Religion vs. Science – What it’s All About

It’s all about proving each other is wrong. It permeates the entire political sphere. It determines policies of U.S. Presidents, the Environmental Protection Agency and so on. It’s about trashing Earth or saving it.

So who is wrong, who is right?

Philosophy 1: God created Earth – perhaps as recently as 4,000 years ago. With the creation the entire fossil record, stars, planets, life, life forms, species, were all created simultaneously.  God created Adam and Eve. We all descend from them.

Philosophy 2: The universe started with something like “the Big Bang” about 14 billion years ago. Life evolved from chemicals and is likely to be found on other planets than Earth.

Religion historically has found science a challenge and – for example – convicted Galileo of heresy for saying the planets orbit the sun. Science has proved religion – in this regard – to be wrong.

However, no one has proved that life has evolved from matter to date. No one has found life on anywhere than Earth. Religion says God created life. Science says chemicals created life. Neither has been proven.

To date – no one has found evidence of life developing on another place than Earth.

They would like to.

That’s what it’s all about.

Why are we so obsessed with finding the smallest amount of life on another planet when we have amazing life that we take for granted here on Earth and we destroy it?

We have no proof life exists anywhere in the universe other than Earth. Given a planet with the right conditions, life can spring from matter and eventually evolve into something greater is the wet dream of science, but still an unproven theory.

I don’t think this scientific quest detracts from our appreciation for all the wonderful things we have here on Earth.

You’re right. We need to do both.

However, just why are scientists “so obsessed” with “finding the smallest amount of life on another planet” in the first place, and why are people taking life for granted here on Earth and destroying it?

First, the searching for life in space boils down to an ancient feud between Science and Religion. Galileo (1564-1642), father of modern physics, astronomy, cosmology, mathematics and philosophy, was put on trial by the Catholic Church and convicted. This has never been forgiven.

We spend billions of dollars listening 24/7 for repeating radio waves, sending rovers to drill rocks on Mars, search the nearby stars for signs of “Earth-like” planets, and so on just to have at least some evidence that life has evolved on some other planet in the galaxy or moon in our solar system. It’s such an important endeavor that finding an alien and a UFO from space would delight scientists. If only. Unfortunately, we don’t even have a fossil of a microbe from space. No evidence at all.

We have no proof life exists anywhere in the universe other than Earth. Given a planet with the right conditions, life can spring from matter and eventually evolve into something greater. No God required. It’s the wet dream of science, but still an unproven theory.

Second, people taking life for granted here on Earth and destroying it because – even in our schools – children are being brainwashed to believe the Earth was created 4,000 years ago and not 4.5 billion years ago, and that God created life on Earth and all life and things on Earth are meant for the descendants of Adam and Eve to rule over and enjoy. That mentality drives people not to care about what we do to Earth.

How do some people still believe Earth is the only planet with intelligent life?

Ignorance.

I once posted a question to my Facebook page. Which do you believe: 1) Earth is 4.5 billion years old like scientists say or 2) 4500 years old like the Bible says? More than half of my Facebook crowd, which includes people from work, my wife’s family, my family, friends from my childhood, and so on, answered 2. I was surprised. Not only did they select 2, but with comments like “2, of course!”

This is a problem. Why some religious people (not all, of course) believe the Earth is 4500 years old is very surprising to me.

People don’t trust science. In fact, right now in the United States we have a leader that doesn’t believe the Earth’s climates are changing and that if they are, that mankind has anything to do with it at all.

Here’s an image of a giant wasteland in the Pacific Ocean. True story. This consists of our trash, plastic bags and so on, that get washed down waterways and find their way to the ocean, then drift to the center of the ocean where they gather to form the Pacific Ocean Garbage heap. And people say humans have nothing to do with climate change.

The Hindu Caste System

In the dictionary used by Google Assistant, caste (pronouced kast), is a system “distinguished by relative degrees of ritual purity or pollution and of social status.” During British reign over the Indian subcontinent from 1876 to 1947, the practice was outlawed.

The caste system, though against the law, still holds many people down in poorer parts or religious strongholds of Hindu Society.

This wasn’t always the case. Hindu religious scriptures, a group of writings collectively called the Vedas, broadly and variously define caste not by social status but by natural proclivity. Religious scholars in the field say we’re all divided into four categories. Not just Hindus, but all of humanity.

The four castes are:

  1. The laborer.
  2. The businessman
  3. The politician and organizer
  4. The thoughtful person.
map_of_india50
The Indian subcontinent, is a large peninsula that protrudes from southern Asia. It comprises of several countries, India being the most prominent.

