Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Space Age Religion?

One of my more recent readers, who goes by the moniker "John", has raised a rather interested side-thought with regards to my most recent post: "Religion: A Soothing Balm for The Masses?" He has opined that, despite the obvious flaws and terrible ramifications of religion (Which I have highlighted from time to time in my blog), homo sapiens can derived some good out of the concept of Religion, and as far as the Space Age is concerned, humans will eventually bring their infantile beliefs to the stars and beyond.

Its a chic thought, I admit, and although I was inclined to denounce the whole idea as complete baloney, I will perhaps elucidate my thoughts and highlight several flaws of this rather cheesy "space age religion" argument.

The Advent of The Space-Age

It is almost a given to state that sooner or later, the first man will step on the Martian landscape, and Man will almost certainly colonize the Moon, either within this century or the next. As science and technology progressively open up new frontiers for our civilization, it is inevitable that we will be more reliant on Science than at any one point in the history of human civilization.

Having said that, John inevitably raises the question; in his own words: "Should we abandon Religion or fix it? Religion is simply a means for humans to rationalize the great unknown that confronts and bewilders us......Rather than abandon the benefits derived from Religion, perhaps it might be more beneficial to abandon the falsifications and failings of Religion."

John is spot on with regards to the "falsifications and failings of Religion": Either through deliberate subterfuge or sheer ignorance, us humans have inherited from Religion a vast amount of half-truths and hogwashes. The Holy Babble, for example, claims that the world was created in 6 days, a massive, singular flood killed almost every life on Earth, save those on both Noah's Ark, Jonah was supposed to survive in a fish's stomach without being digested by its gastric fluids, and lest we forget, the rather "virginal" story of Jebus' virgin birth.

Falsehoods aside, religious and sectarian violence have caused the ruin and destruction of empires (most notably the Roman empire), nations, peoples of various cultures wholesale, and it is not uncommon for religious teachers of all manner and creed to abuse their vested powers for their own financial, sexual or other forms of gain.

John seems to hint that we should discard all these "evils" that seem to plague Religion since time memorial, and the gist of it should be retained and carried for as a "emotional, philosophical" baggage in the form of a quasi, space-age religion, as we begin to jet off into infinity and beyond.

Can Religion & Science Co-Exist?

Advocates Against the Teaching of Evolution during the Scopes Trial



Galileo Galilei (1564-1642): Slapped with Heresy Charges for Having the Temerity to Suggest that The Planets Revolve Around the Sun

A crucial question to John's supposition will be a question of two conflicting schools of thought: More often than not Religion stands at direct opposition to Science. When Galileo suggested that the planets revolve around the Sun, instead of Earth being the center of the Universe, he was charged with heresy. The Scopes trial in the early 1900s put Darwinism on trial, and even in the advent of 21st century Science, we have to deal with religious nuts who staunchly refuse to have blood transfusions, vaccinations for cervical cancers and other medical treatments because of the rigid demands of their respective religious dogmas.

All these conflicts and dilemmas are not simply one-offs or mere coincidences, as some moderates may concur, but rather because of deep-seated differences etched within the philosophies of both schools of thought: Science requires evidence for its suppositions, and every preposition and hypothesis must be justified with solid evidence and data. It thrives on bringing forth the truth, and is not afraid to admit its failings: Potential Falsifiability is applicable to all scientific theories and laws, which states that every scientific knowledge has the potential to be wrong one way or another.

Religion, however, rests its reputation on third, or latter person testimonials, one-off dogmas, and supernatural tales that are at best wild, deluded stories concocted by deluded, albeit talented story-tellers of the ancient world. Most, if not all the incredible claims can neither be justified nor proven, and faith or blind belief must be invoked in order to justify the dogmas of an ancient, archaic religion. Unlike Science, Religion demands for total servility and obeisance to its vast throngs of dogmas and moral codes, leaving no room for questioning and discerning.

Space Age Religion?


With all due respect to John, I am not inclined to buy into the idea of a hybrid Space Age Religion, although I fear that Religion, like the rat that hides in the cabins of ships, Religion will be unwittingly shipped out into Space along with pious Spacemen who have crazy inclinations to convert a Martian or two on the trot.

Religion, with its rigid dogmas and outright rejection of evidence, concerns itself not with truth, but total piety and obedience. This nonchalant attitude towards Scientific endeavor will only hinder the progress of Science as humans seek to surmount the immense difficulties of forging into the almost infinite realms of space.

Like John, I agree that there is beauty in Religion, albeit from a mostly aesthetic point of view: The beauty of the Sistine Chapel, the angelic voice of Gregorian chants, the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal, and so on. Having said that, we should not ignore the bloodthirsty history and lessons behind these beautiful monuments, if only because we do not wish to repeat the vicious cycles of religious genocides yet again on a more "inter-planet" scale, if that is one way of putting it.


