Religion-Science Philosophy articles series
Paul Feyerabend made in one of his books a weird claim. He said that if we are to suppose that atoms or electromagnetic fields exist, then we should also accept that the Gods of Olympus exist as well! This may sound weird to someone who hears about it for the first time, but it is absolutely true!
Let us take a close look at what we “know” about atoms or electromagnetic fields. Take a close look and you will see that they are not things you actually “see”. Take a close look and you will understand that what you think “exist” it does not (or it does, just like… Zeus!) The fact is that you only witness phenomena that you ATTRIBUTE to those entities. But you do not have immediate experience of those entities! Even the SEM images that claim to be “images of atoms” are simply interferences to the electromagnetic field the electronic microscope uses, which we translate as “atoms”. Let us suppose an electric charge exists somewhere. We claim that this mass produces a field around it so as to explain the forces it exerts to other charges. But we should not mistake what we see as “proof of existence”. We have CHOSEN to believe in a specific scientific model. Just that! Nothing claimed about “reality” here!
And we should also remember that even the ultimate goal of science and philosophy alike, “Reality”, is something purely subjective. It could be the case that you “see” something and I don’t. It could be the case that you “sense” something and I don’t. It could be the case that you think of something as “logical” and I don’t.
We know think thunder comes from electricity and electric fields and charges. In the old days people thought the thunder came from Zeus. We talk about models of exegesis. If we want the people 1,000,000 years from now not to say “ok, those stupid people really thought electromagnetic fields existed! Hahaha!!” (since it is certain that by then the models of science will have radically changes – as the curved timespace of Einstein completely destroyed the ides of a gravity field), then we should see with respect the ideas and the models people in the past used.
If atoms and electromagnetism “exist”, then so does Zeus!!!
Back in the days of Homer, there was no distinction between “real” and “not real” thing. Maybe we should forget our dogmatism (and arrogance of the form “I know, the previous ones were primitive”) and go back to the free thinking of the ancient ones…