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Who Am I?

Paradigms themselves are neither true nor false: they are either held by a given scientific community or not held by that community.

  -Who Got Einstein's Office, p 217

The Physical is that which comes via the senses.  Most of this knowledge is directly experienced, such as the earth and all its parts, animals, plants, tools, and other persons.  These are usually shared experiences, and it is easy to discuss them with others, as we have a large vocabulary of agreed terms.  This is considered to be objective reality, that is, having an independent existence beyond our abilities to perceive them.  This is the reductionist scientific position, that this is the whole of reality.  It is also the existentialist position.  There are well-known traditions that consider the physical world to be an illusion, such as the Maya of the Buddhists, or an emanation of God, according to Kabbalists.  It will become clear that there are many physicists with a similar viewpoint.  It is well known that the senses can be misleading, and even lie.  Scientific experimental results also come via the senses.  The scientific method insists that all valid information about reality must be obtained via the senses, but much of modern physical theory is obtained by measuring the paths and energy of particle collisions, and deducing unseen and unmeasured particles from apparent violations of conservation laws.  So it is illogical to assume that everything about reality can be known from our particular senses.  

Any scientist or engineer knows that our scientific theories are only models, or descriptions, of reality.  These models are well known to be metaphors and approximations, but are excellent and useful descriptions in order to predict behavior and make use of resources.  Models are never rejected because they do not describe reality perfectly, only when they are supplanted by models that better match reality, and often not even then.  Unfortunately, physicists have rejected all sources of knowledge that are not obtainable via the senses because of their unreasonably restrictive epistemology and irrational fear of metaphysical explanations, and must therefore ignore a large area of human knowledge.  This severely hampers their ability to formulate more complete models of reality.