Wednesday, February 08, 2017
WHAT IF YOU HAD AN AUDIENCE?
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
Twice in the last month I've been asked to speak to this group--the Unitarian Universalist of Yuma, Az--a terrific honor because these are the best and brightest minds of Yuma. If you doubt it, consider the quality of these Unitarians from history:
John Quincy Adams
William Howard Taft
Louisa May Alcott
Susan B Anthony
Ralph Waldo Emerson
So what could the Mobile Kodger possibly offer to this brainy group?
I ASKED THEM AN HONEST QUESTION:
(An honest question is one that you honestly would like an answer to)
WOULD OUR LIVES BE RICHER WITHOUT RELIGION?
About 6 of the 7 billion people on earth hold some sort of religious belief in their head.
(Religious beliefs---all of them--are theories and guesses about the WHY of life)
(Science, by contrast, is concerned with explaining the HOW of life)
Science has done the better job--so far, providing us with evidence-based explanations of how we came to be
HERE , IN SUMMARY IS WHAT SCIENCE HAS REVEALED ABOUT OUR ORIGIN:
1.Beginning with a big bang (that's as far back as we can go) pure energy condensed into matter.
2. Matter aggragated itself into giant balls with such huge pressures inside that fusion took place.
3. Fusion releases energy contained in matter,lighting up stars by the billions
4. Fusion also complexifies matter from simple to more complex: from simple hydrogen to helium; from helium to lithium, from lithium to beryllium----to boron--to carbon--nitrogen--oxygen and so on up the list of elements. (but interestingly no further than iron--which does not fuse inside a star)
(all heavier elements require the force of an exploding star)
5. When stars explode they thrust their accumulated, more complex matter, out into huge clouds.
6. The clouds eventually becomes a large spiraling disc with spherical lumps of this enriched matter
circling a larger lump in the middle---which lights up as a second generation star--blowing away the cloud--leaving planets circling it--creating a solar system.
7.Just the right mix of elements in just the right circumstance on just the right distanced planet caused life to spring into being.
8. Life evolved, in time, to become ever more intricate and humans appeared.
THIS IS THE CURRENT STATE OF OUR KNOWLEDGE. We do not know the WHY of our existence.
BUT OUR BIG BRAIN HUNGERS FOR A WHY.
SO PEOPLE SPECULATE--AND THEORIZE---AND PROCLAIM--AND PROPHECY--CREATING GREAT BODIES OF BELIEF---WHICH OFTEN CLASH WITH ONE ANOTHER.
SO MY QUESTION TO THIS BRIGHT AUDIENCE WAS WHETHER WE WOULD, INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY, BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT THE BELIEF SYSTEMS--MERELY STICKING WITH THE HOW?
IS THE HOW -THE SCIENCE STORY THAT WE HAVE EVIDENCE FOR--IS IT WONDEROUS ENOUGH, INSPIRING ENOUGH--AND SOLID ENOUGH TO 0BUILD OUR PERSONAL LIVES, OUR ETHICAL SYSTEMS AND OUR NATIONS UPON?
I threw the question to the audience. Their response: I estimate about 50/50 YES AND NO.
(My personal recommendation is to build our theories on top of the science story: speculate away, theorize away--build great movements if you will---BUT BE HUMBLE ENOUGH TO ADMIT THAT YOU ARE SPECULATING AND THEORIZING. AND FOR (GOD'S) SAKE KEEP TWEAKING YOUR THEORIES AS NEW FACTS ROLL IN.
Believing that you have certainty or access to certainty will eventually turn you into a cruel jerk.
When I get a chance I will summarize my second speech.