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Thread: The Science of Redemption.

  1. #1 The Science of Redemption. 
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    Elsewhere I’ve argued that 35,000 years ago man evolved intellectually. He consciously recognized the relationship between the artifact – something made, and the artificer, someone who made it. He began to ask himself ‘Who made the Earth?’ and ‘Who made me?’ and inferred the existence of a grand artificer in the sky – a Creator of the heavens and the earth, i.e. God.

    Man employed this idea as an objective authority for law in multi-tribal and social ways of living. Placing this idea at the very heart of society, man’s evolution has been in relation to the world conceived of in terms of this idea, rather than the world itself.

    When scientific knowledge began to emerge – Galileo’s proof of heliocentric planetary motion in 1632 being the superlative example – the psychotic nature of the politics of religious absolutism was briefly illuminated and ostensibly rejected, however, the controversy greeting Darwin’s ideas in 1859 demonstrates that the truth value of scientific knowledge was not recognized – and today, nation states, as religiously founded political entities use science as a tool to corner resources for the few, to the exclusion of scientific integrity.

    These social, political and economic ideas and practices portend disaster. The energy crisis is not necessary from a scientific point of view. We have the knowledge and technology to end our dependence on fossil fuels. It’s not politically feasible, nor economically rational – even while nations armed with nuclear weapons enviously eye dwindling resources. Were we able to address the energy crisis we could prevent the worst effects of climate change – but again, we have the knowledge and technology to do so and can’t for reasons of political and economic ideology. Overpopulation is similarly impossible to address while people are divided by religion and nation into competing pseudo-racial groups – and while there is a capitalist interest in ever-larger markets. Environmental degradation has many faces but the same excuse continually arises – whether it be fishing quotas, rainforests, pollution or climate change – no one group will stop degrading the environment while others continue, and so no one does.

    In scientific terms there are no human groups – national, racial or otherwise, but a single species inhabiting a single planetary environment. Had the truth-value of Galileo’s scientific method been recognized in 1632, things might have been very different today – not merely for the reception of evolutionary theory, but had science been socially, politically and economically integrated as it emerged we might already have global government, acting on the basis of a valid understanding to balance human welfare and environmental sustainability, rather than be deluded, divided and threatened with extinction. But it wasn’t – and consequently, science is used as a tool to pursue the ends framed by religious, national and economic ideology, while scientific knowledge is ignored as a rule for the conduct of human affairs.

    If we now return to the very beginning of the argument to consider the intellectual awakening of primitive man, it can be shown that his way of life changed suddenly and radically. After a million years of stasis, he suddenly began to refine his tools, and make art. The gradual processes of biological evolution cannot account for such an abrupt change in behavior, but when we consider the nature of this change, sudden evidence of artistic expression makes it clear that primitive man evolved in relation to an idea – and what is science but an idea? It is an idea of how to achieve valid knowledge of reality – a method of investigation and reason that answers many of the questions primitive man was asking. For this reason I have proposed that conscious recognition of the truth-value of scientific knowledge constitutes the next step in human evolution.

    When we consider what it would mean to modern man to put aside religion, nation and capitalism to wholly accept science – it’s clear that on this basis we could act as a species to overcome the energy crisis, climate change, overpopulation and environmental degradation – and continue to exist, rather than become extinct. It would be to act in relation to valid knowledge of the reality we inhabit, but it’s so much more. We could end war, poverty and disease, develop science and apply technology on merit, free from the restrictions of a capitalist economic rationale. We could redesign our systems of production and distribution to provide ever better for human welfare within the bounds of environmental sustainability, and make art, music and literature, building upon and cultivating everything good in us for many generations to come. It would be as great an evolutionary step forward for us as it was for primitive hunter-gatherer tribes who joined in those first societies.

    I wish I could say that by approaching the problem in this way I sought to avoid the quagmire of morality – but I only sought the truth. Certainly, great moral benefit would follow from adopting science – but I had no foreknowledge that this approach would avoid moral condemnation being reflected back upon past and present social, political and economic arrangements in a way that arguing for survival as a moral obligation to future generations does not.

