Friday, July 01, 2005


From SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, Sept. 2004, p. 91: “The classical universe is really no less arbitrary than the quantum one. The difference is where the arbitrariness comes in. In classical physics, it goes back to the dawn of time; once the universe was created, it played itself out as a set piece. In quantum mechanics, the universe makes things up as it goes along, partly through the intervention of observers.”


Martin Luther knew that Copernicus’s work [he discovered that the Earth circles the Sun] was the work of “an upstart astrologer.... This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy. But Sacred Scripture tells us,” Luther said, “that Joshua commanded the Sun to stand still and not the Earth.”

Ah, yes, Sacred Scripture! How often has it been right when confronted with the hard edge of scientific methodology? Evidently Martin Luther nor Joshua knew that the Earth circles the Sun. Their god, the intelligent designer, it seems, doesn’t know how his own universe works, according to the book he commanded to be written in his name. (COSMOS, p. 53)


Kepler thought that God’s Creation was perfect. Studying the Creation was heavenly to him until he discovered that heavenly perfection is a relative concept. Kepler asked questions with an integrity that modern fundamentalists are afraid to muster up as they cower in the dusty, ancient caverns of their Bibles. Kepler asked, “If the world was crafted by God, should it not be examined closely? Was not all of creation an expression of the harmonies in the mind of God?” (COSMOS, Sagan, p. 56)

Before Kepler, humankind believed that the planets traveled in perfect circles, reflecting the wonderful mind of the Geometer god they worshipped. The circle was perfect, so the planets must travel in perfect circles. Kepler, however, through careful measurement, saw that the Sun affected the paths of the planets into elliptical orbits. “Somehow, the distant planets sensed the Sun’s presence.” He made a comparison to magnetism to explain the yet unknown “gravity”.

Kepler was excommunicated from the Lutheran Church “for uncompromising individualism on matters of doctrine.” (COSMOS, pp. 64-65) “Uncompromising individuality”...! The Lutheran Church was not to be outdone by the Catholic Church in censoring scientific methodology... and what else did you expect from the Church?

Instead of going to the creation itself for a glimpse of the mind of god, theologically inclined Christians, Jews and Moslems went and go to the faulty books men of the past wrote long before the scientific method was well established. Will our current fundamentalists have the political strength to pull us into the backward past?


It’s so obvious when you read the history of religions—the history of gods actually—that religions are just stories we human animals tell ourselves to explain the origins and purposes of life as the generations experienced them. No one explanation can be “the” explanation. There are so many of them, and it’s so obvious that political power has much to do with which religions survived and which didn’t and don’t. It’s so obvious once you reach a certain detached viewpoint that religions are bunk. Yet people do cling ot them, stay inside the narrow people-centered boundaries of their various religions.


From COSMOS, p. 47: “The ability to read the calendar in the skies was literally a matter of life and death”. Planting, hunting, gathering together with other tribes for commerce and trade depended on reading the signs in the skies. No wonder that eventually gods were discovered in those heavens and then, later, were brought down to Earth to rule here. All of this is so primitive and retrograde... how come modern peoples can still cling to such ancient belief systems?

“God seems to have left the receiver off the hook.” —Arthur Koestler

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