The fallibility of claimed knowledge

I stand for freedom of thought. I want open minds in research, whether of a scientific nature (looking into the material realm), or of an ethereal nature (investigating or even experiencing spiritual matters). Egoism is the only explanation for the two-century scientific barrier against cosmic cataclysm (all change in the universe and on Earth being allegedly gradual, contrary to evidence). Egoism seems to explain some religious dogma. Prejudice against ‘foreign’ faiths, beliefs, and speculative thoughts (a Eurocentric stance) has kept humanity divided. To what end?

The following extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ touch one or two of these issues.

“Some attempted explanations by scientists of matters inexplicable are highly questionable. For instance, we are offered ‘punctuated equilibrium’ (a lovely example of semantic sophism) to explain the sudden appearance of totally new and complex forms of viable life without the expected evidence of a gradual transformation of a species through a series of genetic mutations normally fitting the term evolution. Is that a scientific explanation or a re-label¬ling? In science, an explanation or theory must also offer a testable prediction. Otherwise it is mere speculation or belief.

A significant problem I have with some ‘scientific’ conclusions is that the researchers seemed intent upon proving that extra-sensory or extra-terrestrial or spiritual or psychic influences are neither real nor necessary. For example, there is a prevailing assertion that the human mind reflects nothing more than the operation of the brain. How could any clear thinker reach such a conclusion? Where is the evidence? It is very similar to an atheist claiming that there is no creator god. These are clearly statements of belief. The Hindus say, on the contrary, that the mind is only an instrument of consciousness. That surely is also a statement of belief.

The great cosmologist Stephen Hawking recently offered yet another statement of belief; there is no need for God. Presumably, the Cosmos has been explained. Uni-dimensional vibrating ‘folded strings,’ or fragmentary particles flitting in and out of existence (in the manner of sparks of a fire?), forming the substratum of all materiality? Has the role of ‘dark matter or energy,’ said to account for 75% of all matter, been explained? Are these facts, or tentative theories, or mere speculation?

The post hoc claim that a very human Buddha had been preceded by a large number of imagined Buddhas over aeons of time comes to mind. Why do scientists like Hawking and some leaders of institutional religions profess to know what is clearly beyond their competence to know? While atheistic scientists cannot impose their pet theories upon mankind, authoritarian or autocratic religious leaders are allowed to by their followers.

To seek to know what it is that one does not know, and possibly what one can never explain, is surely a sound measure of human intelligence. Controlling priests and know-all scientists: what a constraint to free and exploratory thought they are. Add to that any claim to infallibility, and we remain at the stage of intellectual and spiritual development of Primitive Man!”

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