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Author Topic: our understanding of whats real  (Read 3565 times)

Offline ukmicky

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our understanding of whats real
« on: 22/07/2005 02:52:36 »
Can a person who has been blind from birth ever understand what light is, or put another way if life on earth never evolved eyes, would visable light be a phenonomen that we would never know about or understand, so much so that  if someone  came up with the idea they would be branded a lunatic


 

Offline VAlibrarian

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Re: our understanding of whats real
« Reply #1 on: 22/07/2005 04:28:39 »
I suppose I would agree with your idea. A blind person seated in bright sunshine would have a feeling of warmth on exposed skin, but "Warm" and "bright" are slightly different. They could understand from their sensation that light is a thing, although they may not experience it fully.

It actually took the human race a long time to understand alot of basic things about the world around us. When did we understand that air is made up of tiny particles even though they are invisible? Blow hard at the palm of your hand and you feel something- but you have to think to understand what that thing may be.

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Offline neilep

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Re: our understanding of whats real
« Reply #2 on: 22/07/2005 04:33:57 »
Even with sight, there probably are phenomena that we are blind to, but, as you speculate, if we existed as non seeing creatures then I can't imagine how we could ever prove that visible light existed. If the sum total of our visible perception was literally just 'null' then I can not imagine how an alternate visible phenonemen could ever be conceived, perhaps with equipment it may be detected but how could we ever understand it ?

Could there be a difference between being born blind with eyes and not having any eyes at all , I wonder ?

One way to an answer would be to see if anyone here knows someone who has been blind from birth and ask them !!

Though I believet that no one or any thing, can truly understand something like a sense, unless they have actually experienced it first hand.

I suppose it's entirely possible that a race of sentient but totally blind people/species could exist. I can't imagine what society would be like apart from it being totally alien to what we know. Interesting one to contemplate though.

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Offline DrN

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Re: our understanding of whats real
« Reply #3 on: 22/07/2005 13:25:23 »
well, we only see teh portion of teh light spectrum called 'visible light', fairly obviously. but there are wavelengths that we can't see, but we know they exist, like there are sound wavelengths that we can't hear, but we know they exist. all down to us creating technology that is 'better' than us in these respects that can sense these things. I'm sure there are lots of people who know more about this than me.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: our understanding of whats real
« Reply #4 on: 22/07/2005 15:08:17 »
The fact that we can actually see though does provide us with a big advantage to perceive other wavelengths and understand their existence as opposed to soemeone who has never seen before.

I suppose the same could be said for hearing. say we were a race with the inability to hear, how could we possible understand the nature of sound ?

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Offline ukmicky

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Re: our understanding of whats real
« Reply #5 on: 22/07/2005 20:20:03 »
My reason for posting the original thread was because i was wondering if the possibility existed
for other forces as important as light that we dont know about because we may not have the means to view and understand them,even though they could be all around us.
« Last Edit: 22/07/2005 20:21:02 by ukmicky »
 

Offline neilep

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Re: our understanding of whats real
« Reply #6 on: 22/07/2005 21:30:47 »
quote:
Originally posted by ukmicky

My reason for posting the original thread was because i was wondering if the possibility existed
for other forces as important as light that we dont know about because we may not have the means to view and understand them,even though they could be all around us.



I have no doubt your postulation is correct !...I think the more we discover, the more questions are asked..and it would not surprise me at all ,that what we know is infinitesimal to what there is to be learned. i am sure there are fundamental rules and regulations that govern this Universe that we can't even begin to have the capacity to understand.....and that's what I have to say about that :D

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Offline Ultima

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Re: our understanding of whats real
« Reply #7 on: 23/07/2005 14:25:35 »
Yeh blind people would wonder why sometimes they were heated from certain angels at certain times... they would have the concept of night and day, as a passing of warmth to cold and back again. Eventually they would work out that this moves throughout the day and that if you are in a cave or something it is like "night". So they would eventually come to the same conclusions as us, but have a very different conceptual model of light. The thing is that sight was one of the very first senses to come about in evolution. Anything that photosynthesises in essence can "see". Plants grow towards the light; they don't have eyes but concentrations of growth hormones, guiding them by how productive their leaves are. Photosynthesis has been around a while, and anything that needed to actively hunt for food instantly had an advantage if it could sense its prey at a distance, the most obvious way to do this on a microscopic scale (zooplankton) is to use light since your prey isnít making any noticeable sound. As soon as you got a photosensitive molecule in a cell doing something; you had sight, and it was bound to improve with time.

In respect to what is real... If there are a mountain of particles forces etc. that don't interact with us in anyway and exist in totally different dimensions from the 4 big ones we inhabit. They donít effect our reality, but we sure as hell can have a go at understanding them. Just need to build our selves a camera on a big pole in the direction of the other dimension, ;) something those pesky ants on the surface of a sphere could never do. We wont however understand the fundamental properties of that other reality since we could only interpret it through maths, which is why Quantum Mechanics and all that lark is hard for people to accept since it deals with scales us humans were never designed to conceive of. But think about it occasionally we get a few uber brains that come along, get a piece of chalk and move our understanding along. Having a knock on effect of over 100 years of technological development. Eventually our puny brains will evolve to comprehend the universe at its most fundamental level, just because we are trying to do so!


Imagine the Earth is over populated and dying from pollution (not hard to do :)). This forces us to either clean up our act on a global terra-forming scale or to travel and do the same on other worlds. Oh wait nothing we understand at present will get us there in time. Hey what's that stuff between planets, and why do they go around each other. If we could harness that magical stuff we could zap ourselves straight to where we want to go.... "Ok lads the next 20 generations are going to learn EVERYTHING, we'll soon be at EarthII". If those ants had stepped up on the shoulders of their ancestors, they would have soon grasped the concept of a 3D space.

wOw the world spins?
« Last Edit: 23/07/2005 14:46:20 by Ultima »
 

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Re: our understanding of whats real
« Reply #7 on: 23/07/2005 14:25:35 »

 

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