My last piece on reforming foundation of science has generated a lot of interest which is a good thing as it furthers the discussion. My friends on the left think that I am trying to depart from empirical evidence and introduce religion to have a role in scientific inquiry. While those on the right suggest that I am relying too much on human intellect and rational thinking to undermine the value of divine intervention to further the human enterprise. I find both these views cut from the same cloth.
The proposition I wanted to make is that sense perceptions i.e. smell, sound, touch, taste and sight are nothing but data gathering points which are then contemplated on by the intellect. So the question is whether these senses are the only source of data or there can be some other sources that might be available to us. I don’t know the answer to this larger question and leave it to the scientists to explore. But I am quite confident it is possible that data can be collected independent of sense perceptions and access to that data can play a significant role in furthering the march of science to find deeper knowledge. A friend from my engineering university shared a BBC video in which psychologist suspended just one sense i.e. sight by keeping subjects in dark isolation chambers. The outcome was interesting as a heat camera recorded their behavior and subsequent interviews were held.
The other idea I proposed was that even if we use current method of data collected through sense perceptions then another way to extend our knowledge is to add a third pillar of purpose to the existing pillars of cause and effect. Now if we consider Darwin’s theory as an example. He proposed that species evolved their capabilities and characteristics in response to change in environment around them to survive.
Like all other early scientific discoveries, Darwin’s theory of evolution requires continued investigation so that a holistic understanding of life on earth can be made. Even after the lapse of almost 160 years since the introduction of the theory, there are still many unanswered questions that needs further investigation. For instance, why is it that humans’, that are a relatively newer species as compared to some old ones like a crocodile, are so highly evolved while all others lag far behind? Human success in introduction of language, arts, culture and science is much more advanced than other species at least from our perspective. Why is it? What happened and at what point in time there was a sudden spike in the evolution of human consciousness while no such spike was experienced by any other species? The other key question to explore is to fully grasp the exact moment when there is shift of genetic code in the evolution of a species.
I also proposed that preconceived is a priori in human condition because in the absence of it the possibility of teaching a language and developing other faculties in a child will not be possible. In that case we would have to develop a unique educational syllabus for each child. Let me try to elaborate this point using computer as an example. When you buy a Microsoft or Apple computer it comes with an operating system. The operating system is common to all computers which we can call their level of consciousness while the files created by a user is the unique history of each computer. Now try to use a file on a Microsoft computer that is created on an Apple computer. Since the two operating systems are different the consciousness of Microsoft computer will not be able to understand the files that was created using the consciousness of an Apple computer. So it will not be possible to teach the subjects of physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology to all the children until and unless they all had the same operating system. I guess you already knew that part but it was important to elaborate to make sense of what I am going to say next.
Understanding and accessing that inbuilt operating system of a human being or any other species can give us access to data that is not generated by the five senses or help us look at data in a much more different manner. Considering the example of computer we still don’t know whether brain is the ram/rom or the central processor. We also don’t know exactly where the operating system of a human being is stored.
Now let’s refer back to the story of fly. The image of an object seen by a fly may be totally different than the image seen by a human although all flies may see it the same way. That means the realty of a fly is different from the realty of a human. The operating system (consciousness) of a fly could be a totally different one from a human being which means that it’s understanding of laws and principles are unique to itself. If we could interpret the laws of physics with reference to a fly or a tiger than we might be able to find new knowledge that might be different than our own. So if we say a human is a Microsoft and a fly is an apple computer than we would need a file converter to achieve this objective.
Advancement in genetics and psychology could provide clues to gain access to a better understanding of humans and their intellect. For instance finding scientific explanation for dreams and intuition could unlock some of the mysteries. From human genome project we already know that genes carry propensity to certain illnesses of the parents to the next generation. That could also mean that wisdom and acquired data or knowledge of the past generations can also be passed on to the next generation. One interesting project would be to find that gene of knowledge and learn from it. Unlocking this will not only help us use mice in a better way for medical research but also use birds as an early warning sign for natural disaster or a dog as a guard.
I usually tell my friends that there are limits to how high an airplane can go but we should not put limits to how high our imagination can fly. We need some out of the box thinking to reform scientific thinking and elevate it to a new level.
In my last piece I deliberating avoided giving any reference from scriptures so that my liberal friends don’t blame me for contaminating their rational minds. But they still blamed me for it anyways.
So this time I would like to close with a prayer. My God help us understand the true nature of things to benefit mankind.