Bare Bones Biology 083 – Imagine

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity that’s in the wrong hands . . . And so we must say to men, love God with all your heart, with all your soul and strength, but go on to say, love God with all your mind.”

That is edited from a speech Martin Luther King Jr. made on the subject of love and forgiveness. He was a well-educated preacher, talking to a group of Christian leaders.

I am a well-educated scientist. If I am talking with other well-educated scientists and technologists, let me ask how you respond to the word God in this speech. Does it make you feel uncomfortable, superior, more knowledgeable, better educated or scornful? Then I say you are the first person, before even the religious extremists, you are the first person who must examine your own ignorance of the real world and your failure to understand the uses of practical compassion.

Science is very badly needed to help guide our struggling culture today, but it is needed in the hands of people who are sincere and conscientious and compassionate and looking for real answers to real problems. Science knows nothing about God, one way or another, because science deals with measurable facts. However, scientists exist on planet earth in the solar system in the universe. This suggests that somewhere in our past there was a creation event. You, technical person, do not know any more than anyone else about the why and who of that creation event. There is nothing wrong with the word God, (or Allah, or other expresssions) of the power and glory and responsibility that it represents.

And for the religious extremist. If God created all this, then God created the things that are studied by the sciences. The fact that science – as an applied discipline – functions as much as possible without emotional content, that fact does not mean that scientists are either unemotional or irreligious. My high-level scientist colleague recently told me that of the eight people in her lab all are religious. However, scientists do have a lot of training in the use of measurable facts, and that probably does mean they can help us focus on how best to express our compassionate need to help our hurting earth in a way that might really help.

All we require, to accomplish our task of growing a better future for the grandchildren is a population of sincerely compassionate (fake compassion doesn’t count), ecologically literate voters, who are willing to discuss issues with each other. If you don’t qualify, there is nothing stopping you, now that we have access on the internet to all the knowledge of the world. But if all the world’s knowledge seems a bit much to tackle, you can start with the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook that you can download free of charge from the right side of my blog.

Let’s close with the words of Karen Brown of the Ecoliteracy Center, speaking last month at Bioneers.

“Here’s what Scott Carpenter said, and here’s the kind of thing I never heard from an astronaut when I was in school. ‘This planet is not terra firma. It is a delicate flower and it must be cared for. It’s lonely. It’s small. It’s isolated, and there is no re-supply. And we are mistreating it. Clearly the highest loyalty we should have is number two to the family of man, and number one to the planet at large. This is our home, and this is all we’ve got.’ And I’d like to think we have one other thing. A generation of young people who are healthy, well educated, ecologically literate, and who know how to be strong and powerful when they need to be strong and powerful, and how to be tender and caring when they need to be tender and caring.”

Bare Bones Biology 083 – Imagine
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