Ignorance Is No Substitute For Knowledge

I don’t see religion as the opposite of science, but as a mechanism for very complex ideas to be considered. Over the millennia religion has helped countless people deal with the pain of loss and created comradery to help people who need assistance.

Obviously I can also think of many terrible things that have been delivered under the guise of religion. We can see today how angry, disenfranchised or ignorant people can be deformed by hate, xenophobia or fear supported by the words and deeds from some who chose to use religion to further their own personal power desires.

I am always shocked when groups who consider themselves “religious”, actively deny knowledge because it contradicts what their religion states. Given that there are many thousands of versions of religion in play today, and probably many millions that have been in play throughout human history, it strikes me as ridiculous to believe that any one version is perfect. This does not mean that I wish to ridicule the idea of religion, I do not. I see theology as an extension of philosophy, and where it is applied with care it clearly can really offer comfort and meaning to many groups. But that does not give religion a special pass, like everyone else, religious followers must work to improve humanity and the universe, and not detract from happiness and health in any way.

From a purely observational point of view, I see the idea of evolution to be entirely consistent with what we observe every day. While the time it takes for random mutations to impact a species in material ways is far too long to observe easily, it is though clear that any number of mutations that take place within each organism are clearly observable. One of the basic skills in understanding disease is to understand mutations. Viruses mutate constantly, making treatment a continual fight to deal with resilience. Cancer is now known to be (generally) a kind of cellular mutation where the bodies own defenses don’t see the mutated cells as an invader. Nearly every mutated cell in the body is of course quickly dealt with by the immune system, and it’s only the ones that by chance continue to look enough like the body’s own healthy cells that are not attacked and hence cause issues.

Birth defects caused by environmental changes (drugs, chemicals, radiation etc.) are common enough that we can see them.

Today the human race is diverse to the point that a change in the environment or the emergence of a deadly pathogen is unlikely to eradicate all humanity. It could of course, but the more diverse we are the less likely this is.

Science though has the potential to standardize the human race, in effect removing the very deep level of diversity that actually may protect us from extinction.

We are today standardizing our food, with everyone eating similar plants and animals. Since we all use the same drugs, we are eradicating specific diseases and potentially the bacteria and viruses that could impact future diseases.

Science is not perfect, and the things we change at the macro level may come back and hurt us in generations to come. Or science may actually be the only way that the human race can survive. No one knows. Today’s quality and length of human life have never been better. There are more people alive today than ever before and they are living longer, putting a new level of strain on available resources, requiring new levels of food production, causing new levels of environmental change, requiring more food to be produced in a smaller area, in a cycle that shows no end.

It’s a deeply philosophical conundrum, and maybe using the concept of an outside influence to help understand the universe we find ourselves a part of is a good thought exercise to help frame the issue.

(14)

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.