As Far as the Scripture Goes, The Moon is Made of Green Cheese......

After all, the last thing we want is an Inquisition on the Moon.



"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."

-Seneca the Younger



(For A More Detailed Read of John's Site, Kindly Proceed Here. )

16 comments:

tina said...

I'm not good on long comments, so in a nutshell, religion, in my opinion will always be around, but hopefully it will be as the santa claus or the tooth fairy is, a fairy tale.

Anonymous said...

That's mythology. No one other then kids believes it.

john said...

(not going to haunt your blog, but appreciate this opportunity for a bit further consideration of the subject)

People have tried to convince me over the years that humankind will never really understand existence, life, intellect, or the Universe. The half of me that is in the modern social paradigm of America today came to assume this is an absolute Truth. I believed in it.

The other part of me (pagan) felt everything is integrated and reflective of various aspect of the whole (which could be a whole community of hierarchy). For example water would be a reflective aspect of an archetype. Just as Zoroaster taught that there is *beingness* in matter, For example he taught that water is a representation of a spiritual being, the archangel Ardvisura Anahita. In that same tradition our planet Earth is the body, or crystallization from light, of the archangel Zamiat. As above (the higher plane) so below (the lover plane). This half of me felt that I had and knew my place in the mix and knew all necessary to really enjoy it all.

Then I began to learn more about what’s going on at the frontiers of science, particular partial physics, cosmology,and complexity theory. (What is being discovered and realized regarding the vacuum (nothing) is mind boggling.) The bit of mystic experience I have, along with some the Hindu stuff I picked up years ago began to sang in splendid harmony with what I have been reading in fringe science over recent years.

I am now convinced, if we do not destroy our civilization over the next few years, (unfortunately likely at this moment) that humankind will come to understand the Universe and what it is all about. That part of me that had believed in the absolute truth of never knowing is now alert and anxious for the next scientific breakthrough. (The breakthrough to an absolute truth about it all) I can posit more on this if encouraged, but I feel one only needs to consider the evolution of humanity over the last 100 years to see the trend line and where it appears to be going. (Outer Space).

I feel we are in one of those extraordinary transitional periods as with Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton where science will effect a major change in reality that will once again transform Religion. My position is that with this transformation, this time, let’s throw out the false and bad stuff. My mantra in this little quest is “the Truth will set us free” and I feel science is on the threshold of learning much more about the Truth which will show humankind a wondrous new vista back to our past and into our future in the Universe. Again, I will not go on with this, but I could not have come to this conclusion without good reason and am currently working on an article regarding the subject for another website.

So, I predict that Science, in the next few years, will begin to challenge and ultimately force the Religions to reconsider the very basis and reason for the religion’s existence. Yet, I am similarly convenience that Science cannot provide counseling service to the people after it shocks them out of their minds with an entirely new social reality paradigm. Religion will be there all structured and ready to do the job.

An interesting aspect of most Religious institutions is similar to that of Rome in the time of the Caesars. Just a few elite rule over a mass of slaves. Yet once the slaves realize the frailty of the elite, and the falsifications that held them in restraint, then it is easy for the congregation to remove or revise the doctrines and dogma along with the priests, pastors, and such.

Now, I feel, is a good time to begin talking about it.

john

Larro said...

Sorry, I've been absent BEAST, but I'm feeling verbose.

"... a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars" -- Kirk (Whom Gods Destroy)

What dream? Who's dream? Roddenberrys dream.

"...Science cannot provide counseling service to the people after it shocks them out of their minds with an entirely new social reality paradigm"

Who says? Religion has certainly been there to shock people INTO a social reality. That's the job of religion. Anybody think religion can turn on that dime?

So long as religion is at odds with science (as it is today) I see no way in which progress can be made in such an expeditious manner as to facilitate true ground-breaking achievements within the span of 50 or even 100 years.

Religion has had a monopoly on the moral identity of humanity for so long that I don't see any concessions made here. For the vast majority of the populace to adopt some new age version of spirituality is a far-fetched notion at best and arguably less plausible than if humanity were to just not believe. Not that this is a conducive solution in itself, just that we've seen wars and bloodshed for millennia in the name of whatever religion claimed to be the "right" one. How is this "new age" religion going to handle car-bombings and suicide bombers?

I don't know. So long as there are divisive issues to be had we will never have a collective notion of the role that humanity has to play in this universe.

"Is there anyone on this ship, who even remotely, looks like Satan?" -- Kirk

john said...

Kirk

In the religions there are the followers, the leaders, and the mystics. While the mystics are most often far different from the followers and leaders, they do represent one aspect of all the religions. Already Science (quantum physics, astrobiology, cosmology, complex theory) are finding some interesting parallels with mysticism. I can go into this with more detail but will use just one quote here to support my point: The quote is from Edgar Mitchell on his way back from the Moon to planet Earth.

