, then it would stand to reason
>that the things around us where not real... can anyone
>put their hand through a wall, or chair or desk?  If not,
>maybe you are real.

No, it may just be very good programming. The movie "The Matrix" is a very good example of that.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8113915
You said that once already.  
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by:GivenRandy
ID: 8115974
Hmmm. Must have refreshed the wrong page (it resubmitted it). I will know this is "real" if I get points and an "A" for it. :)
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by:james95035
ID: 8116029
Or at least you imagine or dream you are real..Didn't the sailorrs from the USS Philadelphia walk throuigh walls after the ship became invisable due to magnetic force generators? (Or so they say.)
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by:ecims
ID: 8117726
Studies have shown that when people are immersed in a virtual environment that offers tactile sensations their brain over time eventually makes that "reality".  You begin to experience fear, increased heart rate and a number of other sensations associated with the "real" world.

So I guess the question to ask is if we (humans) were not here would all this exist.  Who knows, maybe we see matter in one plane that other species would not and vice-versa.  

I know radio waves exist only because I am able to measure them.  Are radio waves any less or more real than any other "tangible" matter?  Technically radio waves did not "exist" to humans until they were detected through measurements.  What if there is a whole other world around us we just can't see and measure?

When you get right down to it I think Descartes was correct.  Our understanding of the world around us is either expanded or limited by what we can measure.
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by:GivenRandy
ID: 8119475
Philosophers continue to debate this. Even the best, Aristotle, could not "prove" any such thing. They get so close, but it is like trying to prove a negative.
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by:james95035
ID: 8124494
If a gun was fired at the North Pole with no one arounmd for thousands of miles, would the gun make an sound, or since no one was there to hear it, would it be silent.

Not a good argument, but I heard it many years ago & thought I would bring it up, for what it is worth, which is probably nothing..

Interesting articleon SETI & the possibility of life evolving by accident, below...

Perhaps life's origin wasn't a freak event after all, but the automatic outcome of inherently bio-friendly laws of nature. However, the laws we know certainly don't have "life" written into them. In fact, the very notion of a law of nature is that it applies across the board to everything. Life is a weird and exceedingly special state of matter, and it's hard to see how a basic law of nature could know anything about it in advance. Yet that hasn't stopped the distinguished physicist Freeman Dyson from claiming that somehow the universe "knew we were coming".

Dyson echoes a widespread sentiment. Belief that there is an inherent cosmic drive from matter to life permeates much scientific thinking. But it is rarely articulated explicitly; after all, if life pops up wherever there are earthlike conditions, then there seems to be something deeply contrived in the way the universe is put together. Seti obliges us to unpack that extraordinary claim and face the fact that if there is a law that steers matter to life then we haven't found it yet, and it will be a law like no other we have discovered in nature so far.

Similar issues swirl around the question of intelligence. A popular conception of evolution is that, over time, life progresses from simple to complex, marching inexorably onwards and upwards, continually striving for advancement. Biologists flatly deny this. The essence of Darwinism is that nature is blind and evolution is directionless. There is no known principle that compels life to evolve toward intelligence once it gets started. But belief in alien civilisations tacitly assumes a thrust towards intelligence, a hidden directionality in evolution, which is sharply at odds with the whole spirit of Darwinism.

If Seti draws a blank in, say, a hundred years, the effort will not have been wasted. Although one can't prove a negative, decades of unsuccessful searching would lead many people to conclude that we are, after all, probably alone in the vastness of the cosmos. That conclusion would give added urgency to our responsible stewardship of planet Earth. If humans are the only organisms in the universe capable of reflecting on the significance of their own existence, then our unique planet would be seen as a truly cosmic resource.

· Paul Davies is professor of natural philosophy at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University in Sydney. This article is based on his Michael Faraday Prize lecture The Origin of Life to be given at The Royal Society on January 27.

pdavies@els.mq.edu.au

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by:GivenRandy
ID: 8127262
>If a gun was fired at the North Pole with no one arounmd
>for thousands of miles, would the gun make an sound, or
>since no one was there to hear it, would it be silent.
>
>Not a good argument, but I heard it many years ago &
>thought I would bring it up, for what it is worth, which
>is probably nothing..

This is philosophy 101, for which there is probably a good textbook in your local library.