    It is not a moral obligation as such, but an amazing opportunity: an evolutionary ladder we can climb to the next plateau of existence. In this sense there is no moral condemnation of the past or present, no villainization of those who have profited most by the old ideas, no heads need roll to usher in the future. The concept of God, acting as absolute authority for law served to enable society, just as nation and capitalism have served in their own ways to bring us to the foot of the evolutionary ladder that is science. But it’s now so clear that religion, nation and capitalism describe an evolutionary dead end – it’s difficult not to consider the morality of maintaining these ideas to the exclusion of scientific integrity.

    Approaching upon extinction, religion progressively loses the quality of a spiritual celebration of the mystery of life, but as a function of proximity to extinction takes on the qualities of a metaphysical hobble, a hegemonic ideology foisted on the masses to confound rational argument. Spiritual community becomes a thin veil for xenophobia – and faith, an unquestionable authority for the rationally unjustifiable. Knowingly going to our grave, nation will be ever less an expression of political community, and more a symbol of political oppression as government, maintaining power while knowing ever less legitimacy, sinks deeper still into a squalid morass of lies and corruption. Similarly, capitalism will be ever less able to claim the promotion of innovation as a virtue, but as an obstacle to the scientifically possible, be ever more reduced to an ideology for justifying and furthering inequality.

    It is a matter within our understanding and subject to our will, in a way that it has not been understood in the past, and because it will soon be too late to prevent the worst, will not be subject to human will in the future. In the eyes of the last generations we will stand condemned – we who knew and had the opportunity to act, but took refuge in increasingly hollow justifications for self-satisfied complacency.

    We are morally obliged to consider this knowledge and opportunity very seriously, but adopting science recommends itself rationally. Having proved its truth-value a thousand fold, as a level playing field upon which all can meet, as an objective authority for law, and as rule and tool of government science promises a bright future for humankind. That it also offers moral redemption of all that has gone before is not inconsequential – but it’s the moral icing on the rational cake, a complement to the rational argument for adopting science.


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  3. #2  
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    Nice post; I like the way you articulated your ideas.

    Although I go a little lost in your argument near the middle, I think I fully understand your main point. I agree with you; because of religion and other illogical reasons for which to deal with life, we have in fact prevented ourselves from reaching a certain plateu of wisdom and knoledge. Religion has been so fully instilled into the populouses minds, that we will likely never be able to get it out of them. along with that, other things like goverment and politics are flawed in many way, due to their subjective and often irrational way of dealing with things. Science holds key to the closest we can currently get to becoming an objective logical species...yet so many people deny it. Maybe its because they are scared of the truth or do not want to have to deal with the truth all at once; whatever it is, it just shows that they are weak. If I objectively conceive a thought that has detrimental implications, I will still go with it. Such as the FACT that there is no god; that means that I cannot live for ever and won't be able to do tons of cool Sh*t in heaven. But guess what? I really don't care. The reason why many people tend to be so subjective is that they are selfish....they always want pure "human" happiness; they like to be defined under the terms and definitions of everyone else. They are selfish towards themselves and only want more, more, more, of everything. I think that that is pointless. Things that you can directly "want" are mostly things that are definded by others and therefore are inferior objectives. If you "want something" in an exponential philisophical manner, that transcends any pinnical that you can instantaneously hypothesize, then you seeking the right thing.

    As for humanity being definitively doomed, I don't know. I feel like the chance of humanity surviving for another 100 years is 55%.

    Again, nice post. Oh yeah, I power typed this, so there might some spelling or grammar errors.


    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

    -Einstein

    http://boinc.berkeley.edu/download.php

    Use your computing strength for science!
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  4. #3 thanks 
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    Cold Fusion, thanks - it's nice when people agree, but doesn't lend itself to further comment. all the very best, iconoclast.
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  5. #4  
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    "We who knew and had the opportunity to act, but took refuge in increasingly hollow justifications for self-satisfied complacency."

    Thats the main point. If people could only understand that....

    If everyone read your post 10 times and fully understood it, I think that the number of posts in this section would be reduced by half. But of course! People are too lazy to analyze certain things and understand them! Which of course, is to their detriment.

    In fact, your post has made it to the "Greatest quotes" MS word document list that I have created.

    I'll add this then: Along with science, do you also think that philosophy is necessary?

    The way I see things, philosophy is the way for us to reach our hands into the future of knowledge, taste it for a moment, then come back and objectively reach that point. Without philosophy, logic wouldn't have the means to work for us.

    We need more people like you in this world; I need to know more people like you! Unfortunately I ONLY know intelligent people on this, and another forum.
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