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There are various physical models to make visible how a theory works, for example:

And there are of course many more examples. But in how far do these models give a good picture of reality (the rubber sheet model certainly does not)? Of course, it depends on the theory, which can be right or wrong or of which this isn't clear yet (also, what once was thought as a true theory can later be considered as wrong, and vice-versa). Are these models merely an aid or is there a "real" connection, correspondence or whatever you call it, to the world? Or is the only real thing the math of the theories (as propagated by Max Tegmark). I guess we (almost) never can tell (or is it the opposite?), but answers can be given and it is certainly discussable.

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    I think the general view in physics is that visualisation models are useful but highly dangerous and often best avoided. – PeterJ Jan 13 '18 at 14:46
  • The math is a way to describe the theories. The theories may be only an approximation to reality. So one can't trust the math either. – Frank Hubeny Jan 21 '18 at 1:47

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