If I may be so bold as to answer: what you truly need to be protected from is a scientific community that is intolerant of opposing views in matters that are theoretical and unknown. This is the kind of mentality that burned people at the stake, that burns books and glorifies their own hypothesis as fact, even when it changes every day. That’s not an evolution of a factual theory. It’s called being wrong and not accepting you may have to start over from scratch.
“I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”
Einstein and Religion by Max Jammer, Princeton University Press
This is a secret panel of scientists at TED, of course, and they actually said they banned the talks because they dealt with “pseudoscience.” What was infuriating was that Sheldrake was using scientific facts to make his point, just as the other speakers did. Worse, they appealed to the logical fallacy that belief in God equates with belief in organized religion. A man can exist all his life in the wilderness, pertain to no religion, and still believe the order in the universe did not come by chance. Under the fanatical atheist’s rationale, this man would believe in an anthropomorphic God and religion. And worse, this belief deeply offends him, as the religious fanatic is offended by those of other faiths or atheists. It’s idiotic. It has to stop.
As we see in Einstein’s case he didn’t take religion seriously, that was the furthest from the truth, but he saw the structure and complexity of the universe and attributed it to an unfathomable intelligence or “infinitely superior spirit”:
“I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation… My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God.”
Albert Einstein,The Human Side
“If this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?”
– Albert Einstein, Out Of My Later Years
A non-religious belief in an “infinitely superior spirit” does not make you an idiot. Intolerance of better minds than yours holding this belief does. String theory posits that at the very tiniest subatomic levels mass exists because of vibrating strings, all in unique oscillations, in what has been described as the “music of the cosmos.” These vibrations are somehow responsible for assembling the quarks, electrons, atoms which create matter.
What has yet to be answered is what makes those strings vibrate, and it is inexplicably presumed to be played by itself. Why? Where’s the evidence supporting this belief? Has it it been disproven that intelligence can create and think? Because that is exactly what has to happen before anyone could call the matter closed.
If someone were to ask if night is day, the instinctive answer is “Of course not.” The answer, however, is wrong. It may be day where you are asked and it is your perceived reality, but it is night on the other side of the world. The logical fallacy is to assume yours is an absolute and common state of reality. It is two dimensional thinking in a three dimensional world. The scientific community is presently locked into two dimensional thinking that is either ignorant of the other side of the world, the key to the true equation, or in denial of it. Conversely, the religious community is locked into this thinking. For both, this shuts off access to the full and accurate picture.
Regardless of what happens, conformists will have to contend with other brilliant minds that can think for themselves; who work quietly in the background, who can start with a hypothesis that was never debunked in the first place. Perhaps they’ll start with the assumption that this intelligence exists, but what is it? How does it vibrate the strings and how long has it been doing it? If this is an infinite intelligence, considering the multiple universes and the knowledge gained within them, the infinity of them, is it the sum of an exponentially growing base of knowledge, and thus an intelligence or consciousness that continuously multiplies itself by infinity?
Atheists can and should follow their own path to understanding the cosmos. However, those scientists who believe we didn’t come about by chance should be left alone. History has proven they have been right before in unlocking great mysteries in science, and will be right again in unlocking more.
Moreover, if this intelligence exists and we finally accept it, how in the world could anyone in his right mind pretend to understand it, or predict it? It is the ultimate conceit to say we know the story of the universe already, when we don’t yet know how it began. At first we were saying it started with an incredibly concentrated mass that exploded into the Big Bang. This belief is already being challenged by another theory that posits it all came about from other universes crashing into ours.
We are reading a book that has no beginning. That is the state of our understanding of the cosmos. The characters seem to come from nowhere and they make no sense, because they were introduced in the beginning and right now we have no context.
So that means we don’t know what created the Big Bang, at least not yet. That’s why some string theorists are eager to prove there is a multiverse, because it’s believed ours was caused by other universes knocking into ours at least four times, each time creating a a Big Bang. Alas, that still doesn’t answer much. We then have to ask what created the multiverse? If we can’t answer that, knowing how the Big Bang came about is pointless. If we assume it was always there, we will have to prove it. It’s like saying the tree came from the ground, and was always there, or it came from an exploding seed. You still have to answer how that seed came to be, and how the DNA was created, how the amino acids it consists of came into being, how the atoms in the amino acids came to be, how the atoms came to be, how the protons and neutrons came to be, how the electrons and then quarks, leptons, gluons– and the vibrating strings came to be, then what causes the vibrations, and who knows how many questions we have left from there since we’ve gone into the territory of 11 dimensions and an infinity of universes?
