In order to answer this question, we must first define how we can prove that something is true and it actually exists. Some think that ‘seeing is believing’ and therefore if they see something with their own eyes, that precise object must exist. Others feel that if there is not a logical explanation to a certain event or to a belief, then that thing does not exist. Some might say that scientific proof is the only way to state that a certain thing is true.
What happens when scientific proof is showed to someone who only believes in the ‘seeing is believing’ principle, or what if a plain and simple picture is shown to a scientist? Will they believe that that object or theses exist or not? For us to know something, we must believe that the method used to prove this fact, is the most suitable and the most accurate. For example, not many people will believe that UFOs exist just because they have been showed a picture with a presumed flying spacecraft on it. This also goes for everything we are taught in life.
If it comes from what we think is a reliable source (parents or teachers), then there is more of a chance that we will use this knowledge later on our lives. For scientists and mathematicians, the only medium through which the truth is separated from the imaginary world, is scientific facts and numbers. These facts and numbers, are later set up into an experiment or a certain method through which a predicted or less predicted outcome will be formed, and new facts and numbers released, formulating experimental results, which are the bases for scientific conclusions.
These conclusions state what is true and what is not. We can also take into consideration, the fact that some people believe that ‘seeing is believing’. In general we can relate this also to our other four senses (hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching), therefore resulting in a method that uses our human senses to prove whether things are true or not. I have personally come across a discussion relating the ‘seeing is believing’ theory, and this happened in religion class, where the students were asked to debate on the available evidence of God’s existence.
One of the students asked the obvious question: has anyone ever seen God, has anyone touched him, has anyone talked to him? Another student replied with another quite similar question: has anyone ever seen your brain, has anyone ever touched it, has anyone ever talked to it? Obviously no one had, and realising the obvious, the class went quiet. Within the borders and the limits of the classroom, we knew something that we were not able to prove true. Arguments like these happen every day all around the world.
Arguments, who’s main point of discussion or of debate, is a certain fact, which is obviously true, but at that time no one would have the ability to produce some clear evidence that would be accepted by everyone as reliable and accurate. Religion is probably the most complicated and sensible subject dealing with what is real and what is not. How can so many people in the world follow a religion, which does not have some clear and recent proof? We do have eyewitness accounts, and holy books, but how can we explain all the miracles and the extraordinary events that characterise the life of a prophet.
I am not here to criticise mine or other religious beliefs, but I am here to define the difference between knowledge and faith. Faith is another form of knowing something that has not yet been proven true, but it consists of something beyond science and beyond any sort of facts and figures. We can say that faith is a derivative of the ‘seeing is believing’ principle. The only difference between the two is that, the religious belief is based on eyewitness accounts from over a millennium ago and not from your own observation.
Faith could be interpreted as another method of knowing something that has not yet been proven true, if we do not consider how much time has passed since someone had the capabilities to prove that our beliefs and everyone else’s, are true. “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. “1 Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) If we think about man’s discoveries throughout history, we will see that most, if not all of them have followed the path suggested by the quote.
Discoveries such as the roundness of the earth and the ability to overtake the speed of sound, perfectly match this sort of definition and so do other discoveries and theories, thought of by humans. Then what can be said about the existence of extraterrestrial beings, or about the life after death? Could the theories and the witness accounts be true? How can we tell the difference between someone who is lying and someone who is telling us what he really saw, felt, or heard?
The only way we can resolve these mysteries, is to let time do the job for us. With the gaining of new and more advanced technologies, man will be able to reach limits never imagined before. In a couple of decades we could be all spending our winter holidays skiing on the, over twenty kilometre high, Olympus Mons, on Mars! Sometime in the future we will have the possibility to prove whether what we think of today as absolutely impossible and absurd, will be proven to be true, with the help of technology and other ‘close encounters’.
The cause for this mass scepticism, is that some people might recognise certain witness accounts as absolute nonsense, but that is simply because they do not consider this as a reliable source of evidence for such an event. Therefore they conclude that this certain thing never happened, and therefore if has not been proven true. Therefore that witness knows something that has not yet been proven true. What a human being knows, is only a minute fraction, of the available knowledge of today. One must be able to preserve his or her knowledge, and pass it to later generations.
This knowledge could be useless as it could be the key to our survival. It is obvious that in order to know something, one must first make sure it is true, and to do that, one must follow the best possible method, he or she regards as the most reliable. This is the very foundation of our knowledge. The proof of something being true, plays a vital role in the knowing or not knowing concept. What really matters is that, one must be able to prove to himself that his knowledge is correct, and in order to do so, one must follow the method chosen.
There are more than one points of view concerning method used, and there will be some people who will think that the method u chose is the wrong one and rather inaccurate. But from your point of view, you would know that a certain thing is true, and according to your method, you have proven it true. But for those who do not believe the method you chose is the best one, they will bring up the argument that you have did not prove that that thing exists, even though they might believe it does. Therefore you would know something that has not yet been proven true.