Most mornings recently I've been reading a chapter from Michael Strevens' marvelous book, "The Knowledge Machine." It describes why science is so effective at understanding reality.
I find the book inspiring, both scientifically and spiritually.
Ever since I started this blog in 2004, I've been using the term demonstrable evidence frequently. Often I ask for that -- demonstrable evidence -- when someone makes a supernatural claim.
Maybe they claim to have seen God, or something Godly. Maybe they claim to have experienced a cosmic realm beyond physical existence. Maybe they claim some sort of special power like ESP.
There are lots of possible "maybe's," because the human mind is capable of imagining all kinds of things that aren't real, yet seem like they could be, or should be.
Strevens makes clear that scientists aren't immune from those sorts of wishful thinking. Scientists are just like everybody else: imperfect, flawed, prone to thinking errors.
But modern science has something that enables it to generate valid knowledge about reality that other fields such as religion and mysticism lack: the iron rule.
I wrote about it in "The iron rule of science is empirical evidence."
The title of that blog post sums up the iron rule. When scientists argue about whether this or that is true, they must "conduct all disputes with reference to empirical evidence alone."
Now, this doesn't mean that scientists, or anyone else for that matter, can't entertain ideas unfounded in empirical evidence.
So if someone wants to leave a comment on this blog about how they are certain that God exists, I'm totally fine with that. They believe strongly in God. Fine. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs.
However, the moment someone claims that God or some other supernatural entity is objectively real, we have a problem. We also have a problem if someone expects that other people should respect their claim as being valid.
To make the problem a non-problem, I like to ask people, "What is your demonstrable evidence?" In other words, empirical evidence.
If someone is claiming that they're privy to secrets about the cosmos that turn upside down the scientific understanding of reality, asking for proof is entirely appropriate.
Sure, I understand the objection religious believers have to this request. This is what I said in my previous post about the Iron Rule.
Now, I realize that religious people say that an experience of God or some other supernatural entity can't be proven, since it takes place within the psyche, not anywhere outside.
OK. But that means a supposed supernatural experience is akin to a dream. It is available only to the person having the experience, and there's no way to tell whether the experience points to a reality outside of the consciousness of that person.
So religious believers need to stop claiming that what they experience has any sort of objective truth. Like a dream, the reality is in the consciousness of the beholder, not anywhere else.
Of course, a religious believer can continue to have faith in their supernatural entity, whatever it might consist of, without demonstrable evidence. They just have no right to expect that anyone else will take them seriously if they claim that this entity has any effect in the physical world.
For if there is such an effect, it falls within the domain of science. Thus a miracle or a miraculous capability, such as knowing what is in the mind of someone else, must be demonstrated through empirical evidence.
Otherwise it is just an unfounded belief. And the world is full of them. Nothing special to see here if there is no demonstrable evidence.
Science, has set the rule that it needs repeatable and demonstrable evidence.
That is alright for science to write down the rules of its game.
Science restricts itself to a field of information and the derived knowledge that is ONLY available to  the human senses  human made instruments and  descriptive theory means.
Given the amount of variables that can be processed in that way, even with the use of the modern powerful calculators, this cannot but be a restrict part of the reality.
Science, does not study reality, it studies its own ideas on relaity and for a good reason, if succesful it makes part of reality usable.
So nothing wrong with science, it has given humanity its cultural evolution.
But ... we all dream, you dream, I dream, we all dream but we cannot show our dreams to one another.
When dreaming we can measure the brain activity but by stimulating the same tissue we cannot re-create the CONTENT of that dream.
Than what makes human life what it is, is the attribution of purpose, value, meaning to whatever humans deem fit to touch and these are all things beyond the scope of science.
It can be compared to those who are not interested in any human activity if it cannot be translated in economic terms.
and what to say about the arts.
So to say it roughly, humans can do without science but cannot live without all the things science is not interested in as it can not studie it due to its own accepted rules to play with.
Posted by: um | January 22, 2021 at 01:10 PM
Is reality subjective or objective? At what scale?
The most science can say about reality is limited by its measuring instruments.
Humans being experience reality through our senses. A blind person might have a very different view as to how a deaf person experiences reality. Even sight itself is limited where humans have evolved to only see on the limited visible spectrum of sunlight, whereas bats use sonar to visualize their surroundings and dogs can hear at higher frequencies.
Ah but some say: it doesn’t matter if the bat or human can see the rock, it still exists. What about at the atomic level where most of the rock will be regarded as empty space and can be easily passed through without experiencing it.
How does the saying going: you cannot judge another man unless you’ve walked in his shoes for 10,000 miles.
Reality is then subjective and limited.
How can we or science possibly dare to comment on what reality is as if it’s an absolute thing that only science knows about? Science can’t even begin to encapsulate reality: not only are our senses and instruments hugely limited, but we don’t know how limited, we don’t know how much we don’t know. No idea. Nada. None.
