Why stack angels? Are religion and science compatible?

ImageThe never-ending topic of discussion which often leads to flame wars over the Internet, are about religion and science. A lot of this discussion tends to follow this path; evolution explains what we are and how we got here. Religion explains who we are and how we got here. Both are right and both are wrong. Now that should twist a lot of hair and either get you to leave or read on further to examine where this discussion leads.

I began this response as part of my limited efforts to close some loops on questions in which there are no closed loops.

It began as a novelty topic for discussion by someone whose writing I respect through our interactions on Facebook.

Is it possible for new things to happen; for our ideas to be original; for our lives and futures to be unique, special & different?

Or has everything happened many times before; somewhere in the universe identical versions of us have played the same games, thought the same thoughts; even loved the same loves?

♂, ♀, ✳, †, ∞
From a purely non-philosophical point of view the simultaneous activities of individuals has nothing to do with a landscape of parallel realities. Each activity is part of a larger reality. That is to say we have only our own experience in a collection of shared reality. I have been reading and watching again the continued debate on those who insist the rational mind excludes the reality of a God vs. those who insist that any deviation from their interpretation of God is in itself a blasphemy against all things pertaining to the nature of God.

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986)

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each individual interpretation and insistence of what constitutes belief or unbelief is as relevant as the explanation given here: Krishnamurti – Who am I?

Who or what God is may invoke the greatest debates but if we go back to the simultaneous activities of the human race we discover each individual is wrapped up in their own reality of the moment. To each of them, especially to the surgeon in operating theater, the pilot landing a plane in inclement weather or the professional athlete working toward goal, their reality is of the moment. Stepping back and acting as an observer, we can see each of these activities are significant to those involved however to someone on another continent, the next city or just around the corner, their activity is often of little importance except to those in the shared experience. Each of them have a reality and a purpose but others some distance away without having any connection (physical or electronic visual assistance), may believe this event isn’t occurring or at the very least has no relevance to them.

that's funny grandpa

You are so funny Grandpa

I refer to these individual observations as trying to perceive life or reality of life as viewed through the end of a straw. The straw may permit laser focus on one or a few events, but it isn’t a very good way to understand things beyond the immediate observation. Dawkins talks about believing in flying tea cups, to show how foolish a belief system can be and I suppose I could insist without tangible observation of a Dawkins, he doesn’t exist. Both examples border on the inane because first off we can obtain evidence that Dawkins exists, we can watch a video, read one of his books or talk to someone who has met him. All of those methods are adequate in our ‘rational mind’ to suggest Dawkins exists. Then we ponder a flying tea-cup, the one Dawkins is referring to isn’t the one which just flew off the tray at someone’s head because of an angry episode between two people. His analogy refers to a tea-cup somewhere hurling in space. I can’t say with certainty there aren’t any tea cups floating in space but point to my observation as well as those shared by others, which heretofore haven’t discovered any flying tea cups. What we can say is, I find no evidence for flying tea cups and if I ask for proof, there’s not much likelihood of anyone producing such evidence.

OK, if you stuck with me so far, you may be wondering if there’s a point to this, and there is but we must remind ourselves, our limits in understanding may be expanding but they aren’t all-encompassing. The insistence of a true scientist, are to have found elements of an event by either direct observation or through results containing structure of those elements, which lead a chain back to the original but no longer directly observable event. This is the basis of the ‘big bang’, an event which has been recorded in the envelope of time and through its remnants, scientist have arrived at what seems to be a plausible explanation for the formation and transition of this original energy into our immediate observable portion of the universe. We then extrapolate from those basic elements, life began through an evolutionary cycle of physical alteration by means of chemical and physical activity to the point where eventually the simplest of life forms began and through an incredibly long period (at least to us), these simple life forms mutated and became more complex as they changed on their own to adapt and become better at this adaptation. Rather than become a few super evolved creatures, these life forms differentiated based on a specific randomized adaptation and these eventually became the various taxa developing into clades.

English: Richard Dawkins giving a lecture base...

Richard Dawkins lecturing based on his book, The God Delusion, in Reykjavik (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This simple and brief explanation forms the basis of what most commonly refer to as Darwinism, credited with the start of visual observation leading to further investigation and launching an interest in explaining  how life began without the supernatural. It is perfectly rational to want to know more and to seek answers. In history we see the emergence of a discipline which rejected the notion all things can be explained through an all-powerful all-knowing intelligence which had no beginning and no end. There were many groups who had already concluded all things of relevance were known as long as they pointed back to this omniscient, omnipresent being. The council of Nicaea attempted to reach those conclusions using their own understanding and their insistence this limited knowledge was sufficient to control the lives of humanity for millennia.

As much as these two groups (religion – science) have separated over the years they insist their way of observation is the only method to understand and live one’s life. If you watched his video, Krishnamurti explains how conformity exists through comparison. It is a profound statement if you take the time to consider his thought. Each of these groups insists their’s is the only way but they are each looking through an end of a straw and comparing their view to the other one.

How life began may be as relevant as asking, who are you? Krishnamurti answered, “is that an important question”? He went on further to say perhaps the question should reflect, “who am I”? It is a curiosity”. Furthermore he used an analogy of looking at a menu in a window is not effective, you must go into the restaurant to gain nourishment. Perhaps this is the most significant answer to any question, “who am I”, not “who are you”? I’m an individual of no particular significance and yet I might matter to those who come in contact with me. I’m not a surgeon, a pilot or an athlete, therefore to some, I don’t matter. For some I may have never existed.

Looking back in history, René Descartes posited, “Cogito ergo sum“, “I think therefore I am”.  Long before Descartes, with a limited understanding of human philosophy, the authors of the Bible, explain how Moses posed a question ‘what is God’s name’, the response was, “I Am”.

Ehyeh asher ehyeh translates as “I Will Be What I Will Be”, with implied theological and mystical implications in Jewish tradition. In most English Bibles, this phrase is rendered as “I am that I am.” My explanation of that event is, I’m something beyond your current level of understanding. You seek me in a physical way, such as this burning bush. To you, that appears to be something great, however to the universe it is nothing. You seek knowledge and understanding and you want physical evidence.

Here, take these tablets of which I give you. On them, you will find the basics on which to build a civilization beyond the tribal level. Come back to me when you want to learn more as I’m all around you. Observe all that is around you and you will understand a part of me. Gain control of your physical lives and learn responsibility toward each other. Conduct yourselves within these defined limits and perhaps you will have enough time alloted to you to learn more. Seek the face of God and know that “I Am”.

This is my Reader’s Digest version of things pertaining to the nature of science and spiritual. They are but a beginning to a life long passion of picking up straws.