Interface Theory of Perception (ITP) tells us that our perceptions constitute an interface, specific to our species. It hides reality and helps us raise kids.
Spacetime is the desktop on this interface and physical objects are among its icons.” (¶1)
In this chapter 6, Hoffman samples cutting edge theoretical physics to underpin his theorem. This tour through the quantum realm, at the very boundary between atoms and universal background energy, is fascinating. As for Hoffman’s conclusion and implications, they are fascinating science fiction for reasons I will make clear as we go through his text.
“Perceptions constitute an interface, specific to our species” is easy to explain without reaching for twinkle dust. Every creature has a unique life style, with a unique body plan, sensing abilities, mental abilities, environmental demands and so on.
Eyes are optical instruments, they cannot help but receive the reflected light coming at them. How well they can process, resolve and act upon those signals is altogether a different question - one that is independent of the physical reality of the object reflecting said light.
A review of Donald Hoffman’s, Case Against Reality,
chapter 6, Gravity - Spacetime is Doomed
Is spacetime threatened by the qubit?
Before we look at Hoffman's pronouncements, I want to share a talk by Sean Carroll who offers us a more scientifically trustworthy baseline of current physics understanding.
You won’t notice any of the red flags of deception that pepper Hoffman’s presentations. Not that Carroll doesn’t present some amazing theoretical conjectures that do seem to echo Hoffman’s - thing is, Professor Carroll presents them within a more balanced framework.
This is what a scientist sounds like.
Mysteries of Modern Physics by Sean Carroll
Jan 29, 2020 - Darwin College Lecture Series
. . . these are the particles that make up you and this table and me and this laptop and really everything that you have ever seen with your eyes touched with your fingers smelled with your nose in your life.
Furthermore we know how they interact with each other and even better than that, the most impressive fact is that there will not be a discovery tomorrow or next century or a million years from now which says you know what there was another particle or another force that we didn't know about but now we realize plays a crucial role in our everyday life.
As far as our everyday life is concerned by which I really mean what you can see with your eyes touch with your hands etc we’re done find me the underlying ingredients. That is an enormous achievement in human history one that does not get enough credit, because of course as soon as we do it we go on to the next thing.
Physics is not done. I'm not saying that physics is done, but physics has understood certain things and those things include everything you encounter in your everyday life - unless you're a professional experimental physicist or unless you're looking of course outside our everyday life at the universe and other places where we don't know what’s going on. …
DH begins: “ITP makes bold and testable predictions.
Testable by what? A theorem of Hoffman’s own design. Anything else?
If you have his book, check the paragraphs I skip, let me know if you can spot any actual testable predictions being outlined - as opposed to what-if stories. I can’t.
DH: “It predicts that spoons and stars - all objects in space and time - do not exist when unperceived or unobserved.
Something exist when I see a spoon, and that something, whatever it is, triggers my perceptual system to create a spoon and endow it with a position, a shape, a motion, and other physical properties.
But, when I look away, I no longer create that spoon and it ceases to exist, along with its physical properties. …” (¶2)