What arrogant nonsense.
Posted by: ACDC or R2D2? | January 24, 2021 at 01:40 AM
I think it’s less than ten thousand. I’m pretty sure you only need to walk a mile. But you have to be wearing moccasins.
It’s all pretty much nonsense until you drive off a cliff or trip into a river of crocodiles. You know, nothing to really worry about until somebody gets killed.
Posted by: Sonia | January 24, 2021 at 01:25 PM
Humans were more advanced spiritually and technologically in the distant past than we are today.
Due to malevolent forces manipulating humanity, true history is suppressed and we are told by inadequate and owned education systems that we are at the height of science and technology. This is not true and it is pure unadulterated arrogance of ideological egoism that assumes to be at the cutting edge of science and believe they are the custodial hierarchy of this demonstrable evidence which their lenses of perception are either too blunt or inadequate to experience beyond the scope of their physical and sensual limitations.
Posted by: Kumar Kreuk | January 24, 2021 at 02:14 PM
You mentioned malavalent forces , and in this life you have malavalent forces disguised as benevolent forces - the worst kind of deception, a very hidden world. These entities are the ones that fool humanity, especially those that are gullible, take on beliefs without challenges and those that follow the crowd. Just look at RSSB and gurinder singh dhillon who are part of the negative secrative agenda. They will tell you to follow there teachings, and call upon them during meditation and when you take your last breath. Then these demon entities disguised as gsd are very eager to take you to their heaven, where you serve their god in slavery and bondage. You are never free until you wake to the RSSB deception.
Posted by: Truth warrior | January 24, 2021 at 03:28 PM
@ Truth warior
>>Then these demon entities disguised as gsd are very eager to take you to their heaven, where you serve their god in slavery and bondage. <<
So you claim that they have an  heaven of their own  a deity of their own and  those who follow GSD are used by that god as slaves.
Please warrior of truth, tell to what end would that god use his slaves?
What kind of work do they have to do in slavery?
And of course where do you get this truth from.?
Posted by: um | January 24, 2021 at 04:05 PM
Please warrior of truth, tell to what end would that god use his slaves?
The same use Kal has for the souls enslaved in Pind.
What kind of work do they have to do in slavery?
Just the usual work, like living their lives in a region where they're "stuck", just like here in Pind.
And of course where do you get this truth from.?
Same as Kal was dreamed up to explain things. Someone made it up.
Posted by: Just answers | January 25, 2021 at 08:06 AM
@ Just answers
So you too are an enslaved soul.
Posted by: um | January 25, 2021 at 01:07 PM
Um, that's what "they" say.
Posted by: Just answers | January 26, 2021 at 07:41 AM
@ just answers
There were days i was fascinated by all the hearsay in my life but when i stopped listening to it, it lost its meaning and attraction.
If I would pass Benares and visit the daily light ceremony by the priests and the hundreds participating, being from the west and a born Christian, I would see only a fellow human being waving a lamp, it would have no meaning to me. For the participants, the believing ones, the devout lay people, it is considered a blessing of the divine.
It is said that in order to eat, two conditions must be fulfilled.  there has to be food on the plate and  there has to be hunger. Both are given. This doesn't mean necessary that there is a giver, but it is a fact that these conditions are not on one's hand.
It is also said that the pull must come from within. For whatever we do etc something has to rise in ourselves, something we cannot generate or create.
So thinking through these things one easily can understand that there is very little left, to know and to do. One can paint the beak of a crow yellow and send the creature to a singing class, but it remains a crow with crackling sound.
Those who are born in wealth, be it material, physical, mental and spiritual are not free to accept it, they have to live with that gift and act upon it.
The same holds for those who are born in less pleasant bodies, circumstances, inner and oute.
So some will have inner experiences and they have to deal with them. Others may hear of these experiences. Thinking they can have these experiences by their own efforts is an illussion. Reading closely what great mystics have written about getting that experience and what it caused will make it clear.
Against this background I have asked several times, those that come here an feel they should warn the readers for all sorts of devils, demons etc about the source of their knowledge, without avail ... what makes me think that they just, like the family Phelps, love to walk the streets of internet with their slogans.
Posted by: um | January 26, 2021 at 09:39 AM
The scales of Kal—the dragon master. The disasterpiece humans make real by believing in. Maybe we should be careful to whom and what we give our power to. We live in the shadows and sleep. I don’t want to dream anymore.
Wake me up when it’s all over...
Posted by: Sonia | January 26, 2021 at 07:10 PM
You’re probably right. There’s enough archaeological evidence to back up that theory. Unless all those artifacts were planted by aliens. 🙃 Either way, we humans aren’t all that bright.
