On Continuity

The universe could have come into existence only one second ago. It could have been created in an instant, containing everything that you experience, including evidence of the past which would make you believe that it had been around for billions of years.

The sun might not come up tomorrow. What makes you think it will? I expect it's the fact that it has come up every day in the past. What reason is there to believe that the laws of reality which we understand will continue to operate? We've been able to create a system of understanding that has predictive power by observation, and the predictions rely on the future being like the past. Ultimately, there's no reason to believe that it will be.

Reality is continuous enough that a system which is self-sustaining will continue to exist. Evolution relies on this principle, and if we are the products of evolution then it is natural that we assume that reality is continuous. If things were otherwise we wouldn't exist.

Science judges models by their predictive power and their simplicity. The simplest theory with the greatest predictive power is valued most highly. (This is the reason for the struggle for a Grand Unified Theories.) The choice of simplicity is utilitarian. Simpler theories are (a) easier to deal with, and (b) tend to be more powerful because they unify, and can be extrapolated. (Extrapolation is just predictive power again.) Predictive power rests on the assumption that the future will be like the past.

Does all our modern rationalist materialist thinking rest on this assumption?