In other words, can science prove that matter has any objective existence outside of our perception? We have moved beyond Newtonian physics and my interpretation and understanding of Quantum Mechanics is that at a base level everything is energy and matter per-se doesn't exist. But is that true and if not, where's the evidence that matter has an objective reality?

The way I see it is that while consciousness does experience the material world in which we currently live, that world is illusion, albeit an illusion that seems real. Based on that seeing, science and everthing else in the material world is located inside the box of illusion, so I'd love to see evidence from materialists proving beyond doubt the existence of matter.

asked 13 Apr '10, 08:08

Eddie's gravatar image


It sounds like you're basing your question on a proposed definition of matter, since you are saying that at the quantum level everything is energy and matter doesn't exist.

Matter is simply the manifestation of the energy at the quantum level, on a larger scale. Solid objects appear to be solid because the spaces between molecules are too small for us to see. Solid objects do not pass through each other because the molecules vibrate so rapidly that they give the appearance of filling up the empty spaces.

In computer programming we have a term we call "duck typing." The term basically means, "If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck." It's a subtle reminder that, if a program exhibits desired behavior, it doesn't matter what is happening under the hood.

In the same way, matter meets our expectations. When we put our hand on the table, it doesn't pass through the table. Matter therefore exists, and it behaves as we expect it to. But ultimately it's an article of faith, since you can always make the "Matrix" argument.

What it always comes down to is this: If the world is just a figment of my imagination, then can I shape it in unexpected ways, just by changing my mind?


answered 13 Apr '10, 13:50

Vesuvius's gravatar image


edited 13 Apr '10, 13:56

Nice answer - I like your last sentence :-)

(13 Apr '10, 22:12) Michaela

Nice explaination, thanks. Actually I'm not saying, but trying to confirm what others have said, that absent our perception matter doesn't exist. Since materialist always ask for scientific proof I'm asking for it as well. I agree that we know that we are and that the physical exists, but find it interesting that we, apparently, can't scientifically prove our existence. Seems like Bill Hicks was right, we are the imagination of ourselves 8-)

(14 Apr '10, 03:48) Eddie

Also, I'd say it's pretty obvious that we can shape the world in 'expected' ways just by changing our mind. Just look at everything that exists in the world right now that all came from nothing and you have the proof of that...

(14 Apr '10, 03:53) Eddie

Scientific proof requires an observer, because the scientific method requires an observer. That said, a scientist would probably tell you that he believes that, once the experiment is concluded, that matter continues to exist outside of his experiment.

(14 Apr '10, 04:00) Vesuvius
showing 2 of 4 show 2 more comments

Interesting question. Does it matter? Our perceptions and consciousness is the only thing that is important. If we think it is real, then it is. It comes to that famous philosophical question. "If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one around, does it make a sound?"


answered 13 Apr '10, 08:32

RPuls's gravatar image


Thanks. My question is aimed at materialists and I'm open to other's opinions...

(13 Apr '10, 09:02) Eddie
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