Science has done arguably a better job selling itself as a kind of humanistic religion than most religions have done selling themselves in recent decades. In the process, western society has transformed itself into materialistic cultures of doubters, naysayers and acquisitors. We believe nothing is credible unless it can be proven and nothing is of value unless it can be related somehow to money, its acquisition and its spending. While science has not taught this directly, the belief results from the prevailing beliefs and structures of science and their pervasive influence on our lives.
Moreover, science positions itself as the ultimate authority on “what is,” as it dictates that what science can understand and define should be all that we believe is correct and real. Science, through multiple sources, inputs that message of “provable equals real” into our brains to the point where many believe that only those things which we can detect using our senses are real.
In his book The Sense of Being Stared At and Other Unexplained Powers of the Human Mind, Rupert Sheldrake cites several case studies of people who have sensed that they are being stared at by someone other than those in front of them, then turned around to find someone doing just that, meeting them eye to eye before turning away. Most of us have had such experiences, though science calls them coincidences. For some, that kind of coincidence would be like winning a lottery three times in the same week.
We imagine, science says, false explanations for events that are nothing more than coincidences or events that could be explained otherwise by scientific study. It calls everything that people experience but that science can’t explain paranormal, with their stories being anecdotes, until enough scientists (or “amateur wannabes”) do more extensive research and publish their results, in which situation they become case studies. Even case studies, science maintains, are not the same as proof.
Science has, inadvertently, turned us into beings of the here and now, believing nothing that cannot be explained by what science knows or theorizes today. Science, meanwhile, has told itself that its own theories are fact so often that it accepts its favourite theories as soon-to-be-proven or all-but-proven truths. Theories that go against widely accepted scientific theories receive little attention and much derision when they get some. Theories about gravity, evolution, even Einstein’s relativity have doubters, but they receive little acknowledgement. Yet even Einstein had doubts about some of his work.
The “discovery” of cold fusion by Fleishman and Pons and its subsequent media attention resulted in their careers being trashed, though several scientists support their results today and efforts are being carried out in the US and France to build plants that will produce electricity through fusion at near room temperatures. Science changes its tune (and soon forgets its errors) when evidence proves the preachings of the science establishment to be clearly wrong.We, as societies, have accepted that nothing that cannot be proven or at least supported by our senses can be true. Thus we accept what our brain tells us is fact, but ignore or deny what our mind tells us exists even though it cannot be explained.
If science cannot cope with what we know are realities, what our experiences tells us are real, we must accept that these are failings and inadequacies of science. It’s not the role of science to make the realities of our lives trivial or inconsequential, but to explain what it can with the limited tools it has developed for itself to work with.Science is not the arbiter of reality in our lives, merely a tool we can use to explain some parts of our experience. We don’t use a hammer to drive a screw, nor do we deny the screw exists or claim it’s a figment of someone’s imagination because we don’t have a screwdriver. What science can’t do is its own problem, not one to be adopted by all of society.Science should not determine what we believe is real, only explain what it can about why we understand something as being real. We should not accept the labels science applies to what it cannot explain, words such as paranormal and supernatural, even hallucination, as if science is the sole judge of what is normal, what is natural, what is reality and what is truth.We should not give science that power over us and our lives. We have the potential to be much greater than science would allow is possible. Succumbing to the dictates of science makes us followers, as much as the followers of a false religion or an unmanageable political ideology.There are some things about life, truths and realities, that we don’t understand. That doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. It simply means that we can’t explain them.And that’s just fine. We must not allow science to bully us into believing that they don’t exist or that they are figments of our imagination.Bill Allin