Voodoo Horroscopes and time

Imagine arriving at an isolated village where each individual of the general population believed in voodoo, magic, mind reading, telekinesis, horoscopes and ghosts to varying degrees.

Assuming that each of the above is almost certainly not a reasonably founded and scientifically proven idea, you may attempt to explain to the villagers how, and why, their beliefs may be unsound.

Doing so in a group meeting, or with an individual might turn out to be an extremely complicated and unending task if approached the wrong way. Because with each issue you untangled, each individual may jump to other unreasonable conclusions to explain what they think they observe.

So, if you explain that voodoo is unfounded and nonsensical, someone might finally agree, but then add “of course voodoo doesn’t exist, it’s ghosts that carry the bad consequences from the witch doctor to his (or her) victim. Another might add, “Don’t be foolish, ghosts don’t exist, my horoscope told me that”, and another “ your right, horoscopes prove that telekinesis is possible, so perhaps it’s actually just telekinesis”, and another “no, the witch doctor just uses mind reading to pick likely victims”, and so on.

The problem with time, I we are actually wrong to assume its existence in any form is that there are many theories or stories as to what it may be and what properties it may have. E.g. does only the past exist, and being constantly built up as the present moves forwards in time. Or does all of time exist but we can only see the present and the past. Or does only the present exist and the past disappear as soon as it is created. Can we travel through time in theory, or in practice or actually not at all. Or is time travel possible because there are infinite universe a traveller could jump to and create different non conflicting timelines, etc , etc.

Thus, similar to our village, even if all our views of time are incorrect, the fact there are so many different views may mean that as we try to disassemble each one, we ‘changes horses’ mid race grasping at other possible versions of time, insisting that unless every possible imagined or reasoned version is disproven the idea must still be considered likely.

With our village of mixed, but probably unfounded beliefs, one possible approach would be to ask everyone present to STOP, clear their minds, and describe what they at first genuinely and in simple terms actually observe to be true. Thus the whole group might agree, we all seem to be here, we can all think and talk, objects seem to exist, we can move them around, and so on.

Then we ask what did you observe that seemed to be explained by voodoo, or ghosts etc, and we run through various examples testing them against the idea that they may be explained in more simple terms until everyone gets the idea that only things that can’t be explained more simply should be brought into question, AND, the idea that things (like voodoo) should only be considered probably real if a sensible proof, as opposed to just widely accepted speculation, can be found.

 

Similarly with the problem of time, we can all stop, and start from our most basic observations, and consider what we actually observe in simple terms, and what we think we observe which may need a thing called time to explain them.

Likewise we also agree that only things that can’t be explained more simply should be brought into question, AND, the idea that things (like ‘the past existing’) should only be considered probably real if a sensible proof, as opposed to just widely accepted speculation, can be found. We can extend this by suggesting that given matter seems to exist, and be able to just move and change and interact, where it has energy,  only things and observations that can’t be explained by these possibilities alone should be suspected to suggest the need of more complicated suppositions and theories to explain them.  

 

 

 

 

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