Guarantors of Truth?

  • At the dawn of more widespread use of the experimental scientific method (a mere 300 years ago (unless you include the dawn of mathematics or of medicine which would put the origins more like 2,500 years ago — altho’ neither of these explicitly used the scientific method in those early versions), there was direct conflict between established religions and the new emerging culture. Science claimed that its verification of process and pattern through reproducible experiments gave it authority because it could demonstrate the reality and reliability of an observation. This put it into direct conflict with many generations that accepted the revealed world of the spirit as the only authority because it was directly given to humans from supernatural entities. In the former, either past teachings in the form of accepted cultural myths, or the claimed revealed word of a supernatural entity was the guarantor of truth. Because this source was beyond humans and reality, it became Sacred. With the increasing recognition and command over causality in the natural world, both for explanation and influence, science then began to deny that there was anything beyond the natural world and its causality. Truth was demonstrable and reproducible; it was under the control of humans. Reproducible causality in the form of laws, formulae, mechanics, and scientific theories (which are quite different from the popular definition of theory) were used to engineer many new tools to improve the quality of human life. Many of the past mysteries that could only be explained by resorting to myths and special creation became explainable by the processes of natural phenomena. The overall results of these developments was that the Secular and the Sacred came into and continue in direct conflict regarding the best source and proof for truth. [38F/W’13]
  • At the core of this controversy is the word “reality.” The Secular seems to only recognize the material and/or physical world as reality. Therefore only experiments can eventually give us an understanding of how the world works. The Sacred maintains that there is a “reality” considerably beyond and different from the material and physical world we currently inhabit. In some versions of the Sacred, this other reality has complete control over this reality. The Secular admits no evidence of this. Further, the Sacred maintains that these two realities are intimately coupled while the Secular sees no mechanism or explanation or evidence for this coupling. (125Sm’14)

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