It is good that you used the word "sound" instead of "noise". For the latter, I had an disagreement with my Intro philosophy professor. He kept trying to beat into my head the simple platitudes that you are alluding to. I kept saying that I already knew all that. I was going by the definition -- a noise is generally any too particles striking (e.g., radio, radiation, trees), so by definition there was noise. Of course, the professor continued to belittle me in class. Obviously he was either incompetent or was trying to maintain his lofty height as an undergraduate professor because in the third and fourth year philosophy courses ... they taught exactly what I had been saying! LMAO!
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by:soul_less_at_home
ID: 8129877
Sound is just a name for an type of energy, if no one is around to hear it (another word) it still makes the air vibrate, so it has energy, and is observed as sound

The real question, does matter exist, is just another viewpoint for, I want to go online and ask some people a difficult question, then see a huge page all devoted to answers on my question.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8130763
So um, what is your question soul less?
Because this one is getting big.
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by:GivenRandy
ID: 8132626
>The real question, does matter exist, is just another
>viewpoint for, I want to go online and ask some people
>a difficult question, then see a huge page all devoted
>to answers on my question.

Will an "A" be awarded, or is it just my imagination. Let's revise the question: if someone asks an impossible-to-answer question and good answers are provided, will anyone get the points?
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by:james95035
ID: 8133438
Do the points matter, that much, or is the discussion the real worth.

Jim
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by:youaretheubernerd
ID: 8134391
Who cares? Don't you have more important things to think about? Like:
           
How much beer can I drink before I throw up all
over myself?

           
Will I ever get away from this computer and score some sweet poontang?

Ha.
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by:james95035
ID: 8140769
How much beer can you drink before you throw up all over yourself?
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by:andyalder
ID: 8143347
about 8 pints (Imperial, not US).
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by:james95035
ID: 8144084
I take it imperial is more?
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by:soul_less_at_home
ID: 8146080
Yes, The theory is that the guys on the mayflower took some of our measurement jugs with them, but their pint jug was dented. thats why the gallons are still the same size, but you have more pints in a gallon than us.
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by:james95035
ID: 8147010
I am learning stuff I never thought I'd want to know, and I'm not so sure I do...

Jim
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by:wuranma
ID: 8164692
look out for Matrix, Reloaded..
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by:violent1
ID: 8196924
yes matter is real.  no, we will never be able to give an acceptable proof to you that shows it is not just our imagination.

seriously...that is the ultimate conclusion of this thread.  it's all about faith.

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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8196950
Well, matter is real, however it is only real because of the way we percive it.  Think about when you see a painting for the first time.  You do not always see what everyone else sees.  You might see the flower right away, but your buddy sees a sail boat in the back ground.  That is how matter is, we all look at it, and feel it, and breath it, but we see it in differnt ways.  So yes it is real, however how you see it determains how real it is to you.
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by:soul_less_at_home
ID: 8197025
Is the alternative to having real matter being a brain in a vat, kept alive by whatever the guardians give us? If it is, explain suicide, you could not possibly use your imaginary arms to wrap around your imaginary neck and strangle yourself, or fire an imaginary gun into your imaginary heart. So, from that point of view, matter must be real.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8197049
What if those events are so tramatic to the brains sensory system that they cause death?

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by:youaretheubernerd
ID: 8199553
People who waste their time pondering this are one step away from the looney bin. Step in front of a bus and tell me it's not matter.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8203080
You are not real, you are a fignuten in my imagination box.
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by:Azurri
ID: 8203226
Does it really matter?
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by:soul_less_at_home
ID: 8205442
Im sure i can think of more traumatic events. if we are brains in vats, how do we learn new things, we cant go out and experience them. I just imagined being shot, i didnt die, and i have no idea how it would feel, how would i learn enough without killing myself to teach me how it feels? surely we have to be real people, and doing real things. otherwise, how was this website setup, and who isd real, me, or you?
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by:kwijibo
ID: 8208320
I took the blue pill - Reality is overrated.
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by:tncbbthositg
ID: 8258586
You should begin by describing real.  Real means difinitively "having verifiable existence."  Next time you want to know whether something is real, ram your face into it.  If it hurts, stinks, etc.  it's probably real.  Try to imagine a brick wall.  Imagine your face hitting it very hard.  It doesnt hurt, right?  NOT REAL
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by:elkiors
ID: 8275989
<<
Try to imagine a brick wall.  Imagine your face hitting it very hard.  It doesnt hurt, right?  NOT REAL
>>

maybe the you in the parallel dimension feels it just fine. LOL

original question :

To pinch one of Terry Pratchetts' lines ... "It's probably quantum"

The fact that we are supposedly part of reality and are matter ourselves, we can never observe directly ... we can never get outside of the problem to look in on it.

