TMA-2

Posts Tagged ‘science

There is no God

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People educated in science can have no God besides science itself.

By that, I mean that I do not see a valid reason for people educated in science to be religious. No reason to believe that some supernatural forces are at work, dictating how the Universe works or how it was created.

Current science is far from knowing in detail how every bit of the Universe, or even of our own body, works. Whoever doesn’t realize that, certainly has a very shaky understanding of science. However, we’ve come a long way, and we’ve understood a lot of things, in the last few centuries (and we started long before that). We have a pretty good idea of how things are moving around in galaxies, and solar systems, and planets with their satellites. Oh, there are definitely weird, strange things out there that we have never even imagined, I’m sure of that. But still, we have a rough understanding of how stars work. We have a pretty good idea of how things work at small sizes, also. Quantum mechanics is a mature field. What we haven’t quite figured out yet, is what happens when very large masses are compressed into very small volumes — how quantum mechanics interact with gravity. We’re pretty sure how the Universe began, although we have some problems finding out what happenned in the first small fractions of the first second. We are much worse at understanding how the human brain is organized, but we do know that if certain parts are damaged, then bits of what we are, of our personality and consciousness, disappear. We are also quite positive that humans evolved from bacteria, over the space of a few billion years.

My point is, we don’t know everything, but what we did find out, it was found out using the scientific method. People wrote down theories, tested them using experiments, fixed the theories when they were wrong, and tested again. Nowhere did they find any trace of God. Everything that they found out follows a set of clear laws, with no arbitrary supernatural intervention required. Maybe God hides in His Own Particle, in the strange area where quantum mechanics and gravity collide. Maybe he put forth His Will in the first femtoseconds after the Big Bang. But why should we believe that, any more than we believed that God resided in the skies and his angels sat on clouds singing on golden trumpets? Why believe that, rather than believing that one out of the many theories proposed to explain such things will be experimentally proven, if and when we develop the technology to run that experiment? No. There is no valid reason.

And if you come to me and say, this is irrelevant, God does not have to do anything to physics to exist, he can be there there, outside the Universe, hidden, not manifesting himself until the Judgement Day — well then, I’ll smack you with Occam’s Razor right in the face. What’s the point of assuming a God that doesn’t influence me in any way? It makes no sense saying that something is “outside the Universe”. I’ll just scratch that God off and go on with my life, and so should you.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all aspects of religion. I certainly understand it was necessary to make sense out of the world, in the old times when science was not there to do it. I understand its normative benefits, and they are still here today. I understand and maybe even respect its traditions. But I don’t accept its core message — that a supernatural God exists who created and runs things.

(And don’t even get me started about the Church. The Church was a whore of politics, and the other way around — one of them was top and then the other. They both served a single purpose: making big money for a few people, on the sweat and blood of the rest. Church was about controlling people by fear. It’s no longer working — so politicians had to come up with something new, and quickly too. So, the big new thing is: terrorism.)

So, if you’re ignorant about science, fine, be religious. But if you know science, then you’re not entitled to be.

Some people may choose to be religious out of comfort. They feel better believing that they will exist somehow, somewhere, after death. That all the horrible things happening in the world make sense, at some higher level. I understand that, but I treat it as a weakness. Those people are too weak to accept how things really are, and are deluding themselves with false hopes. They are living their life under the wrong assumptions. And living under the wrong assumptions is very, very dangerous. As the immortal Steven Seagal said, “Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups”. Under the assumption that God exists, you could choose for instance to become a monk, and “build your house in the Heavens”. Which, if your assumption about God is incorrect, means that you’re largely wasting your life.

There are, of course, some caveats. For instance, I know religious people who are brilliant scientists. For me, those people are a paradox. I can only imagine they didn’t really sit down and think about it long enough, and hard enough. They are dominated by the inertia of their education as a child, and by tradition. Eiher that, or there’s really something about them that I’m missing.

All this doesn’t mean that Everything is Just Ashes, because God doesn’t exist. On the contrary, there are wonderful things happening in our times (together with horrible ones, as always). And you can contribute. You can contribute to science, and understanding. You can create beautiful art, and move people. You can help others out of famine and poverty. You can make a family, have children, educate them. But you should do all this while understanding how the world works, not deluding yourself about false Gods.

You’re on your own, so stand on your own two feet.

Live your life well, here, now.

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Written by tma2

7 August 2008 at 11:36 pm

Posted in Texts

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