I used to watch Woody Woodpecker when I was a kid. At some point in the transition out of my childhood, I watched the intro to the show -- which you can watch here -- and something struck me.... there's a point at about 0:24 into that sequence where Gabby Gator is sticking Woody into an oven, dreaming in a thought balloon of the roasted woodpecker to come out, when suddenly and for no reason at all, the oven turns into a cannon. A short, fat cartoon cannon, but a cannon naetheless. Gabby Gator flees in fear, and an unscathed Woody joyfully gets fired (or maybe fires himself) from the cannon. Now, that childhood mind of mind could accept the anthropomorphized antics of these characters, but there's some ring of fundamental unfairness about that oven-to-cannon transformation, don't you think? What does it signify? Is Woody Woodpecker God? Bestowed with God-like powers, or somehow able to call upon them? There is an absolute and irredeemable break with any hope for internal consistency where such a thing is possible, for if that can occur then what can we possibly know to be real or consistent, or an observation worth the assignment of any informative value at all? Perhaps tomorrow the sun will turn into a giant anvil. Perhaps land and ocean suddenly switch places, for no reason. Perhaps we really are all a butterfly's dream.

This is why I reject any analysis of the Universe which presupposes the possibility that some aspect of the world may be an illusion having a purely metaphysical explanation, one not reducible to scientific understanding. The end of the inquiry, I think, is this. If any portion of our existence is an "illusion" -- by which I mean, a false appearance generated by some higher power which renders the operation of the Universe in some part to be other than that which is consistent with the laws of physics that bind all things -- then everything could be, and there is simply no way to separate "truth" from "illusion," no way to determine what is "real" or if anything is at all; it is like the pulling away of the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, except that instead of revealing that the dramatic feats of an all-powerful Oz were mere parlor tricks of an ordinary man, we learn that the apparent parlor tricks are themselves something else, something which has a root that we may never be able to discern at all. And in such case there is just no point in doing any inquiry at all as to the nature of the Universe because it's a waste of time, a matter of being gamed. If the Universe is in any part an illusion, we have no basis to wonder why the nature of the Universe is as it is, but rather can only wonder why this particular illusion is being presented to us.

But before we reach that point, what in the Universe presented to us is demonstrably inconsistent with a Universe that is not illusory? Many claims have been made, but I know of nothing that has ever yet been proven to have occurred, and to have defied physical explanation. I may be wrong, but if so, what am I missing.

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