Yes, they are *part* of the basis for discerning truth. If I claim there is an elephant in my room and you go in there and do not see an elephant, that is sufficient to conclude that my claim is false. That is solely based on the senses.<quoted text>
Our senses are not the basis for ascertaining truth, they are the instruments by which we observe the physical universe in the limited sphere we have.
Of course, another aspect is that we can use our minds to create hypotheses. Most of these hypotheses will not fit the evidence (from the senses!) but a few will. Those we keep and test further. The senses allow us to determine which of our hypotheses are false and thereby eliminate those falsehoods.
General propositions are always somewhat uncertain because new evidence in cases not tested previously might show the proposition to be false. In that case, we need a new hypothesis that covers all of the previously tested cases AND the newly tested case. Once again, the senses are what determines the falsehood of a proposition.
Incorrect. The fact that individuals can make mistakes, be biased, and have agendas is dealt with by having a variety of people from different backgrounds with different biases and different agendas looking at the evidence independently, often with the *goal* of showing some ideas to be wrong. Those hypotheses that manage to survive this treatment are more reliable than those only tested by one person.The problem humanity has, is that it is not logical or reasonable, it has an inbuilt desire to twist reality to fits its own desires of what reality should be like.
So the senses, are only as good as the mind and heart behind them.
This is where atheistic empiricism fails as it does not address this key issue.
More accurately, humans are sometimes rational, sometimes crazed, sometimes biased, and sometimes objective. The goal of science is to eliminate the biases and craziness and leave the rationality and objectiveness. No system is perfect, but by repeated testing with the goal to show ideas are *wrong*, we can eventually eliminate the falsehoods. What remains is the truth.Humanity is not rational, humanity is half crazed.
The senses may not be completely reliable (optical illusions alone show that), but they are much better than the arm-chair philosophy that doesn't take into consideration the results of testing through the senses. Checks and balances can minimize the biases and mistakes over time.Therefore the senses cannot be relied on, because that which is behind them is untrustworthy and uses them rather than submit to them to preserves its own paradigm.