Science versus reality

There is a huge misunderstanding about science.

Science enjoys a special status in our society mainly because it has made impressive technological achievements possible.

Science based technology underpins many aspects of our modern comfort and also offers answers to a wide range of specific perceived needs. For instance when a supposedly infertile couple absolutely wants to have children, IVF can help them. On a totally different level, when Israeli authorities want to neutralise assumed enemies, superior military technology enables them to do it.

Whether or not we like such technological “solutions”, the fact is that they often work pretty well, at least initially. Their collateral consequences generally appear only at a later stage.

As a result of its up front visible efficiency, science appears to offer a framework for broad and deep grasp of the material world.

Many believe that this framework for understanding the world is the only one, and consider it as close to absolute and comprehensive, even though a lot of details still have to be elucidated.

Their belief is total illusion.

Science is part of human knowledge, which also includes practical empirical knowledge, and various “subjective” disciplines such as law, history, literature, philosophy, spirituality and religion.

But what exactly is “knowledge”?

And how far does it reflect reality?

Knowledge is information which our mind uses to generate thoughts and ideas. New information is brought to our mind through perceptions. For example, when eye cells receive incoming light, signals are immediately transmitted to our neurones and decoded by them.

Neurones are like computer chips; they process information. New inputs are combined with material already stored in memory. The output of this complex process is a stream of conscious thoughts, unconscious thoughts, and unconscious biological signals.

You could compare the stream of conscious thoughts to a film projected on our personal inner screen. Just like a film it may evoke reality, but it isn’t reality. It is only a mix of images and impressions, of which some are derived from bits of reality.

The inner film can never be “objective”. Only small shreds of reality ever reach our mind through perceptions, and our decoding of perceptions and thinking process are distorted by emotions and other impulses.

Besides, we have no certainty that the basic logic used by neurones, our “software” if you like, is capable of generating understanding of the logic of the universe, which might very well be of a much higher level of sophistication. After all, we are only modest little things within the universe. Why should we be equipped with the software to grasp its full working?

Furthermore, even the greatest genius is only able to master a tiny fraction of the shared information and potential thoughts which constitute mankind’s common knowledge.

So, all in all, humans have every reason to be humble about their knowledge, be it the most advanced science.

With that insight into the nature and limits of knowledge at the back of our mind, let us turn again to the status of science in contemporary society.

Science stands on a pedestal. Over the last decades, science and scientists have inspired a level of reverence akin to that enjoyed by religion and high clergy in olden days.

Whatever the subject, official science has authority to say what must be considered true and valid. Any hypothesis or set of observations regarding the workings of nature which is not endorsed by official science is contemptuously dismissed as pseudo science, fraud or quackery. In much the same way as official religion in Medieval Europe treated dissenting views and unauthorised practices as heresy or witchcraft.

A spirit of intolerance and inquisition reminiscent of dark ages is present today, with an additional new twist. And a particularly toxic one: the interference of powerful economic interests. Virtually every research programme these days is financed by corporations or governments under total influence of the corporate world. This has enormous consequences.

The scientific method implies the formulation of assumptions, the development of theories and models, and the gathering of evidence. This combination constitutes a good tool to explore reality. But one that has to be used with integrity and open-mindedness.

And both presuppose freedom. When practically all experts in science and technology owe their position, livelihood, and career to organisations with a very aggressive agenda, the exercise of intellectual freedom for honest scientific pursuit becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible.

In such a context, hardly anyone ever dares bring into question assumptions underpinning dominant theories or put forward models which are at odds with them. As a result, dominant assumptions and theories tend to freeze into dogma.

Concerning the collection of evidence, researchers feel obliged to follow rigid criteria imposed by authority. Phenomena under study are supposed to be repeatable under laboratory conditions and observations quantifiable in data lending them selves to statistics. As if nature should consist only of processes neatly reproducible at will in a lab. Simple mechanical processes do appear reproducible in controlled environments, but there is absolutely no logical reason why the same should be true of very complex phenomena involving billions of subtle interactions.

Because of the absurdly limiting format for evidence collection set by official science, a whole raft of extremely rich observation is simply dismissed as non existent, flawed or fraudulent.

This is particularly the case with natural medicine and the study of paranormal phenomena.

Millions of people throughout the world have direct experience of the effectiveness of various methods of natural healing applied to humans and often also applied to animals. Yet official medicine simply discounts the lot as non scientific, therefore of no value. Under pressure from the public who keeps using alternative therapies, the establishment concedes that they can have a role as “complementary” treatments, i.e. mainly to please patients with a somewhat credulous mind.

Many practitioners of alternative therapies accept this humiliating lower status for sake of peace and of some recognition by medical insurance systems.

In parapsychology, experts are very anxious to demonstrate that their study of psychic phenomena is totally in line with the scientific approach. This has led them to focus most of their efforts on repeatable laboratory experiments.

Which confines their study to a narrow corner of its potential field, because psychic phenomena that are repeatable in the lab are not the most interesting and significant. In fact they are quite marginal and with limited potential uses.

In other words, experts in parapsychology got their own discipline in a real trap by de facto accepting the assumption that real phenomena should all be repeatable in laboratory conditions, an assumption which has no logical basis whatsoever.

They made this big mistake because their anxious quest of recognition pushed them to follow the rules of the system. Having practically driven their discipline to the outer fringe of science, they would be well inspired to change tack and adopt a much more daring approach.

When you come to the bottom of all this, the problem is the mechanistic worldview underpinning official science, and not only official science but more broadly society’s dominant mode of thinking.

As it is quite evident that society’s dominant mode of thinking is driving humanity and the planet into a big mess, you might wonder why there aren’t more people ready to question the basic assumptions behind the mechanistic worldview.

In fact, many people do begin to suspect that the system is basically wrong, but they feel utterly powerless.

The system looks so strong, and its ruling elite have a vested interest in insuring that few manage to openly expose the flaws of the dominant mode of thinking. Tyranny is exercised directly on the minds through propaganda and official science is now enslaved to propaganda.

But this appalling picture is only the visible side of reality, and the invisible, subtle, side is quite different.

People on a spiritual journey who are learning to recognise and accept intuitive guidance “know” this.

Fear not, let logic and intuition embrace in wisdom.

Love,

Leo

Copyright © Leo Foresta 2012

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