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ETpro's avatar

Doesn't common sense tell us that this Universe isn't ruled by common sense?

Asked by ETpro (34581points) November 14th, 2013

I mean, common sense tells us that there’s a first time for everything, right? Oh and also, common sense tells us there is nothing new under the Sun, right?

Common sense tells us that once time starts running, it goes on forever. But common sense also says nothing can go on forever. And whether physicists think it’s a well formed question or not, common sense says that time should run infinitely into the past, before the Big Bang.

Perhaps there was no space time before the Big Bang, but just projecting our thoughts there puts “something” there, and common sense says where something goes, it goes through time. Likewise, how can the Universe have an end? Is there a wall you can’t step through? What’s outside the wall?

When we look at the microscopic scale, we run head-on into quantum mechanics which flies in the face of all human reason. Likewise, on an astronomical scale, the human mind boggles.

Why would we think that common sense developed via evolution to help us survive as hunter gathers on the savannas would be predictive at the quantum and astronomical scales that our world really flows from? It’s just not common sense.

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15 Answers

pleiades's avatar

“common sense tells us that there’s a first time for everything, right?”

Not sure I agree with this, as a kid growing up I was always out for adventures and I learned valuable experiences that way, by observation, trial and error etc.

“common sense tells us there is nothing new under the Sun, right?”

Also this, I can’t completely agree with. I mean as it pertains me I understand fully there are new species on Earth being discovered almost every 4 months. And we’ve yet to fully identify many space anomalies yet go on to teach it in college courses.

Is there a way you can simplify what you’re asking? I’m really just trying to feel this question out at this point

Jaxk's avatar

You’re trying to take common sense, which deals with concepts and apply it to details. It doesn’t work.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Isn’t common sense learned to a degree? In my opinion it is as so many people seem to lack it. Some people call it ‘street smarts’.

I often equate common sense with intelligence TO A DEGREE (because not everyone with a high IQ has common sense I’ve noticed), so common sense tells me there are a lot of ‘people -clueless’ people in the world -lol, we don’t even understand our own species and how they act, let alone at the quantum and astronimical scales.

Have you ever noticed how many really smart people have poor social skills? Think Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, and really I’ve come across quite a few in my life and they really are like that!

OneBadApple's avatar

Philosophical discussion of common sense as it might relate to the cosmos always…..makes….....me…..slee…..................

bea2345's avatar

@KNOWITALLI often equate common sense with intelligence: “Common sense come before book”: West Indian proverb.

Pachy's avatar

“Common sense” is something of an oxymoron these days. Putting that aside—and I hasten to say I’m not a scholar, physicist or philosopher, only a guy who’s been around long enough to have seen how little in life does make sense (at least to me) and how little of that can be made to make sense (at least by me)—it seems to me that while many things may be commonly agreed upon, it does not follow that they are necessarily true.

flutherother's avatar

Common sense tells us that the Universe is ruled by common sense. Science, which has sharper vision tells us that it isn’t.

Blondesjon's avatar

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason. – Thomas Paine

The Universe has all the time in the world.

kritiper's avatar

No. Common sense tells me that it isn’t ruled.

snowberry's avatar

Common sense isn’t common sense on Fluther unless it’s backed up by at least one placebo controlled double blind peer reviewed study. Otherwise it doesn’t count!

OneBadApple's avatar

…..........uhhpp…....huhh ?.........What’d I miss ?

drhat77's avatar

common sense is the only way we can perceive our world. It’s the heuristics that allows our brain to identify inside the complex systems the multiple simple systems we can understand, thereby reducing the burden of problem solving tremendously.
I remember once telling someone who said “Einsteinian physics made no sense, what was wrong with Newtonian physics?”, that in fact physics hasn’t made sense since Aristotle. And one would see just how much Newtonian physics didn’t make sense when, as an astronaut, you jumped off the flat surface of the ISS, and after waiting too long for you to fall back down to it… you don’t, but instead drift off into space. While one part of your brain recognizes Newton’s laws, every other part is flipping out because you aren’t falling back down after your jump.

graynett's avatar

Einstein! when teaching gave out exam papers. One clever student remarked “are not these the same as last years”. “yes” said Einstein “only this years answers are different”

kess's avatar

Love makes perfect sense and it is common to all.
It laid the foundation of the universe and nothing can be built except by it.
But yet…
There is another sense which is common to all.
It thrives by super imposing itself upon love, and covers it with concentric layers upon layers, theory upon theory, thus giving itself the appearance of perfect sense.
With this cloak it now has the ability to deceive, and a deception so powerful
that it has created an alternative universe, by which it keeps the seeing eyes averted that they may not see the reality of the True Universe neither the real nature of this other sense.

This is the place where vanity rules as one imposes himself upon his neighbors both striving after the things which deceit causes them to accept as Life itself.

Not realising that they are all part and parcel of their own created graveyard.

This they will continue to do because they have abandoned the simplicity of the Good sense, which is the epitome of all knowledge embodied in the sincerity of Love, which is the principal thing.

ETpro's avatar

@pleiades Clearly I don’t agree with the two proverbs I started the question with, because they are self contradictions. And yet they are both widely repeated proverbs that supposedly are simple common sense.

Regarding teaching science that is not yet complete, how would science ever move toward complete understanding if we waited until we understood the complete Universe before beginning to teach how to use the tools to gain that understanding?

No, I can’t make the question simpler. I tried, but it kept getting more complex, so at some point I quit trying and posted it as is.

@Jaxk If infinity isn’t a concept, then there is no such thing as concepts. Superposition is a concept. I defy you to show me a chunk of superposition. I can’t grasp your logic there, but you get a Great Answer every time we don’t lock horns on political ideology. :-)

@KNOWITALL Sure, to a large degree, we either do or don’t learn common sense. There is some wired in. Fight or flight. Extra vigilance in unfamiliar situations. Evolution taught us those, and not just us but most of our animal cousins. But that’s just the point. We didn’t evolve to deal with a Universe that’s at least 94 billion light years across and 13.73 billion years old. Trying to claim that our common sense gives us a full understanding of what is and isn’t possible in such an impossible, but existent Universe, seems to me preposterous.

@OneBadApple Yes. I know I have that effect on some people. Good night…

@OneBadApple Yes. I know I have that effect on some people. Good morning…

@bea2345 Excellent proverb. That gets to the heart of this question.

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room Well said. I don’t know whether that triggered the memory of Thomas Paine’s quote in @Blondesjon‘s mind, but it goes to the same idea. Great answers, both.

@flutherother That is an excellent way of stating it. Thanks.

@kritiper Seems to me it isn’t ruled, it rules.

@snowberry That really depends on what you are talking about. Double blind studies have proved lots of common sense solutions to be absolute BS. If discussions about cosmology and quantum physics bother you, common sense might be to avoid them. And I’d have no problem whatsoever with that sort of common sense.

@drhat77 If a quantum physicist tries to perceive the world he studies strictly through common sense, he’d make a very, very poor and misinformed physicist indeed.

@graynett Ha! What a wonderful sense of dry humor Einstein had.

@kess Prove it.

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