In the near future, our understanding of the physical sciences has continued to press forward, but not radically in most veins, and discoveries have largely not upended current theories about the universe. With one exception. Our understanding of brain function has progressed by leaps and bounds, to the point where we can predict human behavior with a high degree of accuracy, based on physical, neurological causes.

The difficulty is, these methods of prediction are only reliable for most people, not for everyone. That is, most people behave exactly as their synaptic structures and hormone balances (etc) would predict, but some do not.

Terminology has been proposed along these lines:

Neuro-Psychic Characteristics are attributes of behavior driven entirely by physical and/or electrochemical processes

Para-Psychic Characteristics are attributes of behavior which appear to flout physical laws

People whose behavior is driven primarily (either continuously or for periods of time) by Para-Psychic Characteristics (that is, whose behavior is not reliably predictable by neuro-chemical and synaptic states beforehand), are referred to as PCs, while those whose behavior is attributable entirely to Neuro-Psychic Characteristics are called NPCs.

Some scientists additionally allege that they have documented sporadic departures of “inanimate” objects from regular causality, and this (possibly only speculative) effect on objects is called Divergent Mechanical action, or just DM Intervention.

What would be the scientific consensus to explain the existence of PCs and NPCs? That we are living in a simulation, or something else?

Question stripped of the playful jargon:

Scientists have succeeded in decoding the brain to the point that they can fully account for the behavior of people by an application of physical laws as we know them. That is, consciousness, or at least behavior, has been "solved", and an accurate and predictive model has been developed to link sense input all the way through to behavioral output. (Handwaving slightly because each person is a highly complicated and and distinct system, resembling but not mirroring other humans.)

However, there exists a minority of people for whom the aforementioned model is not predictive; who, given their training and dietary sugar levels and synaptic map and blah blah blah, ought to react in manner X but do not.

The fact is that the model is predictive for most but not all people. (Like the fact is that there are fossils of animals which are different than those currently observed, but which largely correspond to each other, based on our estimates of the age of the rocks containing them, and the characteristics of those animal fossils changes incrementally based on the age of the rocks.)

The question is, how would scientists (not the general public) be likely to account for the failure of their models for only some people?

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    $\begingroup$ Are you looking from something aside from the standard explanation that we're all living in the Matrix? $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    May 10, 2020 at 17:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What happens if we reset our real universe and everything begins again from the big bang? If the laws of physics remain the same then everything repeats perfectly and you and I are born again, and you ask this same question on this website again, so theoretically everything is already predefined by mathematics and every single decision you and I and the entire world will ever make can be calculated.... Does this mean that our real universe is a simulation? $\endgroup$
    – user75545
    May 10, 2020 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Halfthawed The question isn't really whether we're living in the matrix. The question is, given certain evidence, would the scientific consensus be that we're living in the matrix. $\endgroup$
    – Jedediah
    May 10, 2020 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Jedediah So, you're asking what would be scientist's opinion would be given a set of observations? I'm not sure how that wouldn't qualify as 'opinion-based'. $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    May 10, 2020 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ What you have described (in fact what you have stated in your question) is a lack of scientific consensus. That's your own description of the situations because a consensus in science requires an overwhelming majority. No scientific consensus is possible by your definition of the state of scientific opinion on the problem. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2020 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


The situation that you describe is not that far off from the current situation. For example, we experience consciousness but most of the theories are little more than hand waving. As such, these theories are not testable. Scientific truth requires that it is possible to show that the theory can be falsified; that is, we can run an experiment and get a result that confirms or denies the validity of the theory.

For another example, a lot of physics these days does not satisfy that requirement. Physicists keep working on these theories in the hope that they will come up with just such an experiment but no luck so far. The thinking going into these theories is helpful but unless the theories clear the high bar of fallibility, their primary value is to assist in the consumption of beer and salty snacks.

One could propose that the universe is a simulation, one so well done that it is impossible to discern whether it is a simulation or something "real." One could propose all sorts of notions but these notions are not true science until experiments are devised that can succeed (showing that the theory is still useful) or fail (showing that the theory is not so useful).

There is a hint in your question ("behaviors which appear to flout physical laws.") that there is some Big Book of Physical Laws that defines what are valid physical laws and that anything not in that book must not be canon. True scientists will reply, when asked about the truth of an entry in that book, "All models/theories are wrong, but some are useful". In other words, everything (and I do mean everything) is true until it is not. Newton had a lock on gravity until Einstein's theory explained why Newton's theory failed under certain circumstances. One theory is not true and the other false; rather, both are useful in different ways under different circumstances.

This is not an answer to your question. It is a comment on why your question is based upon assumptions about how science is done that are off the mark. Without the experiments, the scientists are free to wave their hands and speculate wildly, yielding far too many possibilities for me to chase down.

  • $\begingroup$ Do we experience consciousness? It's definitely a fad to believe that we experience it, but this might be a relic of people giving up religion and its notions of souls/spirits. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    May 10, 2020 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ Don't know about you. Don't know about others. But I experience something that is typically referred to as consciousness. Been going on now for 70 decades, so maybe not a fad. $\endgroup$ May 11, 2020 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ You report something that others report to fit in, because failing to report it is seen as shameful or scary. Can you describe this experience? Define it empirically? $\endgroup$
    – John O
    May 11, 2020 at 12:23

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