What I mean is this: how much do you actually know about the science most atheists parrot? Most atheists know as little science as most Christians know as little theology. Just as a Christian trusts his priest to tell him what he believes, an atheist trusts scientists with a Ph.D. tacked to their name to tell them what they believe. But how many times have the scientists turned out to be wrong? I only ask this because it seems this is central to the problem that most atheists have. They are repulsed by the phrase “believe” – they are addicted instead to the phrase “know”. But honestly, do you really know, or are you just believing what you’re told? I would like to remind you that in the 1970′s the scientists of the day were seriously concerned that we were about to enter an ice age, and less than 30 years later they are now convinced Earth is about to turn into a desert.
Unless you’ve observed something yourself, or observed and interpreted the evidence yourself and drew your own conclusions, you are just as guilty as faith as any religious person.
But if you look at the sky and see red, I see green, and another sees blue, but the color each of us sees, has been taught to us as "blue," we will each say, "blue" regardless of what the actual wavelength may be. My point is, that we live our lives in a bubble of impenetrable epidermis.
That's kind of what I failed to get at: we have only our own perceptions. If I could go into your brain and look through your eyes, perhaps I'd see the same blue I see. But that's unlikely. It might be A blue or a similar blue, but it might be orange.
Finally, you're close to getting my point! You CAN'T go into my brain, nor I yours (not that I'd want to - shudder!), we live isolated lives, which is sad, but the way it is.
People of faith must be enjoying this "angels on a pin" banter. Let me add (what I think is) more sense to it.
This isn't rocket science. It's not even science. There's no scientific definition for words like experience or perception, except for (e.g.) in philosophy, or soft, social sciences.
What separates knowing blue from red, and six billion other people also "knowing" these colors is the reproducibility of the experiment. That is, we can all be certain that people will recognize the same color, even if we don't know exactly how they experience or perceive it. We don't even have to know the words of color in each other's language. Just presenting the question as a multiple choice or matching test is all the "proof" that we need to agree that blue is blue, is azul, and isn't red or roja.
I can't define my experience, but I'll bet some of the billions of people out there experience it the same way, whatever that means. We'll never know that, unless someday we can consistently feel each other's experiences and consistently produce the same results on tests, day after day. I might even experience or perceive blue differently from today to next year, but I'll still be able to pass the test.
Faith comes nowhere close to that. Give people around the world a test, and all results will vary from each other. Ironically, it's the lack of proof that makes people commit strongly to belief in the way they see the world, even if they can simultaneously see that most of the rest of the world rarely marks the same answers to a question.
All I'm trying to illustrate. Papi, is the degree of our isolation.
the degree of our isolation
I can understand that, in the philosophical sense. I'm trying to illustrate in a scientific context, not the price of tea in Tibet. Nor coffee.
4.7 cents per cup, US $ --
(as you might have guessed, I just made that up!)
My point is, that we are so individually isolated, within our bodies and minds, that we can never know for certain what another is seeing or thinking. You and I may see totally different colors, that each of us call, "blue," because when we pointed to a color - that our parents may also have seen differently from ourselves - and asked, "What color is that?" the parent said, "blue," so regardless of what you saw, the name of that wavelength, for you, will be forever "blue."
My point was our isolation, not our perceptions. The Vulcans have it easy.
So, another person's perception is conceptually a Schroedinger's Cat. Each of us is a Schroedinger's Cat, in a sense as well, except that each person's box will never be opened by someone else.
Wittgenstein analyzed the grammar of private sensations as being learned in public. Attempting to analyze it deeper than that is futile. As long as one learns to play the game in a way that rings true to other language users, that's about all the understanding you're ever going to get.
No matter what people see in their heads, the facticity of the world, colors being one example, will keep people consistent even if one person sees a daytime sunny blue sky in a color you would say is orange. As long as their perceptions are tied to a fact, such as the sky, their way of speaking about it will be consistent. That, I believe, is a point Kris Feenstra was making.