And if we could, we would change it through the act of observing anyway.

just my two penneth

Darren
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by:gbentley
ID: 8281783
Yes, it is real, but it isn't solid!

Gordon
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by:gbentley
ID: 8281789
Or perhaps more accurately, it is real, but it is made of nothing.

Or, it is real at least most of the time. Or at least while anythings looking.
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by:a10u8r
ID: 8296906
Matter may in fact be real, but what we see, feel, touch, and mostly measure, is merely the effect in appearance to our innate sensory equipment, which only function at this particular set of dimensions and co-ordinates that we can be said to inhabit. Through the extensions to our senses we have found what the ancient greeks seem to have guessed, that matter is derivative of energy fields, and that what we experience as matter is not what we know as matter.
What we know is that the table which seems solid matter to the touch and sight, is actually a solid locked grid of energy fields; there is very little actual matter in it. Whats more, those very tiny specks of matter at the centres of the myriad energy fields which lock together to form the 'uber'field "the table", might again be other than what we had always thought of as being matter.
So, yes, matter is real, especially when it falls on your head, (we do not just imagine that we can see, feel touch, and measure it), but it is not as solid as we perceive it to be.
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by:paulomateus
ID: 8308795
NO
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by:paulomateus
ID: 8308805
YES
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by:paulomateus
ID: 8308819
i meen matter is real unless we are not real but then matter would still be real to us and there would be no such thing as us if things werent real so matter is real to us otherwise existence of man would not take place.
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by:soul_less_at_home
ID: 8309084
paulomateus, how do you know that you are not a brain, store in a vat, fed by the liquid your suspended in, and connected to an amazing supercomputer, or another brain, controlling your experiences. you wouldnt know, you would be able to do anything about it if you did, but wouldn't it be nice just to find out. it could help explain why so many of the things in the universe that are created and seem so unlikely, (1 in 4x10^loads chance of the earth and sun being just far enough apart for life) the 'divine' creator. then you ask, how do people learn things, you have no previous experience and learn from other people, or the things other people have said, done or written, what if there are a few of these controllers, linked together, then you can 'talk' to other brains. of course, our brain might not realy look like what scientists have shown us, because were only realy imagining. I dont actually believe this theory because if you shot your maginary head, with an imaginary buyllet, you don't die, if you do it with a 'real' gun and bullet, you do. but why. it could just be the trauma of the event, but there are 2 flaws with that, most of the time you have no previous experience of being shot, so you have no idea what it ought to feel like. #2 there are other traumatic events that don't kill you or anything.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8309145
Talk about thinking outside the box....
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by:gbentley
ID: 8310665
>>If it is, explain suicide, you could not possibly use >>your imaginary arms to wrap around your imaginary neck >>and strangle yourself, or fire an imaginary gun into >>your imaginary heart. So, from that point of view, >>matter must be real.

I don't see why the simulation could not include the simulated ability to kill your simulated self. As long as the "simulator" doesn't care about your (simulated) existence, why not let you die?

Surely if the simulation is intended to fool you into believing in your own physical reality, wouldn't you simulate "everything" that could happen in a putative real world? Anything less wouldn't be a complete simulation.

Regards
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8313250
Maybe killing yourself is the way out of your "fake" world....

JK, do not kill yourself you nut..
lol
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by:soul_less_at_home
ID: 8319778
If the simulation allowed yourself to stop it by killing yourself, then more people would know that reality does exist, or when you stop the simulation do you become an alien or something, still able to appear in the real world, but not looking normal. Whatever kind of hardware, (biological or electrical) was used to setup the simulation, there would be little point in allowing it to stop so soon after beginning, ie. with death.
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by:pedestrian2112
ID: 8395127
there are three kinds of matter

1) Dark Matter (matter we can't see_
2) Brain Matter (matter we can see)
3) Does is really Matter??(no, not really)
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8395153
Interesting because there are two types of brain matter...
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by:volking
ID: 8416985
This topic bring up another. Is the universe matter?

Remember back 30 years ago (at least for some of us) when you looked at a globe of the earth? You instantly realized, slide South America up and north, move North America east. All the coastlines join and viola! One big continent! But when you mention that OBVIOUS FACT to your teacher, she says, "nope, just a coincidence" ... then a decade later they drop plate tectonics on us.

