This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← Para-naturalistic theories cannot lead to practical engineering

Aguazul's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Aguazul

I never said I was describing science. I was describing gathering knowledge about aspects of nature that science (as currently defined) chooses to disregard. So there is the whole of nature, and then within that there is the part of nature that fits the requirements of science for analysis. Anything that doesn't fit the requirements cannot be understood with science as it stands.

I claim that Science cannot encompass all knowledge about Nature because it intentionally limits itself in order to eliminate problems due to humans not being perfect observers. What we perceive is an interaction between our consciousness, our unconscious assumptions and the event being perceived. Science gets around this by assuming an ideal rational observer, which is really an illusion, a product of scientific culture consisting of hidden assumptions. With different assumptions, different perceptions are possible. I'm not talking about hallucinations or madness or flights of fancy, I'm talking about self-consistent world-views that just happen to be different to the traditional Western-scientific view.

What scientists call objective reality is a combination of actual fundamental reality (which no-one can perceive directly) and the 'scientific-objective' state of awareness. Objective reality is not something separate from us -- it is deeply entangled with our assumptions. Only by better understanding the mechanisms of perception within our consciousness does this become clearer, and then it also becomes clearer that there is more to learn beyond the so-called 'objective reality' of scientists.

From a personal perspective, this means looking out for any perceptions that don't seem to fit the rules, and carefully analysing them to see what they can reveal about either the nature of reality, or the nature of human perception. For me that also means pushing myself to do things that cause unusual states -- for example exercise beyond exhaustion, walking in nature, or any number of what might be referred to as 'spiritual' practices. A few cause repeatable unusual perceptions, others are impossible to repeat, but each unusual perception can uncover a bit more if properly investigated. I think most people would dismiss unusual perceptions as merely a 'glitch' in the human machine, an unexplained hallucination, "the mind playing tricks" or whatever, without taking the trouble to wonder whether their hasty analysis is correct. I would say that most people would not want their comfortable assumptions about the world to be challenged. However for me each one is an opportunity to learn more.

Yes, your approach of trying to understand your "UFO sighting" is exactly what I'm talking about, i.e. don't dismiss it, don't necessarily believe it either, but do be honest that you've seen something unusual. Then try and form an understanding, if at all possible.

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 20:06:36 UTC | #950839