Is Our Naive Sensual Comprehension
of the World Worth Stock?
The Micro Internal Universe
The Macro Cosmos
The Middle Place We Occupy
Science contradicts our sense that the earth is flat, that God created it and that we were spontaneously invented by him as spirits in the material element. Overtime, we have traveled from the superstitious to observable facts by rational necessary connections. For reasons I explain elsewhere *, it took far too long to get to a point where we know a few things about the world fairly clearly. The micro universe is filled with so much space that the solidity of such things as a chair is an illusion. When you sit on one you are actually free falling, as it were. There is atomic space between atoms so great it can to be likened as an analogy to the distance between solar systems.
It is a fact that galaxies are receding away from The Milky Way, and this means that the macro universe is an expanding, ever-changing, out of control event where our sense of its permanency and regularity is human fantasy. Apparently 70 to 90 percent of the universe is made of dark matter, which like atomic structure itself we cannot directly sense anymore than thousands of years before we could have been certain the earth was round. M Theory and the full laws of quantum gravity can lead us to multiple universes and the generation of a spontaneous cosmos. We can fire God from his day job as the Creator and He could be free to join a rock and roll band at night. They could call themselves String Theory. Even in the middle place between micro and macro, the world is a dull grey affair to which we as perceiver bring all of the colors, smells and other sensual attributes to the world.
Is our naive comprehension of the material world valueless then?
You could offer a good answer to that if you thought for a moment that we are creatures so subjectively challenged that when our egocentric world views are confuted by facts, we often deny them. The observer presents the theory that the earth is round to the king. The king may have the observer beheaded. Progress for humankind has gone torturously slow. Many things are counter intuitive but there is no conspiracy of the senses. We are not stuck in a cave, life is not a legerdemain and the chimera of matter is not a prestidigitation.
We come from trees and were evolved to be with them as one, that is to say, it is our natural home from which we sprang. This then is certainly enough of a solid regular event for us to thrive, leave the trees, build civilizations and even find out a few things scientifically. However, in the real world, if you run into a wall, the subatomic theory of matter won’t make a bit of difference even if you believe in telekinesis. We evolved to survive the dangers of life and to know for sure an event like the tree: its shape, smell, taste, feel, everything about it. If we record on film the tree in its entirety and show it to a million viewers, took them to the actual tree to verify it, what we’d realize is a massive agreement among them about two events: the viewing of the recording and the tree itself. There would be unanimous agreement. The tree and the recording of the tree identify the same event.
Objectivity can be achieved even in a creature so crippled by subjectivism that after all of this time we are still having this conversation. While we can’t see the actual event at the subatomic level, the tree is not open to what we might call pathological sciences such as religion, politics, psychokinesis or paranormal reality. Everyone comprehends it; we were built to. As for its seeming objectivity: just as perfect goodness is worth striving for even if you know you can’t actually attain it, so is philosophic, journalistic and scientific objectivity.
How do we get from the tree to the subatomic event which we can’t see to the greater cosmos where we can only speculate? It isn’t so hard as you might imagine.
Some 2500 years ago, Democritus coined the word ‘atom’ and invented the atomic theory. “What is in water-earth-fire-wind is the immutable tiny substances which I call atoms,” he wrote. “They form all things and have two properties: size and shape. All other properties we attribute to matter, such as weight, color and taste. These are the result of difficult interactions between atoms. The real attribute of atoms direct the perceived attribute of matter. What is solid, such as rock, is made of large atoms at rest. What is liquid, such as water, is made of small atoms in motion. By convention sweet, by convention bitter, by convention hot, by convention cold, by convention color. In reality, only atoms and void.”
Aristotle – beholding to platonic supernaturalism – rejected it as a final explanation of matter. So it was lost to the ancient and middle ages as was a heliocentric cosmology.
Our senses are modified by our reason, incoming data is enough information for a good start to the basis of knowledge. We need some staple facts to build on, or heaven forbid we might be even more incredibly subjective and wishful thinking than we already are. Material events are occurring slowly enough for us to study and grow. The senses are strangely reliable. Rene Descartes was somewhat unjust about them; John Locke was more to the mark and no one since has given them their due, especially David Hume and all his philosophic descendants.
* See Atheism Skepticism and Philosophy. See also, The Revolt Against Reason and Reason and Myth.
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