So again I ask, if matter is >99.999% empty space and the universe is >99.999% empty space, is there a connection? Is the earth a subatomic particle spinning around a proton of an atom in the matter of some REALLY big penial foreskin?
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by:soul_less_at_home
ID: 8423469
I think we might be looking at this wrong, my thought is. Is the space between matter real, or is it another kind of matter, just not expressable in our current human forms.
A vacuum is where there isd nothing. but there is something in there, an 'empty' space. Do we just use the wrong word for the 'empty' space, or is there something there?
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8423521
Well, then matter is real.  If i look at a desk I see a desk because of the shape/size/configuration of its molicules.  Now, that desk is made up of mostly empty space, inter-atomic space.  Yet I can see it because a great deal of photons bounce back.  I can feel it because of the strong electromagnetic and nuclear forces holding the atoms together.  

Is that what you mean about space?
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by:a10u8r
ID: 8423959
rrhunt28, that's what I was trying to say in my garbled late night kind of way. But it's the conventional stuff we learnt at school. It's a long time since I was at school, and I don't know what they're teaching now, but I'm with soul_less_at_home because now apparently 90% or so of the mass of the universe is missing according to this conventional view, and so there must be matter that we material beings know nothing of. Physicists call it Dark Matter because we can't see it or measure it, we can only infer its existence from its effects. So maybe its also our definition of matter that's inadequate.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8428710
Well, we know there is anti matter out there.
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by:soul_less_at_home
ID: 8430434
We can measure anti matter too though. And there cannot posibly be more anti-matter than matter, because of the charges on it all. So there must be matter that is chargeless, and motion less, and mass less. Othrwise we would see its effects.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8430499
Well if we cant see it, touch it, taste it, and it has no effect on us, why worry about it. LOL
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by:volking
ID: 8430570
hmmm ... I think I see where a10u8r is going. Just because we cannot "see it or taste it" and just because we have not yet devised a way to measure it (meaning it has no effect on our perception of physics), does that preclude the possibility of it's existence? Certainly not!

So although space seems empty to our meager 5 senses, maybe it is actually full of something you and I cannot recognize as "matter". Thus a10u8r's preposition that "its also our definition of matter that's inadequate."

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by:EinsteinShrugged
ID: 8432209
Oh my god.  This is SO the question that can never be answered.  Matter is real because we can sense it, but if we weren't here to sense it, then would it really be here and is this whole thing just a very complicated and tenacious illusion?  Are we just some sea monkeys left to seed by a negligent alien latch key kid?

James, you've started a thread that will never die.  Questions like this are as unanswerable as they are meaningless.  What would you do if you found out that, really, trees DON'T make a noise when no one's around to hear then and that the Martix is real?  chances are you'd say 'Wow' and then go back to coding.

'When you eventually see through the veils to how things really are, you will keep saying again and again "This is certainly not like we thought it was"' (Jalaluddin Rumi)

or - for the more scientific approach:
'The universe is like a safe to which there is a combonation, but the combonation is locked up in the safe' (Peter De Vries)
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by:soul_less_at_home
ID: 8436590
>>Matter is real because we can sense it, but if we >>weren't here to sense it, then would it really be here

If its real, then yes. it would still be here
If it doesn't exist, then we aren't here now. So it can't cease to exist.


>>Thus a10u8r's preposition that "its also our definition >>of matter that's inadequate

Does it matter how to define it to say whether it exists. Try giving a good definition of life.
Does life exist? Yes
Does your definition describe all of it exactly as it should be? Probably not

But no-one can say life doesn't exist and have any decent amount of proof behind it. So what does the definition matter, if it exists anyway?
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by:a10u8r
ID: 8444258
You know why the question will never be answered ?
Because the question is wrong.
You know what's wrong with the question ?
The word "or".
"Is matter real, or do we just imagine that we can see it, feel it, touch it, measure it, etc."
It should be two separate questions with no "or" joining the two propositions, because funnily enough they are not mutually exclusive.
Although it might seem paradoxical, they are both true.
(a) Matter is demonstrably real (try hitting your head with a hammer).
and,
(b) We imagine that we see, feel, touch, measure it etc. because as our senses are refined and extended by our instruments, we discover that what we see, feel, touch, measure etc. is not in fact what we saw felt touched measured etc. and that the way we experience what we see, feel, touch, measure etc is determined by our very limited innate ability to sense reality, (hardwiring), and our personal and cultural interpretations of our experiences (learning).
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by:a10u8r
ID: 8454086
And the word "just" !
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by:scdevine
ID: 8466435
Is your experience of matter a real experience?

