Sunday, September 2, 2012

Of Mars, Mysticism and Man

If you haven’t seen this animation of the Mars rover landing entitled “How to get to Mars,” do yourself a favor and spend six minutes in complete awe.

It boggles the mind: so much technology, such intricacy of systems, each being dependent on the other to function precisely as designed, remotely, millions of miles in space, in order for the mission to succeed. One faulty part, one badly printed circuit, one miscalculation of timing, one erroneous assumption and failure would be all but guaranteed.  

As I watched the animation I marveled at how far we have come as a species.  It makes it that much more baffling how, in this century, with these advancements, men's minds can still be enslaved to ancient myth, make believe and superstition. How is it possible that such a large proportion of our planet’s most advanced species can continue to reject the truths of evolutionary theory, of ancient earth, the reality of global warming for which the greatest minds have provided concrete and objective evidence, just as they have provided the greatest feats of technology ever known?

How does a resident of this world, in this century, turn their backs on the very people who have dedicated themselves to the unveiling of the mysteries of the universe?  How do they reject reasoned people who have devoted their life to scientific studies; demonstrated their breadth of knowledge; tested their hypotheses with methods that are neutral and uninfluenced by a preferred agenda; and provided results that are supported by varied and independent scientific disciplines and proven by the very real benefits with which their knowledge has endowed the human race? 

How do so many prefer to gravitate toward the polar opposite of these keepers of the flame of human advancement, investing their money and trusting their very lives to purveyors of nonsense and ghost stories who promise them that science is a tool of Satan; and that being sprinkled with holy water, doused in a river, mumbling prayers of praise, or being blown up in an act of terror is a good thing that makes an invisible super-being happy...which is all that matters?

How can so few of these people whose physiology is the same as yours and mine lack the drive to learn, explore, question, and advance beyond medieval precepts, while happily consuming and enjoying the fruits of the labors of the very people they distrust and reject as Satan’s henchmen at worst, or deceived by Satan at best?

There are religionists
who attribute to “God’s grace” man's ingenuity, the beauty of the scientific method, scientific discovery, and drive to question that which was once taken on faith.  Interesting how religion tries to co-opt science, and give their god credit for man’s scientific advancements when religion and their god are the very antithesis of science.

But that gambit is debunked by the Bible itself, the "inerrant testimony" that corroborates the fallacy promoted by their religious shaman. If, as Genesis states, their god punished his creations and their off spring for all eternity just for attempting to gain knowledge, then surely god didn’t want humans to have it.  Clearly knowledge is the purview of god and not man and their god meant to keep it that way.  Nothing in scripture revises or reverses god’s admonishment and punishment for that first taste of knowledge. Those religionists, like Gregor Mendel, who sought knowledge did so in spite of their religious affliction, not because of it.

Thus, those who now dare seek knowledge, who dare to explore and discover the secrets of the universe and disseminate that information to humanity – secrets and information that was once thought to be understood only by, and attributed to their God, are challenging their god’s omniscience. 

The result?  Never read scientific tomes.  Never investigate, never challenge, never accept as true any information that contradicts scripture. Distrust scientists and the educated.  What was the full realm of understanding of the universe of 1st century cultists, or Bronze Age nomads best remain unchallenged, lest god be made angry, or worse - made irrelevant.

I’ll proffer that one-hundred years from now the Mars landing technology will be viewed as quaint.  Just about the same time the remnants of religion will be seen as a hold over from man’s most pitiful stage - it’s minority adherents seen as mentally infirm.  Then will Man finally understand he has met god, and it is them.


Sue said...

Bart, it's not going to take 100 years. Religion is in its death throes. It looks on the surface like things are getting worse, but that's how death throes are--dramatic. :) Right? Hey, you're traveling! But still not, I suppose, willing to venture beyond reasonable driving distance? BTW I really hate this Captcha thing. It's impossible to read most of them by the average human. I am trying for the 8th time after going through at least 20 re-captchas.

paul said...

Beautiful simulations, but it's truly sad that they spoiled it by adding "rocket sounds" in airless space. But, then, that's probably what the majority of the scientifically undereducated masses would expect.

longhorn believer said...

This is one of my favorites among your blog postings. I see science as a double edged sword. It helped create both a vaccine for polio and the hydrogen bomb. The list of such comparisons is long. However, there's no denying how much more comfortable life is for many people than it was 2000 years ago; and how much more we know about ourselves, our planet, the solar system, and the universe itself. The evidence is all around us, at least in the industrialized world, and none of it points to the Bible or any other sacred text as the responsible party. The problem, it seems, is that the evidence is so ubiquitous and/or esoteric that it's easy to ignore.

 One of my pentecostal cousins gave me a vivid example of this the other day on Facebook. She posted that she was thankful for the live Internet streaming of the Sunday church service so that she could stay home with her sick grandmother and still see it. The irony was so thick that I couldn't help but comment. I told her I hoped she was thanking all the scientists and computer geeks that had made live streaming over the Internet possible. She did agree that they should be thanked, but said God was ultimately responsible for their ability to create such things. Maybe I will post this blog on her page, but I don't hold out much hope that it will do anything to override the programming she has been subjected to. Because the remarkable thing about religion is its ability to adapt. Thirty years ago, the pentecostals were arguing over whether watching TV was a sin or not. Ultimately however, religion has been adept enough to use new technology to its advantage. Televangelism is now being supplanted by iEvangelism. As long as religion continues to evolve, however slowly, and God gets credit for everything good and nothing bad, a thousand years may not be enough.

Dromedary Hump said...

thanks, Longhorn..a belated well said to you.
Your cousin would be an anachronism to the 22nd century. she won't be very effectrive in impeding the march of reason and decline of religion. Their coopting science as a divine gift is going to be viewed with anything but amusement 100yrs from now.
There's no turning back.