At bottom, until we get to the foundation beyond which there are no more important questions in terms of the multiverse and beyond, we can never build any feasible structure on which to base our understanding of the universe. We can’t just say “it started with the Big Bang and it doesn’t matter what came before it as we’ve been doing for almost a century, and we can’t say “it started with the multiverse” and leave it at that. Somewhere there must be a foundation on which to stake this claim. We are deluding ourselves, pathologically self-infatuated with our convictions that we understand the deepest mysteries of the universe and its origins, and as a result crippling our capacity for deductive reasoning and our true potential.
There is a video clip that’s popular on YouTube made by a theoretical physicist I like and admire. It’s called “The Universe in a Nutshell.” It is an interesting clip, but the title is quite a conceit: we are absolutely no where near understanding the universe well enough to explain it in a nutshell. If you look at it objectively, it should be titled “The Universe in a Nutshell: Most of this Video is Informative but Only Educated Conjecture.”
Here’s a humbling, simple example of how ignorant we are right now in terms of quantum physics: we can’t even prove how long a piece of string really is! By the time we start to measure it at the subatomic level, our understanding of physics falls apart, and a particle starts popping up in many places at the same time. At that point, lasers are being used to try to gauge an accurate measurement, but as we measure deeper and deeper we have to increase the energy of that laser, this to the point of infinity. Before getting to this point, it is assumed, enough energy would be created to create a black hole, and earth would cease to exist.
Beating Up On Little Children
Every time I see a fanatical atheist like Richard Dawkins take on a creationist, I have the same reaction as I would seeing an adult beating up on little children. You already know who won and it’s not impressive, in fact it’s pretty fucking sick for a couple of good reasons.
You can’t make people intelligent by winning a debate or make people watching the debate intelligent. Intelligence is the key to rationality and deductive reasoning. Without it everything you said that was informative and true goes in one ear and out the other, and it doesn’t change the minds that need to be changed: the majority. People are born intelligent or they are not, and all you did was humiliate, infuriate and polarize potentially lethal religious extremists. It is a recreation for weaker minds, and for those who really get off on it: depraved ones.
Dawkins is like a Facebook bully who gets millions of friends to tell you that you’re stupid and worthless, and then cites cherry-picked empirical evidence collected to “prove” it. I could see the post on his wall now:
“On February 7 of 2008, you wrote an essay on why you like unicorns that got an F, and deservedly so. Why I Like Horsies With Horns aptly demonstrates your Christian penchant for mythology, fairy tales, and utter lack of scientific understanding in hippology, aeronautics and basic physics; all of which disqualifies you for life” and “On October 10, 2009, your goldfish died after you forgot to feed it, which is compelling evidence that your bloodthirsty, Christian barbarianism is already manifesting itself through animal cruelty that will inevitably lead to your participation in genocide.” Finally, he would post in all caps: “PLEASE UNFRIEND COURTNEY DAWKINS!”
The truth is you’re not worthless and stupid unless you want to be, you are either misinformed or indoctrinated, and to some extent every single one of us shares this condition. We are misinformed, particularly when we lie to ourselves, and we are indoctrinated inasmuch as our environment influences our ability to think for ourselves.
Socrates put it best:
“The only true wisdom is to know that you know nothing.”
In the video below, we see an example of the uncommon bravery it takes to beat the shit out of little children:
Now there is an urgency to address this matter of scientific intolerance and conformity.
We must never, ever let anyone believe that belief in God, or simply being non-atheist, will prevent any great advancement in physics. It is an absolute falsehood that ignores the contributions of Sir Isaac Newton, Einstein, and countless great minds before and since. It was not an obstacle then, it will not be in the future. This is why the danger and inherent censure of scientific conformity can never be tolerated.
The Anonymous Board at TEDx
Back to the rabid atheists who are playing Popes of science. By rabid, I’m talking about the “panel of scientists” at TED too chicken shit to reveal themselves. I mean, a secret panel? Seriously? It’s a true disappointment because 99.9% of the speakers there are incredible and thought-provoking.
What happened to Sheldrake was a classic example of the Asch Experiment if full effect, where it was demonstrated that people are so willing to conform they will believe an obvious lie, and this happened with people who should have known better. There were a few lies in question here: the first, that a hypothesis is a pseudoscience. These words are as connected as “apple” and “car.” A hypothesis is a theory, and if a theory is a pseudoscience then that means the Theory of Evolution and the Theory of Relativity are both pseudosciences. The second lie is that the quest to quantify a universal consciousness is pseudoscience. It would be, if it was proven that intelligence can’t engage in creation or thought. The third lie, and by far the most offensive, is that you need to be protected from this hypothesis.
