is not in keeping with your original position that this sort of realm is impenetrable to human perception even as aided by science.
That is not my proposition at all. Ancient spiritual technologies like prayer, meditation, etc (those listed in the article and more) have been allowing people to penetrate the spiritual realm for millennia.
On perception. The whole point of the essay is:
A) Human beings practicing spiritual disciplines have been perceiving spiritual reality for as long as there have been humans.
B) The instruments of science, being geared solely to measure physical reality, can’t locate the spiritual realm in the physical world.
C) At least some scientists, the specified scientific materialists, declare based on their inability to measure spiritual reality in the physical world that spiritual reality does not exist. Because only the physical world exists.
D) “Because only the physical world exists” is a belief, not a fact.
Yes, of course religious/spiritual experiences involve direct perception.
Spiritual traditions tell us that the spiritual world we interact with during such experiences (certainly God, but more than that of course) is every bit as real as the physical world. Perceiving a spiritual experience clearly involves the brain, but it is not relegated solely to the brain.
Scientific materialists, like Richard Dawkins, tell us that because science can measure the physical process going on in the brain of a person having a spiritual experience, but science can’t measure the external spiritual realm the person is interacting with, what’s happening in the brain is all there is. They label the subjective experience God Delusion or similar.
My point is that scientific materialists have no grounds on which to take that final leap to labeling people deluded for believing what they have verified first hand through personal experience. Just because science hasn’t figured out yet how to interact with the spiritual dimension of reality does not mean that individual human beings are not interacting with that reality. It means science has some catching up to do.