That is:  is it reproducible and consistent?

Or barring that, does it conform to whatever standard you find appropriate to stipulate that something is in fact real?

If my imagination is reproducible and consistent (my choices for stipulating that something is real) about the way I experience an imaginary chunk of matter, then it is ok for me to treat it as real.

Meaning is an agreement about how we shall treat symbols, and each other.

A substance is a category of experience.
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by:Konsequenz
ID: 8601131
Berkeley's Three Dialogues explains this topic completely: “To be is to be perceived.”

What this means is that nothing that cannot be perceived is real. So the question is not whether the gun at the North Pole makes a sound if no one is there, but whether or not there is a gun.

Basically Berkeley says that matter doesn’t exist, that we are all just perceiving things that make us think they exist. So why can’t we fly, walk through walls, etc?

Berkeley’s answer: God. God holds the “rules” of the land in place.

Why do things feel hot and cold?

Berkeley’s answer: The heat and cold is in you. You perceive it to be real. It is not the stove that is hot but your perception of the stove being hot that makes you feel heat.

MY answers: Berkeley is wrong; matter exists. I’m too much a scientist to think otherwise, but it is a really good argument and anyone interested in this topic should read the book.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8601235
So what your saying is this Berkeley guy is a crack head?
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by:Konsequenz
ID: 8602321
Not really. He was an Irish Bishop, and a Philosopher.
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by:OregonEd
ID: 9052889
Interesting reading, ladies and gentlemen. I think you're ready now to absorb the answer:

"Matter" as we have defined it is "Real."  Defined: physical substance; true existance.
   Further, MATTER, physical substance, has atomic / molecular construction.
                REAL, true existance, is proven through examination.

No matter how many times a piece of MATTER is examined, it remains the same -- no matter WHO does the exam.

Proof #2.

MATTER is subject to specific physical laws, as can be proven in ANY physics lab in the world. No matter where you are, matter will result in almost identical results from ANY test.

Proof #3.

Subjective thinking can vary between individuals. I can use the letters d-e-r to express a color, RED, that you may not perceive as I do.  You may insead perceive the letters to realy be ERD, which could be a man's name.  Another may see DRE as a girl's name.  Each of us is perceiving based on our perceptions, using subjective skills as we have no physical referent.

When we have a physical referent, we agree on the generalities of what we see.

Proof #4.

She prounounces her name JIANG QI.  

It is variously pronounced SHANG KEY, CHANG KAY, and other combinations of sound.  

When SHE tells us, we know how it's pronounced BY HER.

A parallel illustration:  Pronounce these sounds:    PO LOP ON IES.

A long time ago I learned it was an aberrant way of expressing fast horses: POLO PONIES.

Some would say that Humor doesn't matter.

Perhaps they're right.
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by:sis7653
ID: 9210397
james;
Please come back and finalize (close) this question. I am anxiously waiting as I assume the experts are also!
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by:a10u8r
ID: 9211339
james,
I claim the points because
1.)as I stated matter is real (supported most recently by OregonEd).
AND
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by:a10u8r
ID: 9211361
james,
           I claim the points because I came up with the correct answer
1.)     Matter is demonstrably real. (supported most recently by OregonEd)
AND;
2.)      We imagine that we can see it, feel it, touch it, etc.;
although our instruments show that what we see, feel, touch, etc. is not the full picture, but a beautiful interplay between bits of reality (sensory data), eyes, ears etc. (our sensory apparatus), and brain or mind (data-interpretation and translation mechanism) - therefore, what we perceive as real (had to see it to believe it) is imagined from insufficient data

thanks!!

(hope you agree)
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by:OregonEd
ID: 9213486
a10, the debate may rest on whether your or my explanation is "more elegant."

We both perceived different approaches to our explanations.  HOWEVER, I must acknowledge your "Inate sensory" remark.

