An enthusiastic proponent of Creationism has built a full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark, complete with built-in dining tables and large picture windows over-looking a scenic harbor in Schagen, Netherlands. Will he be fueling more than his own pocket with his grandiose icon to the great debate between science and religion?|
A dear friend from high school, and we do mean high school, sent us an amusing email containing pictures of a replica of Noah’s Ark constructed in Netherlands by an advocate of Creationism.
This new ark measures up to the biblical proportions described in the old testament, but the builder’s motives may not measure up to the hype he will almost certainly cash in on.
Where the animals’ stalls on the upper decks should be, this new ark has dining tables next to large picture windows overlooking a scenic harbor.
It looks like the only animals boarding this new-age version of Noah’s Ark two-by-two will be people on dinner dates. This new ark will almost certainly be going into business as a tourist restaurant.
The builder stands to make a small fortune on his investment.
As for the builder’s faith in Creationism, we take the middle-of-the-road...
We know how the big bang theories work, we know how the steady state theories work, and, we know how creationism theories work.
As we see it, all three families of theories about how everything began are equally valid and not at all mutually exclusive of one another. It is sad, really, how many proponents of all three groups of theories insist their own pet theories are exclusive of the other theories and the only correct theory.
If you aren"t familiar with the older Steady State theories, they were the leading scientific theories for how the universe came into existence before evidence accumulated that pointed to the Big Bang theories. Both sets of theories are true, from our point of view, and, as we see it, Creationism actually helps explain how all three can be equally valid.
Steady State theories say that matter is created and annihilated all the time, on a regular basis. The regular basis bit is the "Steady" part.
There is even physical evidence for the perpetual creation and annihilation of matter, so how that evidence became overlooked or ignored when the Big Bang theories became more popular seems a bit strange. However, it only seems strange until we examine how human minds work and understand that some of our confusion about how the physical properties of our universe work may be more the fault of how we think about them than how we measure or record the observed properties of the physical universe.
The whole issue of creationism vs. evolution is part of this debate, because many people seem to enjoy maintaining the perception that the religion and science are at war.
Now it may be the case that some religious people sincerely feel threatened by science, such people may sometimes seem over-reactive or over-defensive when debating these issues. Some people may even behave in an actively hostile manner in response to feeling threatened by these issues, so in a sense, many faithful, religiously minded people may indeed see themselves at war with science.
However, to presume that the entire field of knowledge collectively known as religion is fairly characterized by the points of view of those religious people who try to represent themselves as authorities on such matters is a potentially hazardous false premise.
Characterizing the alleged conflict between science and religion as a war serves all sides of the debate by making their issues more dramatically or emotionally appealing to the general public.
There are political and sociological reasons why it is advantageous to maintain an illusory, false presumption that a state of war exists between science and religion. Human minds are easily misled into making such precariously predicated presumptions, particularly presumptions based on patterns of perception that heavily rely upon either-or principles of exclusivity.
Human minds are uncomfortable when they believe there is something they should know that they have no authentic knowledge of. Most people prefer to believe they know the truth, regardless of the actual truth content of whatever truth they may choose to hold above all other truths.
Without a consistent belief that they know the truth, most people feel more insecure. So people with a vested interest in their own peace-of-mind often fall into the trap of making false presumptions, especially when there is a pre-existing history of earlier false presumptions that has a strong cultural presence, a history that can be irrationally used as fictitiously logical validations of their chosen beliefs.
Such doctrinal supports are fictitious validations because they are tautological arguments, arguments that refer to themselves for evidence of their own validity.
Creationism, for example, may be seen in one context as only a story used to help people overcome their fears of not knowing all the answers by explaining the origins of the universe to them in terms they may understand; in terms they may often find more easily acceptable because of the weight of authority of past generations.
Is there literal truth to the biblical story of creation?
We strongly doubt it, however, we do not discount the possibility that there may be both literal and metaphorical truth to any Creation myths.
In one sense, we doubt Christian Creationism may be true simply because so many cultures have so many very different creation stories. Why should any one culture have an exclusive lock on the truth?
More than likely, there is metaphorical truth to all creation stories and they somehow converge to point in the direction of something that may be a true story of how the universe was created.
Alas, too many people only want to validate stories that support their own personally chosen collections of beliefs. Therefore, each culture appears threatening to other cultures because the truths they each uphold appear to be in conflict.
The conflict over Creationism or the origins of the universe, a conflict that is part of a larger context of conflicts between science and religion, exists, in part, because of a cognitive habit of perceiving things in dualistic terms.
Dualism is a process whereby we contrast things in our minds to try to get a clearer picture of them.
The most extreme contrasts of any subject are typically considered to be polar opposites. Unfortunately many people choose to mistakenly characterize all polar opposites as also being mutually exclusive opposites.