These divisions are called: Shudra, Vaishya, Kshatriya and Brahmin and you’ve just had your first lesson in Sanskrit for the day. Sanskrit is similar to Latin in that the language exists and scriptures are written in the language, but it’s not a spoken language anymore.

Originally, culturally and historically, caste was not determined by birth or social status but by natural propensity. Thus if someone born in a laborer family had a proclivity to be a politician, or businessman, or priest, and earned the qualifications through apprenticeship, then so be it.

In fact, one Indian guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, traveled to the United States in the early nineteen sixties. By teaching and initiating disciples among young Americans, he created a class of Brahmins from ordinary people that gravitated to his religion called Krishna Consciousness. This relatively small religion migrated around the world and still has followers to this day.

1200px-His_Divine_Grace_A.C._Bhaktivedanta_Swami_Srila_Prabhupada
Swami Prabhupada founded the Hare Krishna religion in the West

That Prabhupada would introduce ancient Indian teachings in the United States clearly suggests that in the mind of some Hindus caste is not by birth, but by born proclivity. Anyone, Prabhupada believed, could become any member of a cast simply by exhibiting a tendency and learning about the religious beliefs behind it all.

Though compared to most religions the Hare Krishnas remain small in number, they are respected in various communities in India, but not by all. An example of a community that does not accept non-Hindu born people as Hindu-converts is the city of Jagannath Puri on the East coast of the Indian sub-continent. There is a big temple, much like the central church of a religion in the West. This is the Temple of Jagannath and is visited by Hindus who make the pilgrimage from all over the world to see it. The temple authorities, however, don’t allow anyone who was not born a Hindu to set foot in the temple. It is strictly enforced by multiple levels of security. “White Hindus” (or any other color of non-born Hindus) are not allowed to defile the temple. Even an Indian born Muslim is not allowed in the temple. You must be born in a Hindu family to be allowed inside.

jagannathtemple
The popular temple of Jagannath in Puri, India. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside.

It is tantamount to someone born in an Islamic family who converts to Christianity, and not allowed in the church because of his or her birth. Even though most Christian communities would accept an Islamic-convert, there are people and groups who are racially tainted toward anyone who has non-white skin. According to people of this mindset, everyone from Europe or the middle-east, with non-white skin must be a terrorist. Often Hindus and Sikhs are mistaken as Muslims and experience discrimination based on perception.

Never mind that in India and most other Asian countires there are Chrisitians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and just about every other religion you can think of. The ignorance has become so deep, even in the wake of the age of the Internet, that many people don’t even know there are other religions like Sikhs and Buddhists and Hindus. You’ve even got a United States President who vehemently and relentlessly tries to stop people from entering the United States from countries that are predominately Muslim.

Image result for map of fiji
The island nation of Fiji. Photo from Ezilon Maps

 

Therefore, we can see that racism and prejudice exist among different cultures around the world. For example, I once visited Fiji, an island nation in the South Pacific. The indigenous population are predominately dark skinned. However, the British had a tendency to muck things up and so brought indentured laborers from India to help with the production of sugarcane, which grows like weeds over there.

As a result, fast forward a couple hundred years, the population of Fiji is split down the middle. You’ve got half the country native Fijians, and then you’ve got the Hindus, descendants of the Indians who were brought there by the British. They comprise the other half. They don’t like each other. There’s a lot of tension and mistrust on both sides. Sometimes they have coops if the wrong side gets elected to lead the country. Sometimes there’s murder.

Getting back to the original assertion of this article, regardless of prejudices of people of the world, every culture has something to offer. There is nothing wrong with unity and diversity.

One of things I’ve taken away from the Indian culture, besides their wonderful knowledge of spices in cooking, is that the caste system was an unfair division of society if taken because of birth or placement of one’s family, but that also there is a recognition that everyone is different, not equal. Someone wants to be a priest. Someone wants to be a businessman. Someone wants to be a politician, or a policeman, or a military person. Someone likes to dig in the ground, build houses, build skyscrapers.

These are the four castes. It’s going on all over the world anyway, whether we call it that or not.

Why not recognize this in children as they grow up? Why don’t we start helping, directing, encourage kids if we see, “Oh, he/she likes woodworking. Oh, he/she likes working on cars. Oh, he/she likes physics! He/she likes bodybuilding and sports!”Image result for making a table

Obviously, the American system of education is not doing nearly as well as some other countries, despite propaganda from politicians.

Perhaps, long before they reach college age, young men and women should have the training they need to step out into life and become a productive member of society that has a job doing stuff they like!

Below is a chart originally published in the British newspaper The Guardian. According to the data, and contrary to what American politicians might have you believe, the United States is not a leader in education by any means whatsoever. Is it time to try something else? If not the caste system, then at least something different!

