It’s a silent morning, that calm before the world rumbles alive, that time where you are stuck halfway between dreaming and living. There is an unresolved emptiness I hear in the rushing whispers of early cars, going by like blades of grass whoosing in the evening wind. It’s beautiful here. A time to reflect on how strange we all are in a way, little pieces of human created through millions of years of evolution, existing for only a fraction of a fraction of the Earth’s long history, living in a colossal, incomprehensibly large space with cubes of dark matter and emptiness and questions. Little humans with indescribably vivid tales. Someone around the world is getting married now. Having a first kiss. Getting a first job. Someone is probably screaming because they graduated college as the first in their family. Crying over losing a loved one. Aren’t these things we all experience? The human milestones are the same, but our stories are all different.
I remember one thing Richard Dawkins wrote about: his theory that since the human brain was designed by evolution to adapt to the lifestyle of the Earth, it can never be able to understand the truth of the Universe. Our brains are our limitations. But I disagree. Not due to some blind optimism, nor naive hope. But I disagree because of the way the Universe is set up. We have the physical laws, which cannot be surpassed by knowledge. That is the baseline structure. Everything else we don’t know is simply the gap of explanation. Provided we have sufficient knowledge, we can explain anything. If our senses are our limitations, are our deceptions, as they have been in the past- we build equipment that can fix this. The telescope for instance, changes our view of the billions of prickly dots in the sky to stars. The microscope allows us to see things thousands of times smaller than us. Calling rationality a limitation is too generalized: is it our senses that limit us? We can fix this. The way of pursuing knowledge? We’ve shifted from religious doctrine to empiricism to the scientific method. If that doesn’t work (which, it has been for the past hundreds of years), we can create another one. The amount of information we can physically store and process? Hello, artifical intelligence. If we can’t do it, we can learn how to build something- or someone- who can. There are things we still do not understand: consciousness, the end of the Universe, elementary particles, a quantum theory of gravity, time travel, the fabric of space, the evolution of order, life. These are the topics science fiction writers and the public have been fascinated by through time. Our own tale of our past and our future is weaved into the laws of the Universe. Immortality, mortality, and the quest for knowledge: these have been romanticized in literature works, in stories, in magazines. I find that books on these topics always have extremely eye-catching titles like “The Pursuit of Infinite Knowledge”, or “What is the End of Us?”. The gap between fiction and science in this area is blurry. Sensationalized science: there is a new best-seller.
Speaking on myths- are we really that much more advanced since the times of telling myths: that the seasons existed because Hades kidnapped Persphone for half of the year, and Demeter was sad and took away all the flowers? We still live in myths of our own today. Has our religion become more “truthful” or more “accurate”? I started the “Evolution of God” recently. It talks about how the shift from paganism to monaganism was due to different traits being emphasized in society. Our religions became less focused on geography, physical land, fertility, and agriculture, and more to morals, ethics, culture, and mindsets. Our religions shifted because we were done explaning the former, and now we could focus on the latter more so. I see this in a way. Christinaty for one doesn’t have gods who control the harvest of corn. Or the wind gods, or thunder gods who control the rain. No, the God (singular) is benevolant and emphasizes proper moral habits: do unto others as they would do unto you, be kind, listen, stuff like that. One reason is because we have science to take care of corn harvest, and explain weather. What do we know about morals? Proper morals? Psychology holds a partial answer, as does philosophy. But philosophy has always been characterized by a lack of empiricism. Religion can be called a truth in a way, depending on how you define truth. We believe in science the same way we believe in religion, except our belief in science is due to evidence, and our belief in religion is due to….. tbd. According to Nietzche it would be because we have “herd mentality”. I haven’t come up with my own answer yet.
One question I have: If the point (if science has a point) of science is to explain the world in order to give us more knowledge to ultimately advance the survival of our species- so calling it a “truth” is just a means to an end: anything is a “truth” if the ultimate goal is to advance our species- can we not claim the same for religion? It is evolutionarily adaptable- otherwise it would not have been around for so long. It builds community, fosters trust, satisfies our thirst for curiousity of the inexplicable. Amoung other purposes we can argue for, one point of religion is it advances the survival of our species. If we consider a “truth” in this way, I don’t see why religion cannot be considered one.
Of course some would consider a “truth” an end within itself, and not a term you can apply to a means to achieve that. Otherwise we could call murder a “truth” because it advances the survival of one individual. However, in response, general murder would hurt the whole species as a whole so I claim it would not be a “truth” since ultimately it hurts the whole species. If we say, however, that even the word “truth” is, similar to words “good”, and “bad”, ways we identify between pursuing evolutionarly adaptable behaviors and evolutionarly harmful behaviors, then couldn’t religion be considered a truth as well? However, being a “truth” implies objectivity that good/ bad lack, something religion lacks moreso than science.
Should we all become atheists? I find that the debate between religion and athiesm comes from a defense of atheism: that yes, athiests are also morally righteous. The default option appears to consider athiests as un-ethical, not moral, etc. But this just goes to show how much religion has become a symbol of morality in our age. Many books athiests have written start with a “contrary to popular belief, yes, I do support charity works, I believe in helping others, etc.”. This fact is a perfect representation that we are less concerned about the “truths” of religion, but more so the proper means each brings. We defend a religion due to it’s ability to bring proper means to an end, just as the defense of athiecism stems from a defense of it’s morals, and not due to the inherent, unverifable question: what is true?
as a heads up, I will be musing on different controversial topics in the next weeks. If you agree, disagree, or want to discuss, feel free too do so. I welcome free speech- which is another discussion all to itself actually. I’ve been reading more this summer, and I have a list of books I’d love to talk about. The beginning of infinity is one I’ve started. Maybe I should get a kindle for India, but I can probably find free pdfs of things online. (evolutionary adaptabilities of a college student).
Until later, then. Stay golden everyone :)