Unobservable Things That People Believe In

As comprehensive a list as I can manage. If you can think of other additions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll approve it and consider it as I have time! If I’ve wrongly categorized anything as material or immaterial, let me know that too and I may update.

Black = unobservable and immaterial
Red = unobservable but not immaterial

  • Absences of entities
  • Afterlife or lack of afterlife
  • Aliens (these might be observable one day, however)
  • Appeal (like charisma)
  • Artistic merit
  • Chance or determinism
  • Consciousness
  • Constants in nature (observing effect isn’t the same as observing cause)
  • Dark matter and dark energy
  • Emergent properties
  • Essences (in a mereological sense)
  • Feel (for people without a sense of touch)
  • Flavor (for people without a sense of taste)
  • God (though some conceptions would claim God is observable)
  • Gods (not all gods are immaterial)
  • Importance and/or meaning and/or relevance
  • Information
  • Innovation
  • Karma
  • Laws of logic
  • Laws of nature (see also constants in nature)
  • Light (for blind people)
  • Locations that a person has never observed and will always be incapable of observing (i.e. an elderly person on a deathbed may have never visited Antarctica, but still believes it exists)
  • Morality
  • Numbers (as universal framework)
  • Other beings’ subjective personal experiences
  • Other universes (“parallel” universes, “alternate” universes, etc.)
  • Personality (see also laws of nature)
  • Reality of the past (arguably material for people in the past, but unarguably immaterial for us)
  • Reincarnation
  • Sexual orientation (for asexual people—like me)
  • Smell (for people without a sense of smell)
  • Souls
  • Sound (for the deaf, any sound that doesn’t create a visible physical vibration; for everyone else, any sound that doesn’t create a visible physical vibration and falls outside of a person’s hearing range)
  • Spirits (ghosts, etc.)
  • Symbolic expression and/or theme and/or thematic
  • Time
  • Value

Whether Christian or agnostic, these unobservable realities and possibilities have always fascinated me. Almost any one of them could probably justify its own post or post series of 2000+ words; I could talk about the Fermi paradox, David Hume, Alvin Plantinga, probability, Plato, near-death experiences, and so on in regard to their respective unobservable topics.

For now, though, I leave them listed without any further comment. Make of it what you will. =)


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