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Mon, Aug. 22nd, 2011, 12:24 am
Why Science...

In the end, we are left with only questions.

For the religious among humanity, the answers to these questions are assumptions of faith. Faith is, after all, defined as the believe in something for which there is no proof.

For those who do not ascribe to religious explanations of the existance of our universe and all it contains, we are left with the expectation of ever expanding understanding.

Religion is static and unquestioning. Science is dynamic and ever-questioning.

Here we find why one might choose science over religion... A point I feel must be made here, is one against this idea that the two can co-exist comfortably. The instant you suppose a truth because it is a matter of faith, you have entirely abandoned science and should no longer be taken seriously on any matter of importance. We are long past the time of religious scientists, who discovered the obvious truths about the spherical nature of the world, the orbital fashion of planetary (and pretty much all other stellar body) travel in the cosmos. We have arrived in a time where the honesty of science is being challenged by the dogma of religion. This is evident in the rididulous nature of debates on the studied and honest truth of evolution versus the entirely faith-based and heavily flawed concept of creationism.

Science tells you to explore. It tells you that the answer you have right now, might not be exactly perfect. However, it tells you that whatever this answer is, if it was arrived at by The Method, then at least it is honest and has some level of truth to it. These real truths lead to real understanding. General Relativity tells us a lot about gravity, but we still seek more knowledge. We perform such wonderful experiments that explore things such as dimensional interactivity. Religion has no need for these ideas. In religion all you need is god. Are you hungry? Cold? Suffering? God has a plan that includes this. So take comfort in that.

Science, in response to your hunger, says otherwise. Science says that it will (with the help of scientists of course, science is not exactly a living thing) explore your hunger and determine why it exists and seek potential solutions that fit the cause.

The problem here is not that science is inadequate to the task, but rather than science is not given the attention, resources, and understanding that will allow it to perform as the wonder that it is, for the entirety of the universe and of course humanity within that universe.

Currently, science is mostly relegated to the concepts of comfort, information, and entertainment. These are all worthy endeavors. However, at the least the first and last of those three can be handled by religious ideology. Heaven gives comfort and the spectacle of the church, for many, is rather entertaining. However, information is hardly the church's purvey. If anything, we have constant historical evidence to the contrary. Information is dangerous to dogmatic thinking. If you understand that you are an individual with your own nature-(not god)-given free will who has no fear of eternal hellfire, nor reward of eternal bliss... then perhaps you might decide to live your life with a greater purpose beyond that which has been dictated by really old and self-contradictory books. Then, the thinking through science and its method, might have a chance to bring great things to the world.

There have been recent attempts to make science noble and relevant again. These are things I applaud. The universe casts dice in the dark. We do not see the results of every roll, but we should strive to learn what we can. The fulfillment of that education of the human race can bring us out of what I view to be a current dark age of man. All of our technology and humanitarian ideas are but a drop in the bucket of potential knowledge. Something we choose to hold ourselves back from.

Science is not fashionable. Not like in the days of Carl Sagan, who took us to other worlds and allowed us to explore the universe both in our imaginations and in very real ways. NASA is a sad shell of what once brought us comfortable bedding, ear thermometers, scratch-resistant lenses, satellite communication, smoke detectors, safe roads, and battery operated tools (as well as popularizing velcro, teflon, and Tang).

It doesn't have to be like this, though. We don't have to be content with just slight upgrades to our computers and phones every couple of years. We don't have to be satiated by half-assed drugs that let people suffer longer with disease rather than cure them.

If we decide as a culture to embrace science and reject anything except progress as our only "dogma" then we have made the first step towards real progress for humanity. It is, honestly, inevitable. There will come a time where the last person on Earth considers theirself religious. I firmly believe this to be true. Just as there was a time where the status quo held that there were many gods followed by a time of a single god (though the nature of that god being debated and held as different by many religions), I believe that the future holds within it the truth of no need for a god.

We are intelligent, social, compassionate, responsible, and curious creatures. We need no one thing other than our genetically defined nature to assist us with living as the Homo sapiens species (with a second sapiens at the end there if you want to get into the idea of race... of which we all only have the one, shared among us).

Let us climb out of our current dark age into a second golden age, without the burning of our knowledge by fearful clergy led by some new Theophilus... which religious will always have utility to create again and again.

Medicine, travel, agriculture, environmentalism... peace. These are the outputs of science, as long as we embrace it, for lack of a better term, in good faith.