Category Archives: Science

Ancestors (3rd)

Our Ancestors—Safe When They Walk The Streets Of Our Minds?

Most of us believe we’re much more “advanced” than our “crude” ancient ancestors.

In my opinion we’re quite unnecessarily self-congratulatory—consider this simple chart:

Ancient Classical Elements

Fire                          Air                      Water                 Earth


Modern Physics—States of Matter

Plasma                     Gas                    Liquid                  Solid


Modern Earth Science

Magnetosphere      Atmosphere      Hydrosphere      Geosphere


We’re quick to point out what we know that our ancient ancestors didn’t know.

Nevertheless, the above chart suggests that, while none of them would qualify for a job at NASA, they were far from ignorant and could be brought up to speed faster than we might think.

After they added our store of knowledge to theirs, (some of which we have lost, forgotten, disregarded, or mocked), would teaching then be strictly one-sided?

When considering the abilities and achievements of our forefathers and mothers, is it fitting to approach the subject predisposed to arrogance and smug self-assurance, or with respect and humility?

 

Ancestors (1st)

Their “Toolbox” Contains Useful Surprises

A while ago western scientists and Tibetan Buddhist monks somehow found themselves in discussion of quantum physics.

Though dealing with a considerable communications problem they got down to business.

The physicists thought they would be bringing backward monks up to speed.

They were astounded to realize the monks, who had never attended a modern university, and had no other access to training in modern math or science, nevertheless had  a grasp of quantum physics and thought it no big deal that they did.

Well, how?

Intuitively.

The knowledge came from within—through meditation.  All faiths have a meditation tradition, but a specific religious orientation isn’t prerequisite to practice.

Our ancestors, it seems, learned much by “going inside”.  Through the centuries it has been said repeatedly that within each of us there exists a “living book of revelation”, constantly available.

All we have to do is learn to quiet the mind.  ¹

The possibilities are endless.


¹  For a simple, non-sectarian introduction to one type of meditation, check out 8 Minute Meditation,  by Victor Davich, listed on my Reading List page.

 

Fundamentalism

Not just Christians…

Fundamentalists, whether Christian, Hindu, Moslem, Jewish, or Buddhist, are conservative, in some cases even reactionary.  Why? ¹

Glad you asked.

Fundamentalists are certain beyond any possibility of debate that their preferred sacred book(s), inerrantly portrays God’s, (or the gods’) will, which is to be followed to the letter.

Because they’re so sure they’re absolutely right, its simple logic that they regard any differing positions as absolutely wrong.

Therefore, though it may not be legally justifiable, the more militant² fundamentalists feel morally justified in imposing God’s, (the gods’)  will on everyone else.   After all, God’s, (the gods’) will, perfectly expressed in (each group’s preferred) scripture, must not be defied.

Social change is strongly resisted if it doesn’t square with ancient patterns of social organization reflected in their scripture(s).  What was condemned, say, 3000 years ago in scripture is to be condemned forever, because (each group’s preferred) scripture is a once-and-done-for-all-time perfect reflection of God’s (the god’s) eternal will—hence the social conservatism or outright reactionary tendency.


¹ Fundamentalism crosses religious lines. Therefore discussion in the round is tricky because the subject is inherently complex.  This post, a first effort, may change to reflect  evolving understanding.

² Some fundamentalists are content to “stand on (their preferred) scriptural truth and love the sinner.”  Unlike the more militant strains, they live law-abiding lives.  They don’t riot, shoot people, bomb crowded pizza parlors, or otherwise shred public peace, dignity, or safety.  Neither do they conspire to do away with democratic traditions or institutions, the better to impose rigid theocracy on everyone.  Theirs is the lawful activism of the ballot box.  In short, their intolerance is tolerable.

Pseudo-Religion Versus Pseudo-Science

Who’s Kidding Who?

On one hand—pseudo-religion with its un-provable dogma.

On the other—pseudo-science, the idea that science is the only way to obtain valid knowledge, coupled with the claim that scientific knowledge = the whole of reality.

Religious dogma can’t be subjected to objective testing. ¹

Science can hardly comment on subjects like life’s meaning and purpose.  While we’re at it, how does science measure feelings, dreams, visions?  Assuming one could isolate a dream in a test tube, is the entire significance of a dream limited to what can be learned there?  Dreams have always had great psychological / spiritual significance.

When certain scientists get too big for their britches, they can be put in their places by requiring them to show scientific proof that science is the only way to obtain valid knowledge on all subjects. ²

There is not now, and won’t ever be, any such proof.


¹ Attempting to prove the validity of dogma with references to holy writ doesn’t constitute proof as science (or law, for that matter), understand proof.  Such “proofs”, in my view, are really exercises in faith, which has a legitimacy all its own.

² Fundamentalist Christian children and their parents…please note!