God?

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. . . .

. . . .

. . . . Which is more real?

. . . . Your God or my God?

. . . . . . How do you know?

For Mark and Maaark

And yes, if we don’t understand how the ecosystem functions, we will not be able to save OURSELVES. I am very sure of that. If we ran across a car sitting someplace and knew nothing about mechanics and had never even seen metal, how would we be able to fix it? There is no doubt that the universe and the ecosystem function by “natural laws,” that is physical laws, and that life (the ecosystem) would not exist if those laws were not what they are. And, as the ecosystem is more than we are, similarly the natural laws are more than the ecosystem is. We would not be here without the ecosystem, and the ecosystem would not be here if there were no physical law of gravity, law of thermodynamics, etc. So neither we nor the ecosystem can survive outside the natural law that makes us both possible. Nobody KnowsFlat

It is not possible for the part to dominate the whole. The ecosystem is an organism and it functions as an organism. Think down a bit — you are an organism. It would be laughable if a group of your cells, say the kidney cells, decided to dominate you. There are only two possible ends. They fail or you die.

I leave a hope of success because there is no point assuming we will fail to learn these things, but the longer we delay the more terrible will be the cost in human suffering, and we can not succeed by applying human intuition to the problem. Example again. Your needs for survival, as an individual organism, are not the same as the needs of your kidney. For one thing, you eat food. Kidneys do not eat food, they plug into your circulatory system for their survival. If we continue to evaluate the needs of the ecosystem according to even the highest of human values, we will continue to deprive the ecosystem of what she requires for her survival. If we are to succeed, there is an absolute imperative that we understand the mechanical natural law that makes ecosystem survival possible, and there is only one accurate source of measurable facts about this information, because science is the only discipline that limits itself to measurable facts for its evaluations. If we ignore that source we will not succeed.

That is not the same as saying there is no spiritual component to our study of the ecosystem. It also is not the same as saying there IS a spiritual component. Science has nothing to do with spiritual because science is not science unless it is studying measurable facts. The Dalai Lama is trying to scientifically measure spiritual experiences, and a number of scientists also. And they are succeeding in measuring brain waves that are different during various mental states of people. So what does that prove? It proves the mechanics — it proves nothing about the spirituality itself. Science has nothing to do with spirituality. On the other hand, the Dalai Lama has 2000 years of human study of spirituality in his heritage, and he has stated that measurable facts take precedence in those areas of understanding where our human interpretation conflicts with the measurable facts about the universe. His statement reflects his understanding of the relationship between measurable facts and human spirituality, and he is no scientist. He is one of the world’s most knowledgeable spiritualists.

So none of science is necessarily spiritually related. It’s more like mechanical. This is how things work, therefore this is how we should behave if we want ourselves and our super-organism — the ecosystem — to survive. There isn’t anything necessarily spiritual or not spiritual about it.

But I agree with Maaark that we are more likely to succeed if scientists and spiritualists (religionists I think he said) would come down off their respective ivory towers and begin the conversation.

The Scientific Method

(The following is a paraphrase) In science we have an ethic. We argue from evidence based on publicly available information. When you become a scientist you agree to be bound by that, even if the evidence goes against your own theory. To do this you must first have disagreement before you can devise a theory to test. A problem is not definitively solved until we have evidence from experiments. Lecture at NSF, Leo Smolin, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Physics in trouble, why the public should care. Podcast on the Research Channel. http://www.nsf.gov

090926TGT_dsc4358SsDr. Smolin is a physicist highly trained in the use of the scientific method to differentiate between measurable facts and hypotheses. He is qualified to speak about the scientific method, the universal laws of physics and the various theories and facts therein.

I hear quite a few people grabbing some untested or inadequately tested idea that physicists are throwing around and presenting this idea as a fact in some book or in their practice. This is fun and it is probably as comforting as the various ideas about God, spirit and spirituality, but it is not science. Science is the study of measurable facts using the scientific method. (And by the way, this does not mean we got the answer we want in one isolated experiment, even if that experiment was published. The scientific method requires more than one result as proof.)

Spirituality and religion are sometimes fun and sometimes comforting and sometimes a way to sell books. Mostly they are fine and beautiful and real. But they are not science, and I think it’s sad when we use fake science rather than real measurable facts as we try to deal with the measurable, solvable problems that we are now facing in our culture and our environment.

It’s time to learn the difference between spirituality and science so that we can get the maximum benefit from both. We should not limit our spirituality by tying it to measurable facts — fake or real. On the other hand, we will never solve factual problems if we aren’t willing to acknowledge and deal with the facts.

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God, Me and My Bladder

There is no point arguing about God, because God is everything, or God created everything, and we are just the tiniest part of everything.

090903Bali_dsc3122ScompsFor us to argue about God is like a couple of cells in our bladder trying to influence our spiritual agenda. To the extent that all living things are manifestations of God, they and I have a common spiritual base. However, these cells have their own existential imperative, which is probably about living and dying in the bladder. I do not go to them for advice about how to operate my computer.

Life probably does have a common core of being, but that doesn’t mean everyone/thing is the same, nor does it mean that the ethical imperative of a cell is the same as mine, nor that mine is the same as God’s.

In Answer to Your Letter

I believe as Americans, we should not be fighting each other or anyone else over unimportant things while the country and the ecosystem collapse around us, and I believe that something is happening higher up in the politico-economic structure that wants to lay waste the land in order to “get theirs” now. Of course this has always been true, but right now there are two huge differences:

(1) Now the ecosystem has run out of reserves to support their biological and economic ravages. Before now we were not so big and there were always more resources somewhere that could make up for the crooks’ behaviors.

(2) Now the power brokers are more subtle and have learned to maintain their power by setting us against each other. Obviously their goal is to pretend we are recovering and at the same time give us something unimportant to fight over so we won’t notice as they ravage the countryside and we lose the rule of law that is THE thing that defines us as American.

Our political model makes this very easy for them, especially after Bush indoctrinated a whole generation of young into the glories of war, because the people are willing to believe that “winning” a debate or an election, or ANYTHING is a valid way to solve a problem. Just as they were willing to believe that “winning” a war is. Wouldn’t you think we would notice the proofs of all the failed wars? So I am dedicating my time and energy to fighting FOR the constitution and rule of law and the ecosystem.

One of the things that stands in the way of our problem solving, as we push the whole earth ecosystem further and further away from a healthy balance, is that we are NOT teaching our people how the ecosystem works. We do know in its basics how the ecosystem works, but we are withholding this information from the voters (even on PBS). I think the reason for this is what I said above — so that the voters will not interfere with the crooks’ ravaging.

The other thing that stands in our way is our war mentality that prevents us from talking among our selves and realizing that we all want the same things and we all have the same problems. We apply our war mentality extravagantly to almost everything we do because we believe that “winning” is more important than solving the problems. We are so indoctrinated in the “winning” model that we can’t feel good about ourselves if we believe someone else might be better in some way than we are. Now I ask you, what problem does that solve?

I am antiwar. Really. Not like people who go out and fight with each other about whether or not we should have war. I don’t care who wins, so long as we solve the problems.

Wait — if we solve our common problem — wouldn’t we all win?

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Little Gods

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Because even the little gods do not listen to what we tell them to do.