I remarked about tests, which result in identical answers anywhere in the world -- in other words, the tests themselves provide us with responses we can "appreciate."  However, I did omit our limited sensory range.  We can only feel certain vibrations; SLF is below our threshold, etc.  
     Likewise, we can only hear certain vibrations. Again, SLF is below our ability to hear, and 21,000 cycles per second (Hz) is the upper limit of unaided hearing before old age sets in. (My ears cut out at 9,000 Hz; so when they sing a note that's 11,000 Hz, I see the open mouth and while I may sense something, I do not "hear" it.)  
    AND, our eyes are also limited to their visual range.  Some of us don't see in color, or get our colors mixed, or are blind to colors -- however, the bottom line is that our physical senses are limited.

On the other hand, machines may be designed to register happenings and instnaces above and beyond our senses. Perhaps the most familiar one is a speedometer -- we knew we were going fast, but only the Police Officer knows HOW fast!  More to the point, radiation meters, light magnifiers, various sound equipment operations . . . and tons of lab equipment report on things, or create, or magnify, and so forth.  Most of us are familiar with the Electron Microscope, which shows the large amount of space existing in, for example, my desk. (Why, then, is it always messy? No place to put it? No, I'm merely disorganized.)

Of the 75 points, I'll agree to your getting 50.  However, do I get any credit for the logical framework in which I responded -- as I was the only one to use a framework and not get sidetracked (as I am in this message)?
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by:a10u8r
ID: 9214814
Ed,
     I don't pretend to be elegant, I'm probably a bit clunky.
I claimed to be right, but I'm probably not as gracious as you are, Thanks.
I'm happy to abide by the Umpires decision on this one anyway because, no matter how real the right answer is, the points will go to the answer that james sees, feels, etc. to be right.
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by:SunBow
ID: 9220115
SunBow gets points, because none of the rest here are real people after all, just formatted pixellations.  "Gimme Points"

a10u8r>  the points will go to the answer that james sees, feels, etc. to be right.

Naw, james also not here, even pixelations, having deserted own question and EE long ago. Begations of the pixelated mods may be in order

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by:OregonEd
ID: 9220722
Psst.  Do you think he means DELETIONS are in order?  Hey, A10, let them delete everyone else but thee and me.  I like your thinking.  

As for SunBow, well, we all know what happens when you don't cover up in the fullness of the summer sun.  People in France died ... elsewhere, they just went crazy.  Read some of the answers around here!
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by:mount_diablo
ID: 9280295
I claim the points because I was rudely interrupted in another Q and was transported to this ine, proving that what is said... matters, and as such proves the existence of matter. Or something like that.
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by:bsod
ID: 9280684
I am a figment of your imagination. You can only disprove this by giving me points.
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by:mount_diablo
ID: 9280948
bsod,
Didn't we agree years ago that all of us are an advanced form of AI?
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by:bsod
ID: 9281122
Did you just say something or did I just imagine it?  ;-)
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by:cookre
ID: 9281465
I'm going to take a nap in a few minutes, so y'all should prepare to disappear. except for bsod, the only reality my NT box knows.

When I wake, I'd like a crawsawnt, please.
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by:mount_diablo
ID: 9281581
Ooooohhhhhh, bsod has a girl friend, bsod has a girl friend, bsod has a girl friend...
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by:bsod
ID: 9281725
Now I *know* I'm just imagining things!
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by:mount_diablo
ID: 9281824
Hmmm, judging by the age of this thread, young james has abandoned his question.
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by:cookre
ID: 9283123
Yeah, and it sounds like they're living in SIN!
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by:OregonEd
ID: 9285271
Mount, how do you know BSOD's got a GIRL friend?  Isn't the latest fad a DIFFERENT friend?

Such as an Imp, or a Fiend, or even (gasp!) a red head!

Note: this response is not intended to contend for, or qualify for, any points.
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by:OregonEd
ID: 9285290
James' question just hit me:

IT DOESN'T MATTER.

Nothing matters. It's all immaterial.  

You're still breathing, I'm still breathing (yeah, well, you get the good, I go along for the ride) -- but IT DOES NOT MATTER.  

Life is IMMATERIAL -- even though it's real (Yes, I bleed.  What's different?  I bleed blue.)

So, James gets his laugh.  Which, of course, doesn't matter.
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by:mount_diablo
ID: 9287774
"Yeah, and it sounds like they're living in SIN! "

HAHA, cookre, I was talking about YOU!! LOL


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by:cookre
ID: 9288958
(just don't tell SWMBO, she may fear for her income stream)
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by:phasedenergy
ID: 10424753
do you believe you are real?
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ID: 11021814
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