How We Know the World

 

                             Gateways of Knowledge

According to philosophy, there are three ways of knowing things, living or non-living:1) directly through the five senses,2) indirectly through senses aided by the scientific instruments like microscope and telescope, 3) again indirectly through the testing models developed and used in scientific research.

The five sense organs are 1) eye, 2) ear, 3) nose, 4) tongue and 5) skin. The eye sees the colours of the world. The ear hears the sound of the world. The nose smells the flavour of the world. The tongue tastes the sweetness, bitterness, etc. of the world. The skin feels the touch of the world. They are the gateways to the knowledge of the world; they are the windows to the world.

The microscope, telescope and all other scientific accessory instruments enable scientists to perceive the world beyond the normal reach of the senses but ultimately, indirectly through the senses.

We can see the planets and other gigantic heavenly bodies also indirectly with the help of the telescope.We can view the tiny germs through the microscope.

Models created by scientists predict the expected things based on the models and provide us with the knowledge of the remote reality. If they fail to do so, they are rejected.

The mystic too is believed be aware of a glimpse of the world and not the entire truth of it. His intuition or insight may be a ray showing a direction of the road to the truth of the reality. His insightful clue is misty and unreliable.

Bertrand Russell aptly says, ‘ Of the reality or unreality of the mystic’s world I know nothing…..’ ‘What I do wish to maintain– and it is here that the scientific attitude becomes imperative– is that insight, untested and unsupported, is an insufficient guarantee of truth, in spite of the fact that much of the most important truth is first suggested by its means’
Science uses the inductive(scientific) method for attaining the truth of the reality, whereas logic and mathematics apply the deductive method for discovering the truth of the premises or statements.

                                       Illusions

If anything or being is beyond the boundaries of the above means of knowing, that thing or being is unreal and belief in such an unreal thing or a being is a superstition. God, miracle, fairies, rebirth, disembodied soul, heaven, hell, magic, devil, astrology, etc. which are untestable and unknowable are unrealities and superstitious beliefs of the human imagination, a result of human ignorance, fear, and misleading teaching. They are illusions, concepts formed by humans without evidence.

Can We Be Moral Without Religion?

Divine Moral Code

 For centuries, there has been a continuous and fierce conflict among the divinely ordained moral codes of the religions. The moral code of one religion is against or different from another moral code of another religion. But every faith proclaims that its moral code is the only right one binding on all humanity and can be followed by all.  It has been an ethical turmoil involving rationalism and irrationalism in regard to religion.                                                                               Some of the religions try to forcibly impose their moral law on followers of other religions. The world knows that they use brute force and violence in the name of their God and their divine moral law against the followers of other faiths.

For them, the scriptures like the Bible, Koran, and the Vedas are the word of God and scriptural commands are God’s own orders.’There can be no morality unless there is a  deity’ and  ‘…the argument in effect says that there can be no moral code unless it is laid down, policed, punished and rewarded by a deity.'(A.C.Grayling, The God Argument). That is their rigid and dogmatic argument.

This irrational dogmatism in religion has inescapably resulted in horrendous crimes against humanity. Innocent people have lost their lives; some are maimed; children are mutilated in suicide bomb attacks and other armed attacks-all in the name of God and His moral code!  The threat of mindless religious violence has continued.  ‘Religion breeds wickedness’ and ‘So potent was religion in persuading to do wrong’ (Lucretius, The Nature of Things) even at that ancient time.

The pivotal question to be posed to humanity is: Should some inhuman religious bigots be allowed further to play with lives of innocent people? Has human conscience no answer and solution to this gigantic anti-human world problem?

Science has repeatedly and conclusively proved that there is no supernatural God in the theists’ sense.  The scriptures are not the word of God and are the records made by the religious followers of their faiths.In fact, based on these scriptures,  the followers of the religious prophets frame the ‘divine’  moral code also and enforce it. The ‘divinely’ authorized human beings are the sole ‘divine’ moral lawmakers.  It is another matter that they may have an axe to grind in discharging their ‘authorized’ duty of moral legislation.

Men, the Makers of Their Own Moral Code

Men can manage their moral life without a God and the divinely ordained moral code.They are able to make proper choices for the society in which they live. There is proof that the godless atheists and rationalists are morally exemplary and good citizens.Forty percent of the Czech population is atheist and they are morally faultless.They lead a happy life. Atheists and rationalists in other countries too live a morally disciplined and contented life.

Men are social animals and they have the inborn, intuitive empathy and responsibility towards, and interest in, the welfare of themselves and all their fellow beings.They intuitively adhere to the Confucian moral principle: ‘Do not do to others what you would not want done to yourself.’ Man is not-can not live- alone. No external threat or reward by a God is needed to make men moral. Men cannot be slaves to commands of a non-existent God and his blind followers. Punishment is necessary in case of abnormal men for their correction. As rational men, they are capable of framing their moral code and modifying it in tune and harmony with the changing social conditions.  Non-existent God and his followers’ religious bigotry and pressure cannot compel them to surrender their self-respect to irrational’ heavenly’ orders issued by the religious bigots.

Julian Baggini, the philosopher says, ‘I believe that at the root of morality is a kind of empathy or concern for the welfare of others, a recognition that their welfare also counts.This is, for most of us, a basic human instinct.’

Instinctually and naturally, men are born to live socially and morally, since to do so is in their natural and collective interest. They know how to manage their individual and social morality.No role or moral right the God and the scriptures have to lay down and enforce the ‘divine’ moral code in the humans’ ethical world.

What can be the urgent next step to eradicate the religious irrationalism from our planet?