I always say, you only need average intelligence to be successful. Any less and you struggle. Any more and you get weird... eccentric... mental. Lol (but it’s kinda true)
Posted by: Sonia | January 26, 2021 at 07:39 PM
The proof is all around you Um, I keep asking you to open your eyes. Where are you, in heaven? If you think so then Look at the history, the solid facts, Egyptians, the pheros, the Greeks, the nordic s, the Hindus, the bible. Look at the countries, the divisions; and now you got RSSB and the so called living master and Lord of the soul -toppped by all you got GSD, the clown. They all talk about the other worldly gods that demand your worship and attention, just look at how many youtube videos previously "shy" attention seeking Gurinder has put out ( and He really does want you to hit the like and subscribe button) You just need to stop being in denial.
Posted by: Truthwarior | January 27, 2021 at 04:08 PM
@ Truth warrior
The truth of "what" is all around me?
Where are you?
well I am sitting here trying to understand what you write and answering.
What are the solid facts I should look at?
I know of history as it was taught me in school
What more is there to know of the Egyptians, the Greek, the Nordics?
What is wrong with evolution of tribes into nations?
What is wrong with people believing in a creator based upon what this or that prophet, mystic, Medicine man, etc told them?
Obvious you are aware of something but it is not clear from what you write here.
Posted by: um | January 28, 2021 at 03:04 AM
Maybe your background is in what is in the media these days, and is growing on the internet and several TV channels; stories about alien ancient astronauts being the gods of the different religions.
These stories are so intriguing that in comparison to the everyday, life is boring and pale. For some these stories are as it seems, as addictive as religious sects or drugs.
It makes me remember my dad, who opposed the habit of our mother to get lost in reading books for hours. Being the son of an farmer ... for him real life is out there, in the fields to be experienced with the senses and not in the reading of books and getting lost in fantasy worlds.
Nothing wrong with , books, reading and religion or whatever as long as it is not more attractive than the real world.
Look at the animals and the trees ... they tell a story. Trees stand there for years and years to come. Animals move around for food protection and rest. The sun rises and gets under ... all in an ever unique repeating of the same.
That can be boring....I understand ... but it need not.
Posted by: um | January 28, 2021 at 04:01 AM
"Look at the history, the solid facts, Egyptians, the pheros, the Greeks, the nordic s, the Hindus, the bible."
We went from "Science requires demonstrable evidence" to devils and demons.
Let's ask a scientific question. How do devils and demons drive human history? What is the mechanism? By putting funny ideas in people's heads?
Posted by: anami | January 28, 2021 at 09:10 AM
We humans love stories. We imagine all sorts of things—beautiful and exciting, ugly and terrifying.
But they’re just stories. They’re only as real as our mind makes them. This whole universe was created in someone’s mind and we join that mind by believing it has some purpose. There’s no “divine” purpose to this existence other than being the slaves of a cruel master. Karma, karma, karma... we all enslave each other and that’s why we’re here. We believe in slavery and worship its purpose—justice. We’re worshipers of justice so we continue to suffer. And we will always suffer until we stop enslaving each other with our minds.
My point is, it’s all in your mind. EVERYTHING is in your mind. That’s the power you’ve been given. But we’ve been taught to be powerless. We don’t use our minds. We let others use our minds. We follow tortuous belief systems and lose all our power. We are told to submit to a cruel master—a cruel “God” and that that will somehow free is. By “submission” to a cruel god we become free...
How dark is this irony? I would recommend using your mind to break free from the dark ignorance. Time has limits. Anything limited is fragile and weak.
On that happy note... time to go!
Posted by: S | January 29, 2021 at 04:56 AM
S , um, anami,( agents of RSSB/LACIFER )
Scientific evidence???, and then you talk about GSD being god in human form because he sits on a stage telling stories. Let me burst your bubble; you dont get to go to heaven because you are faithfully protecting RSSB and your fake guru on this site. So quit being loyal to the naracist who is totally abusing you for your ignorance.
Posted by: Truthwarior | January 30, 2021 at 05:29 PM
@ . Truth warior
You write these things against the background of your truth, a truth for which you want to become a warior.
You address others telling them that their truth is false and dangerous, leading them on a path of eternal ruin.
That is alright but it you do not offer them an alternative, your truth, what ever you write remains empty and just an opinion of personal dislike.
If you don't like grandmas Apple pie, that is alright but that opinion of yours, that dislike an disgust, tells anything about the cooking qualities of your grandma nor the things she creates in the kitchen. To disqualifie her as a cook little more is needed 😊
Posted by: Um | January 31, 2021 at 05:01 AM
I don't really expect Science to prove demons, gods or gurus, but I wondered what you'd say. And the youtube video, "The devil made me buy this dress." A great excuse anytime we make trouble! Who can argue with it?
To me, your understanding of soul, karma, Kal and heavens sounds a lot like Radha Soami, except that GSD is a fake. So who's for real? What's your source of spiritual knowledge? Please, I don't want to fight, I want to learn.
Posted by: anami | January 31, 2021 at 09:30 AM