It was also a classic example of social identity theory played out, where we see how little it takes for people to form into groups and discriminate. To quote the linked article:
“Social identity theory states that our identities are formed through the groups to which we belong. As a result we are motivated to improve the image and status of our own group in comparison with others.”
So it’s clear the image of the group in question, the anonymous board at TEDx, seems to be quite seriously threatened; so much so they gambled that censorship of a speaker would work, and that their image would not be tarnished when we have this curious little “series of tubes” we call the internet. Their image, one I highly respected for its tolerance, is dog shit now.
If you look at the brief comparison of indoctrination and propaganda versus eduction, and if you see the treatment of the Sheldrake video above, ask yourself if the items highlighted in red pertain to the treatment of the speaker:
Indoctrination & Propaganda
|1a. One-sided: Different or opposing views are either ignored, misrepresented, under-represented, or denigrated. [Sheldrake’s talk was misrepresented as pseudoscience rather than a theory.]||1b. Many sided: Issues examined from many points of view; opposition fairly represented.|
|2a. Uses generalizations, “allness” statements, and lack of specific references and data. [eg., science panel belief that those who question that the universe was created by chance means belief in religion]||2b. Uses qualifiers: Statements supported with specific references and data.|
|3a. Card Stacking: Data carefully selected – even distorted – to present only the best or worse possible case. Language used to conceal.||3b. Balanced: Presents samples from a wide range of available data on the subject. Language used to reveal.|
|4a.Misleading use of statistics.||4b. Statistical references qualified with respect to size, duration, criteria, controls, source and subsidizer.|
|5a. Herding: Ignores distinctions and subtle differences. Attempts to bring together superficially similar elements together. Reasons by analogy. [e.g., all religions hobble science because the Catholics did so for hundreds of years]||5b. Discrimination: Points out differences and subtle distinctions. Use analogies carefully, pointing out differences and non-applicability.|
|6a. False Dilemma (either/or): Only two solutions to the problem or two ways of viewing the issue – the “right way” (writer or speaker’s way) and the “wrong way” (any other way). [e.g., the anonymous TEDx science panel’s belief that they are right, and therefore all other approaches or theories wrong.]||6b. Alternatives: There are many ways of solving a problem or viewing an issue.|
|7a. Appeals to Authority: Statements by selected authority figures used to clinch an argument. “Only the expert knows” approach. [e.g., the anonymous TEDx science “experts” panel]||7b. Appeals to reason: Statements by authority figures and concerned parties used to stimulate thought and discussion. “Experts seldom agree”.|
|8a. Appeals to consensus or bandwagon approach: “Everybody’s doing it so it must be right”. [e.g., the anonymous TEDx science panel]||8b. Appeals to fact: Facts selected from broad data base. Logical, ethical, aesthetic and psycho-spiritual aspects considered.|
|9a.Appeals to emotions and emotional responses: Uses words and pictures with strong emotional connotations.||9b. Appeals to people’s capacity for thoughtful, reasoned responses: Uses emotionally neutral words and illustrations.|
|10a. Labeling: Uses labels and derogatory language to describe proponents of opposing viewpoint. [Sheldrake’s contrary hypothesis derided as pseudoscience]||10b. Avoids labels and derogatory language: Addresses the argument, not the people supporting a particular viewpoint.|
|11a. Promotes attitudes of attack and/or defense with the aim of selling a position or product.||11b. Promotes attitudes of openness and inquiry. Aim is to discover.|
|12a. Ignores assumptions and built-in biases.||12b. Explores assumptions and built-in biases.|
|13a. Language promotes lack of awareness and unconsciousness.||13b. Language usage promotes greater awareness and consciousness.|
|14a. Can lead to tunnel vision and bigotry. [men of faith, or merely outside the consensus, are ignorant and unqualified for serious peer review or to study the cosmos]||14b. Can lead to breadth of vision and understanding.|
|15a. Referenced studies conceal conflict-of-interest funding sources.||15b. Referenced studies reveal conflict-of-interest funding sources.|
|16a. Statistics always presented to show maximum damage from problem and minimum damage from solution.||16b. Statistics presented to show many aspects of problem, not always from a non-max/min approach.|
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