Noc wrote:I dunno if I agree with you, HIppo. Science isn't so much about "trust in the senses" as it is about consistency, and making reliable and accurate predictions. Even if what our senses show us is an illusion, observation still allows us to figure out how the illusion works (if it does so on a consistent basis).
That's fair; science doesn't care if my senses are deceiving me--it's trying to figure out everything it can about the world I perceive with my senses, whether they're lying or not. And when we're arguing about what the most rational method to understand the world presented to us by our senses is, I'll always argue in favor of science. There are no empirical proofs for God--no logical proofs--no reasonable amount of evidence which demonstrates a partially or wholly supernatural universe.
I think what fascinates me, though, are perspectives that step outside the range of common senses. Purposefully screwing with your senses--by taking drugs, or by inflicting certain conditions on your body, or engaging in lucid dreaming--these can awaken entire new worlds outside the one we've crafted from our unaltered sensory apparatus. And I think that these worlds are just as 'real' as the world we craft with our senses (which, again, keep in mind--is only a reflection of the reality we can never truly know).
The fact is, we're all
just basically hallucinating in our own little box. We are all trapped inside of our skulls with no real idea of what's outside of them beyond what our bodies have told us (and our bodies are translating reality into electrical pulses, which are then translated into sensations, which are then translated into a coherent 'narrative'--this is like having a room described to you in Greek, translated to Russian, translated to English--done by Babelfish). When someone's narrative wildly diverges from the norm, we can make one of several conclusions--maybe they're poor at interpreting their sensory input (they interpret the sight of a guy in a sheet as a 'spooky ghost', ignoring all the information they have that implies ghosts aren't real), maybe they just don't have enough
sensory input (insufficient education to conclude that ghosts aren't real), or maybe they're tripping like crazy and their sensory input is feeding them new data that doesn't fit the mold ("Okay, now the guy in the sheet is flying and passing through walls and he has EYES MADE OF TEETH"). Or maybe they're not even playing by the rules of empiricism; maybe the existence of ghosts are part of their inner world.
People talk about the beauty of science and the wonders it offers compared to the wonders of theology, but what we don't seem to get is that the beauty we see is a product of our own minds
. We receive sensory input, we extrapolate it into data that we can consume, and then we proceed to admire that data. I find the universe startling in its breadth and size; I find the fact that we can extrapolate so much of its shape and history merely from the infinitesimal amount of radiation that happens to cross the lenses we've pointed upward on our tiny blue speck to be an inexpressible wonder. But I also think someone can find that same wonder in the world of theology--because for those people, the world of Gods and Goddesses and scripture is just as real, and just as vast
. The only real distinction is that we've derived one of these things from a rational analysis of our senses--and the other is derived from an irrational analysis of them. Both come from the same place--just one of them will (hopefully!) give us flying cars.