Empirical Truth Vs. Rational Thought in the Context of Religion

From the time one comes into being, for this argument one can use birth as a starting point, empirical evidence is presented in limitless quantities. From the fuzzy sights of the delivery room to the sounds of one’s own crying, sensory education has begun. These are the first things to register as human knowledge. A toddler will grab and put anything into its mouth, maybe because it is hungry or teething, but more likely because the young mind is trying to learn about its surroundings. The quest for empirical knowledge is unavoidable. When an object reaches a toddlers mouth, messages are sent to the brain to allow a mental perception of the object of the object to form. Is the object hard or soft? What happens when the object is bitten? How does the surface of the object feel against the tongue? Sense data forms this mental perception. As one ages, these pure forms of empirical data upload become corrupted from intuitive rationality. When questions fail to be answered by observation, experience, or experiment, it becomes obligatory for one to use reason to help explain the idiosyncratic indeterminate. An excellent example of said phenomenon is religion. Philosophy has, for thousands of years, based philosophical arguments around the unknown, guesswork. Parmenides argued that one cannot put what does not exist in one’s own mind, yet many others search for ways to make what does not exist explainable. Descartes went as far as attempting to redefine metaphysics to justify his need to believe in God. Moreover, the Judeo-Christian laity, as well as other religions, is willing to suspend indisputable empirical truths in favor of otherworldly mysticism. Humankind has been equipped with the empirical knowledge that a human cannot survive death in the stomach of a whale, yet millions take the myth of Jonah quite seriously. The continuing debate, evolution vs. creationism is not only a science vs. religion argument, but an empirical truth as opposed to rational thought discussion. At what point does one abnegate logical experiences for senseless illusions? Do babies have some sort of spiritual awakening during baptism? No, in all likelihood said baby assimilates the archaic ritual to being bathed. One is more likely to obtain supernatural propaganda from parental influence or religious socialization. When children are “instilled” with religious teachings during their formative years, it becomes ingrained into their belief structure. This information then becomes intertwined, and thus indistinct, from empirical learning’s, hence the corruption. Some humans are unfortunate to never find the path leading away from the fallacies thrust upon them to appease the lack of understanding from family and community. One who seeks the assurance of human fallacy, or intuition, is doomed to a never ending quest in search of the elusive “why”. One who chooses the path of science, with all of its empirical implications, can take solace in tangible proofs that urge acceptance by the mind of fact. The empiricist can go to bed at night wondering not “why”, but rather “how”. In a social climate that sees skepticism, atheism, and evolution as ostracism caliber manifestos, it forces one to wonder if religion would even exist if man had access to empirical truths now taken for granted. If science, at the dawn of civilization, came first and fast, then religion could be likened to Plato’s parable of the myth of the cave, but in reverse. One outside the cave would live in the ultimate reality, and to accept religion would be akin to walking into the cave and choosing to be oblivious to knowable truths.

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Comment by B.c. Steele on November 22, 2012 at 2:00am

Thanks for the comments guys! I too wish we understood the chemistry of indoctrination, it is really just brainwashing backed up by strength in numbers. To bad the science of the time was not sophisticated enough to put a halt to it right away.

Wyatt, you hit it on the head! I will be happy to check out you writings, and also Professor Atkins, but it is three o'clock in the morning and I must sleep. Maybe later today when my belly is full of turkey I will have a minute to sit back and read it, I look forward to it!

Thanks again!

Comment by Wyatt on November 20, 2012 at 5:35pm
Good post. If I'm reading you correctly, you would say that all knowledge is 'a posteriori,' i.e., knowledge by acquaintance, as opposed to 'a priori,' and that intuitive logic is the internalization of the patterns and conditions we find in our surroundings, as the brain begins to differentiate itself, develop networks, etc. And of course I would agree. I have also written a bit on the logic vs. reality in "The Cosmological Argument" and "William Lane Craig's Armchair Philosophy." By the way, you might like Professor Peter Atkins. The great questions on being are "something to be determined by observation not by the ruminations of philosophy." "Why" questions can be broken down into "how" questions. http://secularoutpost.infidels.org/2011/11/peter-atkins-opening-sta...
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on November 20, 2012 at 1:44pm

I wish we understood the chemistry of indoctrination. 

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