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Old May 10 2013, 07:56 PM   #1
sonak
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one question about objective reality you'd want answered

If you could find out the answer to one question about something objective about the universe that would make you happy, what would it be? (so no questions like "will I ever get married?" Will the Cubs win the world series in my lifetime?" etc. it's supposed to be something theoretically answerable now)

what would it be?


is there an afterlife?
is there a God?
is time travel possible?
is there intelligent life on other planets?

those are examples of what I mean
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Old May 10 2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

I'd say if I could have tangible proof to confirm or deny any one of those questions you listed, I'd have to pick is there intelligent life on other planets. Knowing that would put the concept of humanity in perspective.
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Old May 10 2013, 08:07 PM   #3
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

sonak wrote: View Post

is there an afterlife?
is there a God?
These are pretty much the big ones, aren't they?

Truthfully, I don't know. As neat as it would be to know if there is alien life, I can live without finding that out. Unless I am ever going to have any kind of interaction with that life, its existence is ultimately irrelevant to my own. Same with time travel. Unless we're actually going to discover how to do it in my lifetime, I can't really be bothered to care.

So I don't know what question I'd want to answer.
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Old May 10 2013, 08:12 PM   #4
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

There is no way of knowing if (and no reason to think that) your first two questions, just like any other metaphysical question, are even theoretically answerable.
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Old May 10 2013, 08:16 PM   #5
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
There is no way of knowing if (and no reason to think that) your first two questions, just like any other metaphysical question, are even theoretically answerable.
Why wouldn't they be answerable? I assume we're asking the question and just being bestowed the truth; we don't need to be able to prove it.
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Old May 10 2013, 08:22 PM   #6
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

I can't possibly comment on at least two of those questions, in regards to "objective reality" (seems rather redundant there), without terribly offending many people.
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Old May 10 2013, 08:39 PM   #7
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

auntiehill wrote: View Post
I can't possibly comment on at least two of those questions, in regards to "objective reality" (seems rather redundant there), without terribly offending many people.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure i can some how manage to offend someone regardless of how i worded things on any of these =/
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Old May 10 2013, 08:43 PM   #8
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

sonak wrote: View Post
If you could find out the answer to one question about something objective about the universe that would make you happy, what would it be? (so no questions like "will I ever get married?" Will the Cubs win the world series in my lifetime?" etc. it's supposed to be something theoretically answerable now)

what would it be?


is there an afterlife?
is there a God?
is time travel possible?
is there intelligent life on other planets?
Is there intelligent life on THIS planet?

Oh come on, SOMEBODY was gonna ask.....

That said, I want answers to ALL of these questions.
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Old May 10 2013, 08:53 PM   #9
Third Nacelle
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

I guess the most basic question I can think of would be "Why is there something rather than nothing?"
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Old May 10 2013, 08:56 PM   #10
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
There is no way of knowing if (and no reason to think that) your first two questions, just like any other metaphysical question, are even theoretically answerable.
Why wouldn't they be answerable? I assume we're asking the question and just being bestowed the truth; we don't need to be able to prove it.
That would just be religion. I'm not satisfied being bestowed the truth, nor would I trust anyone who would bestow truth upon me without evidence.

As to why they wouldn't be answerable, that depends on how the question is framed. You can define god in a way that can be tested and disproved; if, for example, you claim god is a being who answers prayers then you could disprove that by doing a controlled experiment to see if prayer has any effect. This has been done, and it's been proved that prayer does not do anything. But you can also define god in such a way that his existence is unfalsifiable, and therefore not within the realm of science (or reality). If you claim that there was a creator who created the universe at the point of the big bang so that it would develop exactly as it is observed and that he directed evolution so that it would proceed exactly as observed and took incredibly great pains to make it look as if there was no intelligence behind it at all for some reason (or maybe was just drunk), then the proposed created universe would bear no observable difference to the actual universe and thus the claim is unfalsifiable and unprovable.

Of the 4 questions, the last one is the only one I'm really interested in. Though the time travel one is exciting as well. I'm pretty sure the answers to 1 through 3 are no, though, and there's not enough evidence for them being 'yes' to excite me into wanting answers.
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Old May 10 2013, 09:01 PM   #11
sonak
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

auntiehill wrote: View Post
I can't possibly comment on at least two of those questions, in regards to "objective reality" (seems rather redundant there), without terribly offending many people.

I was just giving examples of the types of questions I meant, not attempting to get answers or comments about those specific ones. Sorry if I was unclear.

As to "objective reality," I just mean a truth about the universe that could theoretically be verified now, just so we didn't get questions like "will I ever be happy?" or something like that. I guess my phrasing was awkward.
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Old May 10 2013, 09:02 PM   #12
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

auntiehill wrote: View Post
I can't possibly comment on at least two of those questions, in regards to "objective reality" (seems rather redundant there), without terribly offending many people.
Meh...my half sister once threw a hissy fit over something I wrote on FB (it was really benign too), and I pointed out to her that if her faith was offended by facts then she'd better get a stronger faith or give it up.
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Old May 10 2013, 09:07 PM   #13
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
RoJoHen wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
There is no way of knowing if (and no reason to think that) your first two questions, just like any other metaphysical question, are even theoretically answerable.
Why wouldn't they be answerable? I assume we're asking the question and just being bestowed the truth; we don't need to be able to prove it.
That would just be religion. I'm not satisfied being bestowed the truth, nor would I trust anyone who would bestow truth upon me without evidence.
I am operating under the assumption that whoever/whatever is giving me this knowledge has done the legwork and proven it.

Maybe "bestow" is the wrong word. What if it was something we were born knowing, rather than something we discovered? Universal truths that we are simply aware of.

Not belief. Not faith. Not religion. Just truth. Like gravity. Maybe we didn't always know what gravity was, but we always knew it was there, even if we didn't know that we knew it was there.
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Old May 10 2013, 09:15 PM   #14
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

^But history has shown us that our supposed innate truths are as often wrong as right. Quantum physics turns practically all out innate knowledge about how the universe works right on its head! I'm not going to be satisfied that something is truth (especially something as improbable as god, an afterlife, or time travel), without seeing some pretty darn convincing evidence!
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Old May 10 2013, 09:22 PM   #15
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

Discussing whether or not the questions are answerable completely misses the point of the OP's hypothetical scenario. "If you could find out" is the basic assumption of the question.
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