Data summary

World education ranking

This data is sorted by Readings score. It could be sorted otherwise, just this is the way this data is sorted. You will see the United States is way down the list.

Country Name
Reading score
Maths score
Science score
OECD average 493 496 501
Shanghai-China 556 600 575
Korea-South 539 546 538
Finland 536 541 554
Hong Kong-China 533 555 549
Singapore 526 562 542
Canada 524 527 529
New Zealand 521 519 532
Japan 520 529 539
Australia 515 514 527
Netherlands 508 526 522
Belgium 506 515 507
Norway 503 498 500
Estonia 501 512 528
Switzerland 501 534 517
Poland 500 495 508
Iceland 500 507 496
United States 500 487 502
Liechtenstein 499 536 520
Sweden 497 494 495
Germany 497 513 520
Ireland 496 487 508
France 496 497 498
Chinese Taipei 495 543 520
Denmark 495 503 499
United Kingdom 494 492 514
Hungary 494 490 503
Portugal 489 487 493
Macao-China 487 525 511
Italy 486 483 489
Latvia 484 482 494
Slovenia 483 501 512
Greece 483 466 470
Spain 481 483 488
Czech Republic 478 493 500
Slovak Republic 477 497 490
Croatia 476 460 486
Israel 474 447 455
Luxembourg 472 489 484
Austria 470 496 494
Lithuania 468 477 491
Turkey 464 445 454
United Arab Emirates 459 453 466
Russian Federation 459 468 478
Chile 449 421 447
Serbia 442 442 443
Bulgaria 429 428 439
Uruguay 426 427 427
Mexico 425 419 416
Romania 424 427 428
Thailand 421 419 425
Trinidad and Tobago 416 414 410
Colombia 413 381 402
Brazil 412 386 405
Montenegro 408 403 401
Jordan 405 387 415
Tunisia 404 371 401
Indonesia 402 371 383
Argentina 398 388 401
Kazakhstan 390 405 400
Albania 385 377 391
Qatar 372 368 379
Panama 371 360 376
Peru 370 365 369
Azerbaijan 362 431 373
Kyrgyzstan 314 331 330

Would you say it’s a miracle that earth developed in just the right way in order for us to exist? Or Is it even more miraculous that humans could adapt and become the masters of this planet?

If not miraculous, then pretty darn incredibly fortunate for us.

So far, as we study our planet and the places we either visit directly or send our robots to, we haven’t found any other place with life on it. Finding life on another planet would be great. It would prove it wasn’t a “miracle” for life to develop, but just an inevitable developmental cycle of a planet with just the right conditions.

This is one of the main goals of all space research right now – to disprove the miracle theory.

So it might be called semantics, a miracle, or natural evolution of the universe? You tell me! Scientists would say not.

Why my Father was Agnostic

In a recent non-scientific pole at least half of my Facebook friends who responded said they believe the earth is 4,000 years old, not 4.5 billion years old.

My father could not accept Earth was only 4,000 years old, so he “doubted” God. He described himself as agnostic, which he defined as “someone who wants to believe but can’t.”

My brother, a psychiatrist and Episcopalean minister (and who believes Earth is 4.5 billion years old) lamented my father did not embrace Christ before his death, even though my brother promotes the Elementary Wave Theory of Lewis Little, our cousin.

 

To Be or Not to Be

My wife has gone all religious on me. I’m not used to that. For years she was leaning towards atheism. I was uncomfortable with atheism even though I lean heavily toward physics.

Atheism makes sense. More sense then most evangelicals, ISIS, Catholics, Jews and so on. At least to me. I think all religions could use a dose of atheistic realism.

However, I’m mortal, like you, and I’m sixty-four, like Paul McCartney’s song. Days flow by into months which flow by into years. I’ll die. Now my fascination with science kicks in. Survival of the fittest: evolution. All species seek to live, not die. The fittest survive longer than the weakest. So I seek to live, not die. I really don’t want to die. That’s what all people feel except those who are mentally ill and want to commit suicide.

So we dream of never ending life. Religion is born and we convince ourselves we won’t die forever.

There’s glitches in that theory, I know. Science points us to galaxies, expanding universes, black holes, the possibility of life on Titan, Saturn’s moon. But is that it? Is there no mystery to life itself?

An atheist would say no. In my heart I feel otherwise. For most of my life I’ve been devoutly religious. There’s subjective as well as objective. I really don’t feel the subjective is due to chemical reactions in my brain or the brains of many people both now and the past that have had religious experiences.

And my wife is suddenly, almost inexplicably, drawn toward religion. I mean, like, it’s her only thought all of a sudden. Weirdly, I’m the best one to teach her in the direction she wants to go.

There’s probably more to this thought on this post, but that’s what I’ve got for now.