Seeing Without Eyes
Don’t trust your eyes; they can deceive you.
- Obi Wan Kanobi
Many aspects of reality cannot be grasped directly through the senses. One can search high and low and never come to “see” love or justice or meaning, for instance. One approach to this problem is to say that whatever cannot be measured through the senses or by instruments we have designed to extend the reach of our senses does not exist. This approach is called “materialism.”
Another approach says that though we cannot directly measure various aspects of reality, we can infer their existence from other phenomena that we can measure.
Science has led the way in demonstrating the amazing power of inference. For instance, in 1846, Urbain Le Verrier figured out that there must be a planet where the hitherto unknown Neptune is located. He was later proven correct. In 1915, Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves. This was only confirmed in 2016. And back in the 60s, British theoretical physicist James Higgs predicted a particle known as the “Higgs Boson” - a crazy particle that somehow gives mass to all other elementary particles. (Hat tip Eduard Shyfrin, From Infinity to Man). Btw, check out my podcast on Nick Cave’s “Higgs Boson Blues” here).
Yes, in these cases, though we could not measure them initially, the technology to do so was discovered in the course of time. There is no “love meter” or “justice detector,” but who knows, maybe there will be in time. My personal belief is that as more and more hidden aspects of our reality (that at one time would have been thought of as magical or metaphysical) become understood, the more likely it will be that science will prove the existence of a transcendent reality. Maybe it already has.
Former Cryptologist Harold Gans takes this idea to its ultimate conclusion here.