Paradigms themselves are neither true nor false: they
are either held by a given scientific community or not held by that
-Who Got Einstein's Office, p
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.
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.