Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Perception of Reality

Over the weekend, my brother and I traveled to attend our cousin's wedding.  We didn't take our families with us because it was a no kids allowed affair so we left the kids with our wives and rode together.

Naturally, we had a lot of conversations along the way up and back to the party location.  One of the topics that came up was the idea of forensic evidence versus eye witness accounts.  I stated that forensic evidence was, for the most part, circumstancial at best and that eye witness testimony that is corraborated by multiple witnesses is the gold standard of evidence of a crime.

He believed that eye witness testimony can be flawed.  But he did concede that forensic evidence generally doesn't prove that someone committed a crime and is circumstancial at best.  Just because someone's fingerprint is on a weapon, for example, doesn't mean that a person murdered someone with it.  It just means the suspect handled the weapon.

Keep in mind, the full extent of our experiences with the judicial system are limited to traffic tickets and my brother's most recent jury duty obligation.  It was a day and they found the defendant not guilty of being a convicted felon with a gun.  My brother was actually going to vote not guilty regardless because he doesn't believe that should be a crime, but fortunately the prosecution's case was so bad, he didn't need to argue that.

Anyway, we are not experts and, like the vast majority of Americans, our experience with the judicial system and the police force comes mostly from crime dramas, not actual experience.

And I've noticed something about these crime dramas over the years.  They tend to focus more on forensic evidence and psychological experts than actual witnesses to the crimes.

I don't know if this is intentional but it is a disturbing trend to me.  You see, if you read the Torah in the Old Testament, you'll note that God's standard of evidence relies mostly on eye witness accounts.  This is why not bearing false witness was considered one of the 10 commandments.  It was considered paramount that you tell the truth when recounting a crime to he ruling authorities.

In fact, God even commanded that you could only execute someone for a crime on the account of two or three witnesses.  Otherwise, said person was basically supposed to live in exile in a sanctuary city or face the avenger of blood, that is, a relative of the person who was killed.  It was a simpler justice system back then.

But the emphasis that God places on eye witness accounts runs much deeper than just criminal justice.  It's almost as if God is telling us that our eyes were not created to lie to us.  But look at how people these days try to tell us that our eyes are wrong, that reality is different than what we see.

Certainly, there are other dimesions and wavelengths we cannot see, but we can perceive them in other ways through various measurements.  But our flesh is how we interact with God's creations and our eyes are how we perceive most of it.

The prevailing push from Western science seems to be one that tells us to not believe our eyes, that we are being tricked, and that we should trust what the science says.  But science is more limiting than most people realize.

For example, how many people have claimed to have seen Bigfoot?  Regardless of whether or not you think Bigfoot is real, you cannot deny the eye witness accounts.  And whether the vast majority of these people are lying, mistaken what they've seen for something else, or just had their imaginations go wild, there still are dozens of people who have seen something that science denies existing.

By the same token, the entirety of Christianity is reliant on the eye witness testimony of a few dozen men who died thousands of years ago, many of whom suffered horrendous deaths when they refused to renounce what they saw.

Yet we are told to discount eye witness testimonies and to simply trust the science.

So maybe, just maybe, this dismissal of eye witness testimonies is intentional on the part of our enemies in order to discredit our foundational faith.  It is no wonder that so many people give in to despair and hopelessness when they are told that they cannot trust their primary sensory organs to discern reality itself.

Now, I'm not saying that we should give up on forensic evidence or the scientific process in general.  But what am I saying is that neither give us a full picture of the reality we live in and they never will.