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5/11/09

(1)Puzzles of Science (2)Vic Mansfield: Reality Is Neither The Subjective Nor The Objective

We continue in our lives in the confidence that this is the way things are. Light is there; things we see are there. We think it all happens now, but it doesn't. We look at a tree. The light revealing it has taken 8 minutes to reach it from the sun. Whatever we see is in delay mode. We don't get things real time. The visual area of the brain simulates what is recorded on the retinas--not what is out there. We get approximations, not "reality." As well, consider this. There are many unsolved scientific puzzles. Here are a few:

  • Most of the universe is missing. We can only account for 4 per cent of the cosmos.
  • Two spacecraft are flouting the laws of physics and scientists cannot figure out why. This has been going on for a long time.
  • One thing we thought we could trust is the physical world, but "the fundamental constants of physics might not be so constant after all."
  • When you hear music is it all only a bio-chemical reaction? What explains the beauty you feel on listening to Bach? Or are you only "a bag of chemicals"? Science simply cannot explain the leap from what it understands to your sense of being you.

    Check out other puzzles here.

    Astrophysicist Vic Mansfield refused to think of his consciousness as merely a function of neurons and synapses. Nor did he reject the physical and turn to the spiritual. In his book Head and Heart he explained his point of view:

    "This book tries to show that reality is both intrinsically rational and objective and, simultaneously, a super-rational and subjective unity underlying diversity. In other words, reality cannot be reduced to the objective world of science nor to the subjective unity of the mystics. It intrinsically has both these seemingly incompatible aspects. Failure to embrace them both artificially limits reality and diminishes both our experience of reality and our sense of what it means to be human. Such lopsided views lead to extremism, despair, and moral paralysis." From chapter 1 of Head and Heart, found here. His site is explained as "exploring the relation of science to our inner life."

    Vic Mansfield, died in 2008 of lymphoma. His obituary is on a page at the above link.
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