Hey y'all, I thought I'd do my best to lure in the non-philosophy types in an attempt to help you get your Descartes on. I'm doing a course on 17th Century philosophy and the first guy we're studying is Descartes. A couple little facts on the fah-zhah of modern philosophy: 1. He was primarily interested in the limits of scientific knowledge (he was a scientist) and 2. while lying sick in bed he devised the xy axis/quadrant system. Apparently he came up with the idea because he wanted to mathematically locate a fly that was on the ceiling--he was bored (Descartes, that is!). Third, although there are several conspiracy theories about his death, the most accepted account is that he died of pneumonia because the queen of Sweden made him get up super early every morning to tutor her (he was accustomed to working in bed until noon--I'm following in his footsteps!). Lastly, but unbeknownst to many, his famous "Meditations" were the origin of "The Matrix" and "Inception".
Basically, the less power and goodness we ascribe to a creator god, the greater will be our imperfections and the stronger will be Descartes argument for the unreliability of sensory information. Of course Descartes didn't realize that indeed we did "arrive at [our] present state by a continuous chain of event" but, as I'm learning, neither do a lot of Americans...God not withstanding, I think we can acknowledge Descartes point that sensory information is unreliable.