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John Moore
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We could be inside of a black hole. One theorist has posited that matter infalling into a black hole could form a new universe ( We could also be in a virtual reality that looks like a real universe ( Cosmology is in its infancy and the field has only recently begun to be able to test the validity of its theories. Then too, the Universe is so vast and complex, it is beyond the capacity of the human mind to understand a lot of it. Our ignorance is greater than the sum of our knowledge when it comes to understanding the cosmos and what came before, during, and after the Big Bang. One must also understand that Science seeks to explain reality. Whether God is the Universe, God created the Universe, or whether God even exists are not questions that any science or scientist can answer at the moment. Terry Pratchett, the writer, believes that Consciousness or Sapience is the Universe observing itself which echoes the Anthropic Principle ( Or as he puts it, street lights are very rare and precious things in the Universe. Life in general seems to be quite rare. We only have one small planet in our solar system as an example thus far. This pretty much sums up the situation mathematically: "It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination." — Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe)
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I agree that we are more clever than smart as a species, but your premise that our biases and prejudices are innate is probably wrong. It is how we are trained as we grow up that is the problem. In other words, the problem is nurture over nature. People are not taught statistics usually until college, and the scientific method is taught only at a rudimentary level in most high schools to those select few that take science courses. An individual's behavior and cognition patterns including beliefs and biases are likely ingrained by parents, peers, and society before they are teenagers most likely. Education can only mitigate that training somewhat and most teachers select for cognitive conformity over individual initiative, creativity, and original thinking. Applying the scientific method to Western religions is taboo in spite of the work of Thomas Jefferson in applying textual analysis to the New Testament to produce what is now known as the Jeffersonian Bible. However, Zen Buddhists and Buddhists in general are taught a version of the scientific method or at least given a framework whereby they are taught to question their own ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. We know that enlightenment is an emergent trait of the human brain since we have evidence throughout the last 2500 years of people who have attained it either spontaneously (Yeshua ben Joseph) or through a process like Zen Buddhism (Buddha and various Zen masters). Physiologically, enlightenment may be a synthesis or joining of both hemispheres of the brain where before likely one hemisphere dominated, likely the left hemisphere. Or, it may be that the right hemisphere comes to dominate since that is where the spiritual centers are located ( But the practical effect of this state is that biases and prejudices are left behind for the most part and true intelligence emerges. While the scientific method can be a useful framework for discovering truth/reality and evaluating methods that work more effectively, we know that scientists are affected by social conformity issues and collective biases. Max Planck and Carl Woese were either disbelieved or ignored by their peers even though their evidence was overwhelming that their model of reality was more accurate. Planck recognized Einstein and his work and helped Einstein gain the recognition he deserved allowing Einstein to escape the problems that Planck had. Even worse were the German doctors and scientists who helped determine Jewish ancestry via blood tests that almost all knew were shams which was documented by Benno Muller-Hill in a book and an essay ( and Social conformity has a pernicious and powerful influence on individuals and how their ideas and thoughts are perceived and whether they are rewarded or punished. You are either with us or against us. While one should not shoot the messenger and should weigh the message on its merits alone, there are countless examples throughout history of people being put to death for their ideas (Socrates, Yeshua, Tyndale, and many more).
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Sep 4, 2010