Friday, March 19, 2010

A Pivotal Moment In Human History


We are today now living in a pivotal moment in human history. New technologies and theories are allowing us to see our world and universe like no one before could have ever imagined. Over recent years we have viewed and realized for ourselves a sense of the world and universe that is much richer than any one could have conceived in the past.

Those who have not kept up educating themselves with science facts are still living in an imagined universe where space is simply emptiness, stars are scattered randomly, and God views us all from this vantage point. Even the most liberal of this group can just picture the universe as shooting stars, spiral galaxies, maybe an ember red moon rising over an unknown planet. This of course does not represent the universe as a whole any better than a single atom would represent your own face. Yet every pre-scientific culture had their own idea of the world and cosmos in which they had a central and significant place.

Pre-scientific people had developed what they thought were believable answers to big questions but have become impossible to support with answers once someone started to demand scientific accuracy.

Many people today in this country hardly even ask such fundamental questions anymore or appreciate how the answers affect not only how we live but what we believe is possible. Ours is probably the first major culture in human history with no shared picture of reality. Many of humanity’s most dangerous problems arise from our fifteenth century way of looking at our world and the universe, which is at odds with the principles of science that we use in countless technologies today. The main threat to sane thinking is a result from the almost total disjunction between the power of our technologies and the wisdom required to use them over the long period and to what effect it has on us all during a lifetime.

The last time Western culture shared a coherent understanding of the universe as a comforting cosmic dwelling place was in the Middle Ages. For a thousand years, Christians, Jews and Muslims believed that the earth was the flat, immovable center of the universe, and all the planets and stars revolved on crystal spheres around it. The idea that God had chosen a place for every person, animal, plant and thing in the Great “Master Plan” Chain of Being made sense of the rigid medieval social hierarchy of the time. The Church, Kings, Lords, Peasants, Slaves, etc. But then came early scientists like Copernicus and Galileo who discovered that the earth was not the center of the universe after all and the cosmic hierarchy lost its credibility as the organizing principle of the universe.

Then came Newton who developed the picture on physics that explained accurately the motions of a single star’s planetary entourage. Newton became a targeted threat from the Church because he had developed mathematical formulas explaining gravity’s effect on an object.

Pre-scientific people always saw themselves at the center of the world and universe no matter what their world was at the time. The human instinct is to experience themselves as the central object being reflections based on their own independent viewpoints relative to everything else around them. Yes man is naturally a very narcissistic animal as a whole.

The true difficult task for many religious people is to free themselves from the limits of man’s own five senses, which evolved to work in our earthly environment. An example being of the concept of Dark Matter where one cannot see it from their back yard but it makes up the largest part of our universe. This is a threatening and insecuring thought for many of these type of people. I personally have known deeply religious people who are even afraid that this Dark Matter, when spoken about, is the Devil's influence within our world.

Just as Albert Einstein is supposed to have said, “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”

Intelligent life is neither incidental nor insignificant but has a place in our world and universe so special it could not have even been imagined before the invention of modern science, their discoveries therein, and cosmological concepts throughout. By understanding the world and universe in which we live, we begin to understand ourselves.

Engineer of Knowledge Quote:
“The Liberal thinking mind is the evolution of man’s breaking the restrictions of the Conservative status quo viewpoint mindset.”

2 comments:

  1. Those who have not kept up educating themselves with science facts

    And SO MANY of them, Engineer! So many Americans!

    Many of humanity’s most dangerous problems arise from our fifteenth century way of looking at our world and the universe, which is at odds with the principles of science that we use in countless technologies today.

    Exactly, Engineer. One needs only to look at the Papacy of the Catholic Church, the fundamentalists in Islam, and the evangelical Christians to know that 15th Century thinking has a hold on the minds of billions of people on this 21st Century planet.

    The true difficult task for many religious people is to free themselves from the limits of man’s own five senses, which evolved to work in or earthly environment. An example being of the concept of Dark Matter where one cannot see it from their back yard but it makes up the largest part of our universe.

    Dark matter never enters the minds of these folks, unless they demonize it into something Satanic. Hell, they don't even know what that Hubble photo shows in your post above.

    “The Liberal thinking mind is the evolution of man’s breaking the restrictions of the Conservative status quo viewpoint mindset.”

    Exactly, and so very frustrating!! They don't know what they don't know. And worse, they don't care to know what they don't know.

    Thanks for the inspiring post here. It helps us all understand more clearly that there is a lump of humanity roaming this planet which is not much farther advanced than those who roamed around during the Middle Ages. Perhaps the only difference between the two sets is that the current batch smells slightly better.

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  2. I stumbled upon your blog, and...March 29, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Overall, I appreciate your point about the usefulness and call to participate and learn about science. As a Christian, my knowledge of the universe and what science says about its origins only serve to edify my faith.

    As a Christian I would then agree wholeheartedly with the following statement:
    Intelligent life is neither incidental nor insignificant but has a place in our world and universe so special it could not have even been imagined before the invention of modern science, their discoveries therein, and cosmological concepts throughout. By understanding the world and universe in which we live, we begin to understand ourselves.

    ReplyDelete