I have advertized my weekend blog to be 'So, what exactly is Science?'
This is clearly not an easy question to answer in one stream of consciousness, so I have spent some time this week pondering around what exactly I am going to say. It has been a little difficult focusing on this mission as the imminent Ugandan anti-gay law travesty is unfolding at a rather disturbing rate. I am extremely disturbed about this whole anti-gay thing that is going down here in Africa. I want to cry when I think of the many great and loving and warm and clever and moral gay people who have influenced my life. They have all brought a gentleness of vision and a richness of spirit to my world and I have watched how many gay activists have led the struggle for universal care and treatment for all who carry the burden of HIV.
Here's a link if you are not up to date.
If you are a devotee of any fundamental or evangelical religious group that advocates that gay people should burn in hell then please, you will not be humoured on this blog. It is my considered and firm opinion that you have no place in the 21st century. Coming to think of it, you are out of date by about a 1000 years, because that's when there was at least some excuse for hating and discriminating against other people (and animals). Am I now discriminating against you? Nope, I am stating that in a modern world where there is no longer any excuse to be willfully ignorant or hateful there are certain ground rules that should be agreed to.
If any child were to invent rules by which to live harmoniously they would probably be very similar to the last 6 of the 10 Commandments. No magic book necessary, just a little empathy and survival logic.
Ayn Rand, in her book "Atlas Shrugged" wrote:
"If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a 'moral commandment' is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments."
As I read the words I have written here, I can see a beginning to my weekend blog. There can be no distinction between being a scientist and a human being. When we abandon the rationality and real magic that Science gives us we truly have sold our souls to an empty and illusory safety net.
Ellory F. Schempp, was the plaintiff in the case Abington v. Schempp. The case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court who declared in 1963 that Bible devotions in U.S. public school are unconstitutional. He suggests nine commandments:
1. You are a human, and neither Jesus, nor Mohammed, nor Buddha speaks for you. Take courage—you can live without a god.
2. Do not injure human beings or any animal; make reasonable exceptions.
3. When you see evil, make sure it is not in a mirror. Sometimes the enemy is us. Emotions are part of life. Feelings are good. Angry and fearful feelings are valid, but be circumspect.
4. Morality is about how you treat the life that has been given you—before you got asked. Once here, try to do some good and leave us a little better than when you arrived. There is no second chance.
5. Ideas are good. Some ideas are better than others. The best way to winnow is to seek evidence that supports an idea in a way that can be tested and evaluated. Covet not ancient ideas that contradict new evidence.
6. Love one another. Love is good, but trying. There is no god nor parent nor partner that loves you all the time, unconditionally. Keep not fantasies in your minds. Accept reality. Even when things look dark, there is lots of love around. Tap into it.
7. Sex is good. Have fun. Do not hurt another out of selfishness. Do not worry what sex others might have.
8. Honor thy parents, but remember they put their pants on one leg at a time.
9. There is great beauty in the world—on this Earth, in music, in the life around us. Take note for it and you shall be richly rewarded.
If you thought for one second that Science is boring and has no spirit or magic or poses no moral questions, I say to you - shake your head because your eyes are stuck! It is only by asking and asking again the core questions about our existence that we can continue on the journey of discovery that Life is. Once we decide that we know the answers or give up our right to question to a fairy godmother in the sky, then we have lost the very essence of our being and we will inherit nothing but the cold wind of self delusion.
Well, those are my first thoughts on what Science is all about!
My next thought starts with a memory of a good friend, who, at his son's coming of age party, gave him the following advice: "Just question everything".
It is this advice that I must next explore.
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