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July 23, 2009

Knowledge vs Belief 1 (Personal)

That we live in perilous times is being underscored ever more clearly by scientific “progress” in ways most have trouble imagining. Even as the discoveries of Science were adding to the convenience of everyday life, they were revolutionizing commerce in ways that many are now finding increasingly difficult to adjust to. Those same advances have also been allowing knowledgeable specialists to uncover details of past planetary and galactic events with significant implications for traditional religious beliefs, while also suggesting that planetary life may be facing additional mass extinctions that would include us. Closer to the present, the current political squabble over CO2 emissions and climate change reflect how thoughtlessly our species has been both proliferating and consuming the planet’s resources as if there were no tomorrow.

To put it somewhat simplistically, the impact of Science on humanity may have moved so far beyond the ability of our species to either comprehend or "control” that our existence is now seriously threatened by our cleverness. For any who might wonder why a "pot doc" of my age and background would have the temerity to discuss such profound issues, I would simply say that my study has given me a window on human thought and our highly evolved brains are the organs most responsible for our present predicament. For those who consider that a confession of Atheism, I would further submit that Atheism is a religious belief just as deserving of protection under our Constitution as any other.

I would further submit that we have reached a point in human cultural evolution that is unique in that we finally know enough to behave more rationally as a species; thus the most compelling issue we now face is the irrationality of our own mass behavior.

Our primary problem, I would suggest, is that the emotional centers which had been evolving as intrinsic parts of our brains have long been in conflict with its more recently developing rational centers. The consequences of that conflict didn't begin to threaten survival until our knowledge of the environment (universe, cosmos) was suddenly accelerated by the discovery of empirical science, and then only because a peculiar set of circumstances had contrived to render science subordinate to its less rational competition, both within the brain and on the planet.

That seems like quite enough heresy for today; I must now get back to the increasingly challenging task of my own survival in the greedy and dishonest American economy.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at July 23, 2009 05:44 PM