“A prominent scientist who had previously dismissed the possibility of the afterlife says he has reconsidered his belief after experiencing an out of body experience which has convinced him that heaven exists.” Full story here.
When the opinion of a scientist or scientists (using only empirical methods) are held up as sources of knowledge on nearly every topic, there is an implicit message that comes along with it. Modern science reaches into all areas of reality. “If a scientist believes it, well then, it must be true!” is the type of phenomenon our Western culture experiences today. However, as I have repeated on this blog many times, the domain of modern science does not even validate its own existence by its own method. How can it validate all areas of knowledge, including, the religious experience?
An experience like this to a scientist will remain just that…an experience. It has a mechanical cause in the brain and as long as the mechanical cause of any “deemed supernatural event” is considered sufficient, there will be no reason to postulate a supernatural cause. That is…prior to teleology.
I leave you with this quote from Descartes:
But as soon as I had acquired some general notions concerning physics, and as, beginning to make use of them in various special difficulties, I am served to what point they might lead us, and how much they differ from the principles of which we have made use up to the present time [teleological principles], I believe that I could not keep them concealed without greatly sinning against the law which obliges us to procure, a
s much as in Oz lies, the general good of all mankind. For they caused me to see that it is possible to attain knowledge which is very useful in life, and that, instead of that speculative philosophy which is taught in the schools, we may find a practical philosophy by means of which, knowing the force and action of fire, water, air, the stars, heavens and all other bodies that environ us, as distinctly as we know the different crafts of our artisans, we can in the same way employ them in all those uses to which tehy are adapted, and thus render ourselves the masters and possessors of nature.Descartes, Discours de la methode, VI.
Consider how Descartes says that mechanical analysis of causes should replace by the metaphysical or classical method. Why? Because it is useful to do so. Since when is the utility of an approach make it true?
This may seem like a bit of an overreaction to a simple article stating something positive about possible 'afterlife', but I just wish to make the point that while it is a newsworthy item, scientists (in the original Aristotelian sense–those who seek knowledge) should try to amend any confusion that might arise from an implication that the scientific method is the source of all our knowledge. All knowledge originates in the sense but it does not stop there.
The average joe is smart enough to figure out that a drug can cause the same experience of 'afterlife' in the senses. Some research has suggested that the brain releases a sort of pain killing drug during death which also causes hallucinations. Should we assume there is always only a mechanical cause or can we claim consistent goal oriented behavior, the very basis of our ability to predict to begin with?
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