Of all of the anomalies in modern science, especially in the micro-world of particle physics and quantum mechanics that straddle the “I know what I saw” versus the “it can’t be therefore it isn’t” schools of philosophy is the “I know what I saw” enigma in atomic theory that dictates via actual experimental observation that atoms (hence all normal matter and antimatter) is 99.999% empty space. From our macro-world perspective we reply “it can’t be therefore it isn’t” because our world appears to be as close to 100% solid as makes no odds. We can’t pass through solid walls (only Casper the Friendly Ghost can really do that) and so we conclude again that “it can’t be therefore it isn’t”. It’s one of the rare times the scientist says “yes” and the layperson says “no way”.
If atoms are 99.999% empty space you’d think you’d have Superman’s X-Ray vision, only in the visible part of the spectrum, and could even without trying see through ‘solid’ matter, maybe even clear through Planet Earth* itself. Yet you can’t even see one millimetre into your own body. You might therefore conclude that there must be a sufficient number of atoms along your line of sight that ultimately block the visible light photons from passing on through whatever hunk of matter you are looking at**. Either that, or perhaps the wavelength of the visible light photons were such that they were too large to squeeze through the empty space inside of the atoms or the atomic structure concerned, like molecules. But that would be strange since the light-waves have no trouble passing through your eyeball and ultimately your eyeball is made up of atoms. Ah, but your eyeball, well your lens anyway, is transparent and that makes all the difference. Or does it?
You can see through many metres of distilled water, but probably not through many metres of pure distilled ice. There’s even less atoms in the pure ice since ice is less dense than liquid water which makes this even more of an anomaly than would otherwise be the case.
In a really real reality, if all of the hydrogen and oxygen atoms that collective form water and ice were 99.999% empty space, then both pure water and pure ice would be equally transparent or equally opaque. But that’s not the case. Something’s screwy somewhere.
You can see through many metres of distilled water, but not through even one millimetre of liquid mercury.
In a really real reality, if all water molecules (i.e. – hydrogen and oxygen atoms) were 99.999% empty space, and if all mercury atoms were 99.999% empty space, then both multi meters worth of water and especially one millimetre worth of mercury should be equally transparent or equally opaque. But they aren’t.
You can see through several metres of clear window glass but not if the same glass is frosted.
In a really real reality, if all the molecules composed of the atoms that make up clear window glass were 99.999% empty space, then both clear window glass and frosted window glass should be equally transparent or equally opaque. But they are not.
You can see through several centimetres of solid clear plastic but not if you so much as add a thin film of black paint to the surface of the plastic.
In a really real reality, if all the atoms that make up those solid clear plastic molecules were 99.999% empty space, and all the atoms that make up the molecules that make up black paint were 99.999% empty space, then solid clear plastic as well as solid clear plastic coated with a thin layer of black paint should be equally transparent or equally opaque. But that’s not the case.
You could probably see through hundreds of kilometres of pure gaseous hydrogen, helium, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, etc. but not through that thickness of chlorine gas.
In a really real reality, if all hydrogen, helium, chlorine, etc. atoms were 99.999% empty space, then hydrogen, helium, chlorine, etc. should be equally transparent or equally opaque. But chlorine gas is not transparent and hydrogen gas is not opaque over hundreds of kilometres.
So transparency has nothing to do with how many atoms are in your line of sight and blocking out the photons from reaching you by passing through from across the other side. It has nothing to do with the wavelength since one wavelength within the visible light spectrum can make it through many metres of pure distilled water but not though the equivalent of pure ice.
Or, take yet another example, light will pass through one millimetre of pure diamond but not through one millimetre of pure graphite or of pure coal. So? Well in all three cases all you have are plain carbon atoms. How is this explained since all carbon atoms are 99.999% empty space?
In a really real reality, if all carbon atoms were 99.999% empty space, then coal, graphite and diamond would be equally transparent or equally opaque. But they are not.
You know what’s coming next! It’s all a computer simulation and different substances (like ice and water; or coal, graphite and diamond; or chlorine and nitrogen or hydrogen) have been coded with different physical properties independent of the number of simulated atoms that make up those virtual reality substances.
Virtual reality gives us the illusion of ‘solid’ matter even though the matter in question is 99.999% empty space. You can’t walk through ‘solid’ walls because that’s in the programming in the same way that our video game characters can’t walk through their apparently ‘solid’ walls (Casper the exception) because that’s in their programming.
What’s in it for the entities, the Supreme Programmer(s) who have programmed things this way? Basically they could simulate our entire visible Universe using just 0.001% of the bits and bytes that would otherwise be required if they tried to simulate our visible Universe as really 100% solid matter***.
Think of it this way. You could design and construct a building using 1,000,000 100% solid bricks, or use 1,000,000 hollow bricks each brick a tiny fraction of the mass of the 100% solid brick. In either case you get the same building!
*Of course if that were the case any photons would pass right through you and your own eyes and you’d be for all practical purposes blind.
**If an atom is 99.999% empty space, then presumably anything 10,000 atoms or more in thickness should be opaque. But a 10,000 atomic thick thickness isn’t really very thick at all, so why are really thick transparent substances transparent? It’s unlikely in the extreme that photons from behind the transparent substance in question would hit the atom’s nucleus and/or its ‘orbiting’ electrons and hit just so as to be unimpeded in its journey toward your eyeball. There should be totally random scattering all over the place with only a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction, if any, making it to your eye bounce by bounce by bounce off of the obstacle course of nuclei / electrons.
***Actually the savings are even greater since you can simulate an entire star or even galaxy with a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of the resources that would be required to simulate in exacting 100% full detail a star or a galaxy. No? Well planetariums do it all the time. Planetariums can simulate the entire visible Universe with just a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of the resources required to reproduce the actual visible Universe.