Hocus Pocus

Picture 7Have you seen this clip making the rounds on the internet? Despite it being an ad for a movie (sigh — everything’s an ad for something, no?) and assuming that the unassuming people depicted in it really were unassuming, then their reactions raise a curious question for those who rather confidently distinguish between domains we call religion and science based on the latter being rational and modern and the former not.

How quickly would you, standing in line waiting for a coffee on your way to work one morning, suspend the taken-for-granted rules that always seem to apply in your day-to-day life — rules pertaining to such things as causality, agency, and materialism? How thick (or thin) is the veneer of rationality that we normally take for granted — an issue more than evident to those who, despite being adults, will admit to harboring just a little discomfort in the dark.

So just how scientific are we — even when we say we’re being scientific? After all, David Hume made clear in the late 18th century that such routine things as causes are neither empirical nor observable things but, instead, mere ideas resulting from inferences that we make.


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