It was philosopher Berkeley who first undertook to refute the theory of matter as the unknown cause of our sensations. In our own times Prof. Whitehead has shown that the traditional theory of materialism is wholly untenable. According to the theory, what enters the eye is not color or sound, but invisible ether waves and inaudible air waves. Nature is not what we know her to be. Our perceptions are illusions and cannot be regarded as genuine disclosures of nature.
If physics constitutes a really coherent and genuine knowledge of perceptively known objects, the traditional theory of matter must be rejected for the obvious reason that it reduces the evidences of our senses, on which alone the physicist, as observer and experimenter, must rely, to the mere impressions of the observer’s mind.
In the words of Prof Whitehead, the theory reduces one-half of Nature to a ‘dream’ and other half to a ‘conjecture’.
Thus physics, finding it necessary to criticize its own foundations, has eventually found reason to break its own idol, and the empirical attitude that appeared to necessitate scientific materialism has finally ended in a revolt against matter.
Note: summarized from the preface to Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam.