At the start of 2011, I posted a series of articles dealing with the nature of reality — more accurately, the nature of our descriptions of reality.
The series was later edited into a longer essay titled “Is Reality Unreal?” In that essay, I concluded that “there is ‘reality,’ as far as we can know it, and there is ‘truth,’ as far as we can perceive it.”
This practical position acknowledged that our understanding of the universe and of the forces and things within it, including ourselves, is constrained by the limits of our perception and the scope of our reason. Continue reading
Richard Dawkins loves Lawrence Krauss’s A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing, claiming that it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or at the very least since The Origin of Species.
What Dawkins loves is the book’s contention that not only did the universe emerge from nothing, but that it had to do so. So much for the teleology implicit in “Why is there something rather than nothing?” And nothing makes Dawkins happier than something that demolishes what he calls “the last trump card of the theologian.”
Or maybe not. Continue reading
Underlying some of the consciousness discussion here recently is the fundamental question “Where Is Reality?” — or, in its more provocative version, “Is Reality Real?”
The ongoing debate about the nature of consciousness is in one sense a narrow-focus version of this broader question.
Thirteen and a half billion years ago, something happened. Billions, perhaps trillions of years from now, nothing will ever happen again.
For a short time near the beginning of that unimaginable span, conditions in the universe are right for life. For an instant during that window of existence, humans live. And for a brief part of that instant, you and I live.
Yes, I’ve been watching cosmology documentaries again. Sigh. Continue reading