"For astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the defining moment of his life was not the moment when, on February 9, 1971, he became the sixth man to walk on the surface of the Moon. Rather, it was something that happened to him on the way back from the Moon - something he would later describe as a 'spontaneous epiphany experience'.

As the Apollo 14 Command Module barrelled homewards, Mitchell, during a rare idle moment, looked out through the window. His gaze took in the stars, the Sun, the approaching Earth, all seeming to gracefully revolve about him (though in fact it was the spacecraft itself that was rotating).

And then it happened. Suddenly, Mitchell was no longer experiencing himself as a detached observer looking out at the Universe. Instead, he was truly in the Universe. And so was everything, and everyone, else. Everything was connected. Everything was joined in a unified whole in which matter, time and space were merely different aspects of an all-pervading universal consciousness.

'I actually felt what has been described as an ecstasy of unity,' he later explained. "'The thought was so large it seemed inexpressible, and to a large degree it still is.'"

(The original quote is form from:
The Overview Effect and Cosmic Consciousness
Cabinet of Wonders at http://www.wunderkabinett.co.uk/damndata/index.php?/archives/1072-Instant-Epiphany-The-Overview-Effect-and-Cosmic-Consciousness.html)

The material world of Newton and the religions has vanished into a universe of quantum energy particles and waves (maybe strings). The only thing is that the average person does not know it yet. The implications of Einstein’s finding in the 40”s, not to mention the scientific breakthroughs in the 70’s through today, has not penetrated the general academic intellectual paradigm, not to mention the knowledge of the regular working person. It would be fair to say that the average person is just not going to be impacted by any scientific discovery enough to question religion.
This would, of course depend on the scientific discovery. To keep with the *mystic* slant let interpolate from some of science to what would be a shocking and transforming discovery. I used this in another blog.
” The Occurrence: Early indications of *non locality* in particle physics leads to a finding of *non locality* in the Universe revealing a sub-level field in the Universe field that can only be described by the scientific community as “MIND”. The indications of this finding are that the Universe is an interconnected processing system. The only way that the scientific community can translate this to the other people is that matter is the result of something that can only be described as Thought. In effect we would have to accept that the Universe holds us and all matter in a Thought – a changing and expanding Thought.

Such an occurrence would transform both Religion and Science and begin the convergence called for in my hypothesis. So one could say that my hypothesis must first prove that the potential for such scientific breakthroughs exist. My position is that there are many candidates.”

We can discuss further the rational of such an occurrence; however, such an event would cause and force the scientific community, the religious community, and all humans tuned into the news to face a new reality paradigm.

The fact is, such *reality shaking* potential scientific breakthroughs are in theory form even at this moment.

(I've been out of the wicca circle for some time, but the last time I i was within, Satan had been abandoned for the seven sons.)

j

Larro said...

That was a James T. Kirk quote.

Edgar Mitchell:

Mitchell's interests include consciousness and paranormal phenomena. During the Apollo 14 flight he conducted private ESP experiments with his friends on Earth. In early 1973, he founded the nonprofit Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) to conduct and sponsor research into areas that mainstream science has ignored, including psychic events.

Mitchell says that a teenage remote healer who lives in Vancouver and uses the pseudonym Adam Dreamhealer, helped heal him of kidney cancer at a distance. Mitchell said that while he never had a biopsy (the definitive test for cancer), "I had a sonogram and MRI that was consistent with renal carcinoma." Adam worked (distantly) on Mitchell from December of 2003 until June of 2004, when the "irregularity was gone and we haven't seen it since."

Noetic Sciences:

During the three-day journey back to Earth aboard Apollo 14, Mitchell had an epiphany while looking down on the earth from space. "The presence of divinity became almost palpable, and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes ... The knowledge came to me directly," Mitchell said of that experience. Following his spaceflight, Mitchell and others founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Among the projects the Institute have sponsored include a bibliography on the physical and psychological effects of meditation, a spontaneous remission bibliography, and studies on the efficacy of compassionate intention on healing in AIDS patients.


Compassionate intention? Prayer.

Research supported by the Institute of Noetic Sciences has been criticized as lacking in strict "peer-reviewed empiricism".

The skeptical organization Quackwatch includes the Institute of Noetic Sciences on its list of questionable organizations. The list outlines nine criteria they feel are useful in determining the reliability of groups offering health-related information.

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry have also criticized distance healing research supported by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, citing a ten-week study in their critique of parapsychologist Elisabeth Targ where "healers directed their psi energy to the [AIDS] patients by using prayer or meditation."


Damn them skeptics!!! Can't we just sweep all that under the rug...you know...just LET people think they're being healed, it just might work!

-LARRO

Larro said...

