Dr. Meaden, in your essay you wrote "that gods exist nowhere but inside people's heads." Although that is certainly true, there is a sense in which the same can be said about the subject of your scientific research.
Our sole method for acquiring new knowledge is perceptual. But this means that, in a sense, we can only ‘know’ appearances, those shadows in Plato’s cave (The Republic, Book VII). Specifically, our brains interpret the input from our sensory organs (the direct conduits from the external world to the internal world of the mind) to make an ad hoc model of the outside world. Thus, the brain does not “see” the world in-itself, it is not immediately aware of it in a complete or an unfiltered state. In fact, evolution has only designed us to detect selected aspects of the world around us. Consequently, our sensorium only accepts those specific properties of the external world that stimulate sense organs (thermally, mechanically, chemically, or electromagnetically); and these inputs are conveyed only as neuronal electrical activity. In other words, all knowledge is originally based on sense perception (involving five different modalities, i.e., tactile, olfactory, gustatory, visual and auditory) which, in turn, is a function of a series of linked electrochemical transductions carried out by and modified within the human nervous system. This neuronal signal transmission (involving ion fluxes across semipermeable neuronal membranes and chemical flows across neuronal synapses) is reliable enough to ensure our survival within a hostile environment but not reliable enough to establish absolute certainty concerning the validity of any particular perception or the unequivocal authenticity of any particle of knowledge based thereon. Essentially, genetically preconceived and perceptually derived mental concepts are the only reality we can know. In short, the only reality that exists for us is essentially a virtual one in that all knowledge is based on modified sense data, on how the evolved brain, based on its pre-existing functional dispositions, handles sensory information. Consequently, all of our knowledge of the world is invariably and necessarily indirect, filtered, and phenomenal; and, as such, it is always incremental and tentative.
And to say that there is a world outside people's heads is highly probable but not absolutely proveable.
Thanks so much for the welcome! I really appreciate it! :-) I really DO hope to find people here that can have intelligent conversations that don't descend into name calling and upsetting confrontations. I really want some solid relationships from people that can have mature, adult conversations about intellectual topics that are above the sixth grade equivalent of religious babble. I will check out Origins! Thanks! :-)
Hello Terry. Thank you for welcoming me. I'm looking forward to finding evidence of rationality, truth and peace somewhere, and I'm hoping such worthy pursuits may be lingering among members here. It has been my experience that the common sense (to which you refer below) is decidedly uncommon.
bon apres' midi par SF!! thanks for the reminder of this most interesting and necessary group... while I do not often post, I DO in fact read the articles, and the posts of others. It is reassuring to know that SOME people still have the ability to question what they are told... to doubt is human.
Thanks for the comment.The government here allocated the land opposite to my house for children park.But the people around here built a temple in that place.I really got irritated about this matter.Even they started collecting donations.Every street here has a temple.If we ask questions,then we are not in safety zone. I felt that in an atheist city, these types of irrational behaviour will not exist.