Kim O'Hara wrote:I'm sorry if I misinterpreted your position.
Think nothing of it
Kim O'Hara wrote:If we take the view that subjective experience can never be satisfactory evidence, we can say nothing about the world we experience.
To me, that sounds just like the arguements in favour of solipsism. I do, however, see your point. We have instruments that make measurements, but we, as people, read those instruments.
Kim O'Hara wrote:Science, however, insists that that position is not only valid but necessary.
Sorry to nitpick (genuinely), but science does no such thing. Science is a displine, it has no free will and so insists nothing. If I were to interpret what you said as 'scientists insist that the position [that no evidence can ever be objective] is not only valid but necessary'
, then I would struggle to disagree with you (for the same reasons that the solipsist viewpoint is difficult to argue against).
Kim O'Hara wrote:It rejects subjective experience in favour of something it believes is objective evidence, although that 'objective' evidence still comes to each person through the same sense doors.
Nit picking again, science doesn't reject something, scientists do. Science doesn't favour anything, scientists do. Science doesn't believe in anything, but I'm sure scientists do. This issue of 'sense doors' I've addressed earlier. Extending this line of thinking to its obvious conclusion casts doubt on pretty much everything, with the exception of our own minds.
Kim O'Hara wrote:Does [subjective x 10] = [objective]?
No. Nor does 1000 subjective experiences. Nor does 1000000. Here is an example: the majority of people on the Earth believe in a God, and I assume a large proportion of them will have 'experienced' something to confirm that belief to them (whether it's co-incidences, fuzzy warm feelings, feelings of comfort etc). Does that mean that peoples' experiences consistutes objective evidence for the existence of a God? No. I am not saying God doesn't exist, I'm not saying God does exist. Quite simply, the subjective experience of people is not scientific evidence supporting the notion of a God because:
1) their individual experiences can be explained without the need for a God to exist and
2) their collective experiences do not support a predictive theory that can be tested
Kim O'Hara wrote:It is a real problem and one I don't have a good solution to.
Me neither, and I agree it is a real problem. For me, the problem isn't an issue of whether to trust the evidence that scientists propose (after all, the observations that, collectively, we call evidence must be verifiable by other people so that, given the same initial conditions, the same outcome occurs.) The issue simply becomes a broader question of ontology and existentialism. I'm not a philosopher. I enjoy thinking about existentialism, but only for pleasure.
Kim O'Hara wrote:Like you, I am reluctant to accept the objective reality of something that has been subjectively experienced by only one person
If someone claimed to have experienced something in their dreams, I am happy to concede that they believe they experienced something in their dreams. If someone else, under precisely the same conditions, does not have that experience it casts doubt on its validity. How can precisely the same conditions be made? I don't think they can, which adds an extra dimension to the problem.
Kim O'Hara wrote:• I accept science when it says something which is within its realm of competence but place less faith in it when it talks about things it doesn't know or can't examine.
Science doesn't say anything, but scientists do. I agree, when scientists pontificate beyond their realm of competence (I like that expression), I find it difficult to take what they say seriously.
Kim O'Hara wrote:• I usually accept subjective experience as evidence when it agrees with others ... which is what science does.
Not quite, as explained above. What a scientist calls 'evidence' and what is colloquially called 'evidence' are two different things. For scientists, evidence must be repeatable. This does not mean 'lots of people have experienced the same thing', because the evidence must point towards the prediction of outcomes from a situation.
Kim O'Hara wrote:• I have a large mental bin labelled "unproven" and throw a lot of stuff into it. Within it, like sticks to like; and if enough bits stick together I haul them out and put them in the "may be true" bin.
That's a rather good analogy. I have a similar approach to things. Nevertheless, this neurosurgeon has no evidence and certainly no proof of any afterlife. He is either being deliberately provocative in his language, or he is a 'scientist saying something outside his ream of competence'.
... in my opinion.