Particularly when it comes to truth, this means that lazy minds will want to accept one truth exclusively of all others. Not all polar opposites are mutually exclusive pairs, most are not. However, when it comes to how people often prefer to regard what they believe to be true, most people fall into the presumption that if their own beliefs are true, then any beliefs that do not appear to agree with their own beliefs must necessarily be false.
Considering things in terms of the co-existence of apparently opposite properties takes a lot more mental work than does the process of accepting one truth and then invalidating all other optional truths that appear to disagree. It is a hell of a lot easier to run your mind by using an exclusivity principle inaptly borrowed from duality paradigms than it is to consider the complex inter-relationships of many partial truths such as metaphors.
Consequently, laziness plays a big role in maintaining an attitude that there must be a war between science and religion because most people learn to prefer to take routine shortcuts in their cognitive processes.
However, politics plays a big part too.
Some faiths rely on common sense more than doctrine, while other faiths rely more on doctrine than common sense. This appears to typify one major aspect of the difference between eastern and western religions.
The holy trinity, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all rely more on doctrine more so than common sense, and possibly, they may all rely upon some fairly far-fetched doctrines, at that.
The social expense of maintaining a culture based on what some people may regard as patently false premises can be enormously high. The holy trinity pays that price, in part, by making itself open to criticism that their doctrines appear to be irrational. Why would they choose to pay such a high price?
In part, their choices have to do with maintaining their cultural investments. They have deep investments in supporting their doctrines; a huge amount of cultural inertia, so staying the course is often far cheaper than making any radical changes.
However, in part, they are motivated to pay such a heavy overhead price for a doctrinal approach that seems to fly in the face of common sense because their extreme positions have political advantages. For one thing, their doctrinal approaches make it easier to identify who is brain-washed into being a true believer and who is still a free-thinker, in other words, a potential threat.
Also, a doctrinal approach is subject to false affirmation. Every member of a given religious culture can point to their holy of holies, a Talmud, Koran, Bible, or other tome sanctified by their authorities, and say, “Look, it says so right here!”
This approach is great for lazy minds, no thinking required. If their holy scriptures say it then it must be true.
Part of the problem is that thinking minds are dangerous. So training people not to think, but to simply accept, is critical to most western religions.
Western governments have a vested interest in supporting church doctrines, overtly or covertly, because when people are successfully brainwashed not to think critically in one area of their lives, the habit of non-critical thinking is easily applied to many other areas.
Non-critical thinking is comforting, it is seductive, it can deceive people into believing they are thinking for themselves when really they are only parroting what they have chosen to believe. Therefore, regardless of whether they take a liberal or conservative approach to their local politics, many lazy minded people who choose to adopt church doctrines may inadvertently condition themselves to be more conservative supporters of their own governments as a consequence.
The doctrinal approach is actually reasonably easy to maintain, in terms of social costs, if you know the right tricks to manipulate the minds of the general public. Since the doctrinal approach requires people to lay aside their common sense, their rational minds need an outlet. The "rational" discussion of irrational questions is one of the best ways to go about sublimating the needs of an irrational populace to appear more rational to themselves.
Debates about whether or not our governments are in collusion with extra-terrestrials or terrorists are good examples of "rational" debate of issues that many people might dismiss as irrational. The perception of a war between science and religion, when viewed from this context, is seen to be another example whereby the public’s need to appear rational to themselves may be sublimated by debating an irrational question.
The question is not irrational because one of the opinions is genuinely mutually exclusive of the others so that only one side appears to be rational or true. Instead, the question is irrational because the premise, that one side must be true, and, by virtue of being true, that side must then inherently invalidate all other sides, is false.
The three major sides of the issue of Creationism, vs. Big-Bang vs. Steady State need not be mutually exclusive. Only our own lazy-minded preferences, for deliberately, albeit mistakenly, seeing things in black-and-white terms of mutually exclusive opposites, makes any of this debate appear to be rational.
Because applying rational processes of debate to irrational questions is often very entertaining, it is easy to manipulate people to maintain their own brainwashing by inveigling them into joining in these pointless debates. This helps reduce the social overhead expenses of maintaining convenient fictional truths through a doctrinal approach, by placing more of the upkeep expense upon the heads of true believers.
Are the three sides of the Creationism debate in any way genuinely mutually exclusive? We are pretty sure they are not. However, all proponents of each side of this debate find it convenient to keep the question firmly locked into a false premise that they must have an exclusive lock on the truth, a truth that necessarily invalidates all competing beliefs.
Either-Or is a much easier approach than is the And-And-And… approach.
Successful brainwashing typically requires a powerful emotional investment to help motivate the subjects to maintain their own brainwashing. From the point of view of doctrinists of every stripe, and science is just another form of doctrine, it doesn"t really matter which emotions are manipulated to help motivate true-believers, the important thing is the intensity of the emotion involved.
One might think that Love, Peace, and other positive emotions like Gratitude should have as an equal standing as emotional motivators, with Fear, Anger, and Hate, however, it turns out to be far easier to manipulate people"s "negative" emotions.