Oops, links:

Edgar Mitchell
Noetic Institute

Larro said...

Do you believe in "faith healing" John?

Larro said...

Paul Temple:

Entrepreneur, investor, soldier and scholar, Paul is a Life Director of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, having served as IONS' chairman from 1983 until 1999. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, after serving in World War II he launched his career with the Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro lawfirm. He became corporate counsel for Celanese Corporation and ultimately became the President of Esso/ Spain. Thereafter, he became an executive in a number of entrepreneurial firms in the natural resource industry. He is President of Three Swallows Foundation, and a co-founder of the biennial Temple Award for Creative Altruism. At Oxford Paul served as Honorary Sponsor for Christianity at the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival; master of ceremonies at the US-USSR Citizens Summit in Alexandria, VA in 1988, and in Moscow in 1990. He is also a member of the board of advisors of the Interfaith Conference.

Celanese

Celanese operates with JUST near 8,000 employees? Raking in BILLIONS of dollars? On the backs of slave labor I'm sure. Along with environmental consequences, as they operate in third-world and developing countries with the laxest of environmental regulations.

Temple Award for Creative Altruism MY ASS!

This all sounds so hunky-dory except for the fact of the Christian white-male-elitist-corporate face of it.

john said...

larro,

I am frankly embarrassed and very much appreciative for the clarification you provided regarding Edgar Mitchell. I have used this quote prior and wonder now how I can go back an rectify my ignorance regarding this individual. I will do so however.

My feeling that emerging breakthroughs in Science will have major impact on the human reality paradigm, however, is not diminished by your very astute correction of my using the wierd ex-astronaut as an example. He sounds perhaps like the first lunatic to actually visit and walk on the moon.

Regarding your question about faith healing, I deserve the question after my example, but I have a long time relationship with a doctor who never prescribes such healing methology.

Again, thanks, larro, I am interested only in the truth as it can be found and refined. Such open forums as this are very beneficial in helping misinformed people such as my self in seeing the truth as you have pointed out.

Given this, can you accept that science may be ready to force a change or transformation of human reality in a similar manner as science did with Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton?

Larro said...

...can you accept that science may be ready to force a change or transformation of human reality in a similar manner as science did with Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton?

I can John. As far as "force" though I'm not so sure that's a good word to use. Convince, maybe, but not force. I do believe that people should make up their own minds.

I must throw this out there though. Who is to say that the likes of Copernicus, Galileo and Newton were such anomalies? I for one would hazard a guess that the Dark Ages in which these folk lived was not the cause of the ignorance of the general population but rather by religious institutions. I think you may agree with that. We give our lay predecessors such short shrift and think of them as barbaric or backwards when in fact they were probably no less barbaric and backward than a great many people today. This is why I know humanity has not had an evolutionary "leap" since homo sapiens sapiens.

john said...

larro,

Good point on force, in this case I was referring to the force of fact through emerging scientific discovery, but it will be the persuasive powers of fact and reason that finally convince the religious leadership that medieval religious paradigms will not stand to reason and knowledge in the 21st century.

Regarding our predecessors, at the level of everyday living, I would agree that they were just as civilized as we are today, and likely able to grasp even the most abstract concepts of science today if given the benefit of information available to us today. They did not have the benefit of the accumulation of scientific knowledge and experience which we have today, but to describe them as barbaric or primitive intellectually would not be correct.

I feel the human ape is, however, about to make a evolutional leap from planet Earth to the Moon, then Mars, and then beyond. We are now well on our way with the International Space Station and our current race with China to put a colony on the Moon.

Humanity is now in the position of experiencing mind boggling discoveries in science, intellectually expanding capabilities in technology, and an emerging new frontier in space beyond the planet Earth to exploit and inhabit. This evolutionary leap, I predict, will be intellectual, not physical. We are in the processing of transforming from Earthlings to Extraterrestrials.

My question and consideration is what will this do to the mental/spiritual social intellectual paradigm of society on the planet Earth in the next 100 years, and isn’t this a good time to consider and discuss the subject?

Larro said...

Sure.

monster said...

bunch of dumb ass atheists trying to act intellectual and all, pretty cool.

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

If you are including john in the bunch of dumb assess, then yes, the potential information available to be known in the Universe is so far beyond my grasp that I admit readily to being dumb.

Regarding trying to act intellectual, you got me there as well, I do identify with my mind and intellect more than my physical primate form.

And, yes, us (we) being able to communicate like this is cool, very cool.

However, being termed atheists would exclude me from the bunch. This is not to say that I am a theist, I would be able to find agreement with both. Personally, I prefer the mystic solitude regarding such matters. Likely, however, neither the atheists nor the theists, or even the random skeptic has any valid concept of that which is ultimately and actually real. Everyone has a right to speculate and hold an opinion.