Monday, June 17, 2013

Dogma is Humanities Worst Illness.

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion" Steven Weinberg.

 "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltare.

 Its been hundreds of years since the enlightenment and since these similar quotes were made, it's time our species decides. I'm choosing science, evidence, reason, scepticism and critical thinking. Science has taken humanity out of our superstitious ignorant origins, and given us the best version of truth by requiring evidence - if the overwhelming evidence contradicts a theory, then the theory is obsolete! Just as Chemistry replaces alchemy, astronomy supersedes astrology and medicine displaces witchcraft there seems to be a strong correlation between science replacing its primitive origins in superstition. The success of the scientific enterprise (Including technologies, like your computers) at understanding the universe seems to demonstrate a stark contrast with superstitious methods of understanding the world. These are two different ways of knowing the world, two different epistemologies. Only one of which is consistently reliable.

 Faith and dogmatic ideologies are scary, not because there is no good reason to follow one, but because they are not based on demonstrable, repeatable evidence and falsifiable hypothesis. Faith often claims absolute truths, (even more troubling is that these absolute claims don't go away once disproved) this is a failure of reason and is the main irreconcilable difference between science and dogma. Science progresses because there are no absolutes, just closer approximations of reality. Dogma stagnates due to absolute claims that once disproved must be an apologist's nightmare to clean up -and can lead to further embarrassing attempts to prove themselves correct despite all evidence to the contrary. Creationism being the classic straw man example - as it contradicts archaeology, geology, chemistry, physics, biology, history etc. But then creationism mutated into intelligent design. Thereby digging the delusional ditch of self deception deeper by abusing the scientific method, which by doing makes its hypothesis less probable. Scientists are flawed, but science is self correcting towards reality.

 What's true is true, regardless of whether people believe in it. Over the last 400 years science has answered many deep questions and despite never dis-proving the thousands of gods that once were believed to cause everything from, life, lightning, cancer, and even the movement of the stars. 400 years hence, evolution, electricity, medicine and physics have explained these phenomena without the need to presuppose some silly 'hand of god' or dogmatic shenanigans. So to paraphrase Bertrand Russel, science cannot disprove a teapot that orbits near Mars, but being agnostic about it is as absurd as believing in it.

 I'm not trying to offend anyone, believe in what you will, but at least understand what science is before dismissing its data. I am simply against any closed dogmatic belief system. Evidence is the only good reason to believe anything and dogmatic ideologies, lacking solid evidence, rely on other persuasion methods (All of which are unscientific), Authority, Holy Scripture, Tradition, Peer pressure, Private Revelations, Faith, Apocryphal stories and pure ignorance.

 "True wisdom is only attained when you realize how ignorant you are" Socrates.

 "Everyone is an atheist, some people just don't know it" Christopher Hitchens

True freedom can only be obtained if one breaks the enslaving shackles of believing that an all powerful cosmic dictator or temporal earthly dogmatic leader, who is always right, exists.  Most Gods and Dictators answer nothing and have no use in modern societies, if we are to break the shackles of dogma we need to start somewhere.

See you in this life, and with our eyes open. The universe is the way it is whether we believe it or not. Science objectively brings us close to the truth, dogma intrinsically stamps out any embers of truth over time. As with all myopic selfish delusions, its possible to become the better ape (homo sapiens) with a healthy dose of skepticism, reason and scientific methodology. Spread the news so we can all lose our delusions and be free (ill touch on free will next time)


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