Love, Compassion, Gratitude, and Joy may be considered far more personal or private emotions, while Fear, Anger, and Hate are emotions that people seem to more easily share in common with complete strangers.
This makes the social cost of a doctrinal approach heavier for true-believers and lighter for those alleged "authorities" who are trusted with maintaining their true-believers’ doctrines. The cost is higher to the believer because it is easier to manipulate large masses of people with negative emotions.
Consequently, churches, states, and other large institutions often develop a deeply vested interest in keeping their subject populations in a constant state of anxiety by promoting a perpetual state of fear, anger, or hate.
Fear, anger, and hate take a heavy toll on human health in many dimensions, including physiologically, socially, economically, ecologically, and so forth. This toll on human health helps to maintain the states of anxiety manipulated by our social organizations to help train us to maintain our fear, anger, and hate, for them, on their behalf.
Negative reinforcement is a powerful conditioning tool. However, this sort of negative reinforcement can become a spiral of dangerous cognitive and emotional behavior that can become a run-away condition where the trend to become sicker accelerates.
An accelerating trend can more easily turn into a viciously revolving, downwardly spiraling trend leading to total collapse of the entire social organism, and its constituent members. Individually, many people may experience this sort of collapsing wave front ahead of the wave front that may potentially bring a complete collapse of the current social order and all related publicly maintained infrastructures.
While it is possible that this sort of collapse process may reverse itself short of complete disaster, the risk that general public may very well experience a complete collapse of their social systems as a consequence may be very high.
A collapse of segments of the public infrastructures and other social systems tends to benefit the designated authorities responsible for maintaining religious doctrines; people faced with the collapse of their social and economic infrastructures very reliably fall back upon their faith in times of severe distress.
It is important to remember that all social systems require a great deal of momentum, it is typically very difficult to change their course deliberately. One of the destabilizing influences presently accelerating the potential breakdown of social structures all over the planet at this time is the evolution of communication tools, particularly the global internet, but also, cell phones, camcorders, etc…
As an antigen, as a way of slowing the viral spread of foreign ideas that may destabilize local social order, some regions may shut down the internet to try to reduce their vulnerability to culture shock. However, by then the damage will almost surely be done.
Information only increases. Shutting down the internet may already be too late, in many cases.
Another antigen against the impact of the internet is the proliferation of false information.
Information may often only appear to be a threat if it appears to be reliable information.
By widely spreading lies, a deluge of false information may often help to obscure the truth.
The truth is already far stranger than many people are prepared to believe, however, anything anyone might seriously regard as the truth will tend to blend into the confusion of competing information alleged to be truths, so that all potentially reliable internet information then appears suspect, by association.
What the truth may really be is not something that anyone can ever define for anyone else, other than themselves. We may each do our best to try describe the truth in our own eyes, as we see it for ourselves, however, each person may really only ever judge for themselves what they will choose to believe is true.
The pursuit of truth is a something of a con game.
The purpose of the con game aspect of the pursuit of truth is train people to think illogically. It appears that it may be empirically impossible for any individual to know the truth of anything, perhaps even about themselves.
However, most people find it intolerable to understand or to believe that they most likely do not really know what is true. All people appear to have been conditioned to be afraid of not knowing what the truth is.
As elusive as the truth may truly appear to be, it is far easier to adopt a commonly held, popular belief in whatever the truth may be, regardless of its absolute truth-value, rather than admit to ourselves that we may not know what the truth may really be.
We learn to agonize ourselves over the details of specious arguments debating various, often feverishly upheld truths in order to keep ourselves distracted from the frightful possibility that neither ourselves nor anyone else may ever be able to know the truth.
While it may be impossible to define a universal truth of any sort, it is always possible to define an opinion of the truth as we see it for ourselves. That is all we can reliably be capable of without resorting to underhanded tactics that may ultimately amount to no more than a pack of lies espoused to maintain a fiction that we are somehow wise, knowledgeable, and the master of our own destinies.
All people, in our opinion, will always be the masters of their own destinies. We do not need to know what is true, in a universal sense to achieve our greatest ambitions, fulfill our fondest dreams, or our manifest our hearts’ desires. For all of that, each person’s private, personal truth is more than enough.
Do not surrender your own personal truth. Uphold your truth to yourself at all times. However, also respect the truth of others as well, you never know what you may learn.
The more we learn, individually, and collectively, the more we empower ourselves to define better worlds; the more we empower ourselves to heal our lives, and to share our healing with everyone we love.
The tendency for people to drive their social infrastructures and support networks to collapse is better understood today, than it may ever been in the past. We are better prepared to prevent future collapses and better able to mitigate the events of current problems. We can make a better world, all of us together, with no one left behind.
Author Bio :
Greg Gourdian is part of a collective being, we are composed of many entities participating in a psychic network.
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