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Re: science and spirit Larry B. Piercy

Posted by omegon on October 14, 2003, at 23:50:29

In reply to Re: What do GP's really know?, posted by Larry B. Piercy on October 14, 2003, at 21:43:37

(totally off-topic, sorry)

Excuse me if some of this sounds insensitive / unconstructive. I don't mean it as an attack; it's just that the sort of pseudoscience that's bandied around a lot now really bugs me:

> Scientist say that one day "nothing turned to something("pre-animate particles") and then exploded. This is the big bang theory as I recall it from college physics and for some reason people have no trouble believing that nothing blew up and created all we now see. About the same precentage of the population used to believe the earth was flat, not that long ago.

This is a huge oversimplification.
The point is, which is the best explanation at this point? Science with lots of empirical support, or "oh-well-it-was-just-created-you're-not-allowed-to-ask-how"?

> I can't bring myself to judge the believer or the non-believer because when you look closely at all we believe in, at some point we make assumptions we can't prove.

Well yes. You can't know anything for certain, not even whether you're not just dreaming your whole life. Not least because all your information comes via your senses; everyone's senses are unreliable, fuzzy, limited to some degree. And then it gets filtered through your opinions... even worse.

I wouldn't say I judge believers, but I have trouble understanding why they believe. Forgoing pre-fabricated religious explanations seems obviously better for you because it lets you take control of your life. Religion always imposes things on you and tries to stop you thinking for yourself. I can't see how that's ever a good thing.

> I haven't seen any proof of God, yet many believe in him/her. The true miracle of life may be evidence of God, as all that is in this universe seems to destroy life and order, and not build them- but again, no real proof. I hope there is a God with all my heart. Some greater force who made us and is watching us - even if he/she is more silent than I would prefer.

Clear evidence for 4 billion years of evolution isn't enough to convince you that this universe creates life, and has been working rather hard at it for some time without any evidence of divine intervention?

I don't dispute anyone's right to believe in god if they want to, for whatever reason. It's just that I can show you much better reasons for not believing in god. Religion gives you faith. Science gives you faith plus!

(plus demonstrably effective explanations for the world; plus free thought; plus improvement in humanity's condition (see below), for example)

> Some scientist are beginning to believe that we are devolving, not evolving as darwin believed. Our genetic code seems to be deteriorating as each generation has more and more defects than before. If this is true, it could support that our placement here on earth was by God... but it also supports the theory that alien visitors planted us here.

Our genetic code is getting worse because our living conditions have increased enough that natural selection has essentially stopped, so weaker genes can survive. This is a triumph of humanity - millions of people are alive who would die in harsher conditions. This does not disprove the theory of evolution in any way - we've just got control of (most of) the conditions which drive evolution. No credible scientist seriously disputes the theory now; the only people who will tell you otherwise (usually very loudly) are creationists.

Nice anecdote: creationists got together a bunch of creationist scientists (god (!) knows where they found them) and had them sign a petition declaring that they didn't believe the theory of evolution.
Some non-creationist scientists then found a bunch of scientists, all of whom where called Steve, and who outnumbered the creationists, to sign a counter-petition.
(the point being that just because you've got lots of names doesn't mean you have a meaningful sample of all scientists)

Medical science is improving so fast now that we will soon be able to easily counter the deterioration - genetic problems are very likely to be easily curable in a few decades or less.

> Maybe this life is like an amusement park ride for souls? You get a life but can't remember your previous existance until its over. You get the thrill of the unknown, the thrill of death, which souls may not otherwise experiance. In a few years we will all laugh at how scared we were during the ride and how funny it was when so many of us took paxil/effexor to reduce stress and the withdrawl caught is all by surprise. Or how scared we were on our death beds until we died could remember everything again. Hey that was awesome, lets do it again - this time I want to be a woman in the middle east, sounds like a real challenge....

Reincarnation / afterlife? I'm not even going to try to discuss it, beyond saying... what possible evidence can you have to believe it? I would say none - so why believe it?

> I don't know what is true if any of the above - and it is not by a lack of trying on my part.

No one does. You just have to choose the most reasonable course.

> What I do know is, I am here. Even though life has been horrid lately due to paxil and effexor, I still want to exist and to live. Even though it seems more and more people have become self-centered and unconcerned about others - there are still good people around and the only way I will ever know them is to live.

I agree with you wholeheartedly on this!! Well said!

> What will be the next wonderful experiance for me? Will it be winning the lottery? The best sex ever? Something that one of my sons will do to make me proud and happy for them? I don't know the answers to these questions anymore than what will be the next bad experiance for me. But to me its worth living to find out, and I'll deal with the bad to have the good, versus suicide and knowing for sure the last event of my life will be bad.

The next wonderful experience will be discovering it!

> I pray that there is life after death because I want to exist... but if there isnt, I wont be around to feel the lose. So I will search for answers as I can, enjoy life when I can and try not to be stressed over those things that I have no control over - which is much.

Stick with life before death. The life expectancy of people alive today might be much longer than you think, given (again) current advances in medicine.

> The only thing I can know for certain is I am here now, and overall I like it. I want answers as much as you, but after 40 years of life, I still dont have answers to the big questions.

Why is there anything instead of nothing?
What's the next step in the series {speech, writing, printing, computers, internet, ...}
How can we best ensure that everyone gets what they want (without hurting others) for ever?

> One of my biggest fears was being fired. Last year I was "layed off" and was unemployed for a year. It was bad, but even it had good points, like spending alot of time with my kids. I'm employed now and unemployment is no longer one of my biggest fears - I have grown and learned.

It's good that you still found something positive in facing such a fear!

> Maybe life is like a book and to know the ending spoils it and by choice or force, we can't know the ending until we experiance it?

Apparently... the ancient greeks used to have a different perspective on time from the (mostly) current one. They saw the future as approaching from behind them, and the past receding in front. What wonders are at our backs? Can we look round to see them?




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