The full extent of my ignorance…

I do an awful lot of thinking, and probably do a lot of awful thinking.  Problem is that since nobody can hear my thinking it’s only subject to correction by chance.

That’s where you come in, and the reason for the tag line “Helping to build a better Dave.”  I am going to try to put a lot of my thoughts here as the spirit moves me, and your job will be to correct stink’n think’n, help give me a check up from the neck up, and direct me towards TRVTH.

My interests are too wide ranging to list and so you may expect almost anything from quantum computing to pipe organs.

As the son of a conservative Southern Baptist minister, I am acutely aware of the many “flavors” of Christian belief there are to be found in the areas where I grew up and have lived since.   Some may see a conflict between my thoughts on temporal matters of science and society and my professed faith.  I do not, as I divide theology and science with a hard line.  Theology deals with “by whose hand?” while science deals with “How did He do it?” in my own world view.  There can be no judgments by one of these that are not in perfect harmony with the other, and to the extent they appear to be is human error in all cases.

I love science and have kept abreast of the latest discoveries all my life, but unlike many, I am not dazzled by it as I consider our current knowledge level to be quite primitive.  In fact, I often describe my view of our level of understanding of the nature of our universe as being, as a species, about as far along as a baby is between birth and their first smile.  That statement may actually be generous since we have yet to even leave the womb, planet Earth.   Until we do, we have no way of knowing what we will be when we grow up.

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2 Responses to The full extent of my ignorance…

  1. Dan says:

    The title of your post and some of our similar interests spiked my attention. Daniel Kahneman pointed out this puzzling limitation of our mind: We have an excessive confidence in what we believe we know and an apparent inability to acknowledge the full extent of our ignorance and the uncertainty of the world we live in.

    I thought I’d share my view as you are seeking it. Consider that of the billions and billions of beliefs across human history, those which exist outside the realm of nature and science cannot be proven and are, by definition, supernatural. Over 99% of these are no longer believed due to the simple passage of generations and marvels of science. Religion are included. Consider also that of the thousands of deities across hundreds of religions and cultures, only a handful remain. Where did the others go? They died out with the people who held onto them or were replaced by the beliefs of conquering empires. All holy texts attempt to use ancient hearsay as evidence for their deity. No actual (valid forms of) evidence exists nor can exist for anything supernatural (otherwise it is factual and natural). The idea that we are the privileged species in the universe is too self important. The behaviors of god in the old testament is just too anthropomorphic to be believable. The most likely outcome which I have come to accept is that all religions are entirely man made (I disagree that they are needed to teach morals. I agree that there are positives though like community). Note however that a creator may still exist but it is very unlikely that we can know anything about him, just about his creation. (Some physicists like Hawking have argued that a god is not needed if the universe began as a quantum event).

    How humans can become so attached to something without evidence is a very interesting weakness we all share. In the future, people who still have religions may be viewed as we view those who still practice witchcraft (just as genesis is now regarded as ridiculous and seen as only metaphor or ‘symbolic narrative’). I found an interesting site where clergy have let go of their supernatural beliefs.

    Logic and reason cannot be applied to supernatural beliefs, you should accept this. If you continue to try this though, the incredible bias present will cause the ‘very likely to be false’ conclusion to cause a lot of stress and lead to poor rationalizations to avoid acceptance of the conclusion. Instead ask: Why are my particular beliefs, passed onto me through simply through exposure as a child, any closer to the truth about god than ANY other belief in the history of our species?

    • malletteblog says:

      Dan, I have a number of friends and correspondents who share your quite rational position. In my case, I’ve been there and moved on. As a very, very young child my faith was not so much “fervent” as it was simply a fact to me. I am quite certain I had a direct contact with the eternal. A certain warmth and sense of surrounding love that is described by Christian writers as “the peace that passes all understanding.” However, like the children in “The Polar Express” I somewhere along the line quit hearing the bell. By middle life I was agnostic and flirting with atheism due to science. There were MANY influences that vectored me, Barrow and Tipler’s “The Anthropic Cosmological Principles,” C. S Lewis “Perelandra Trilogy,” Eusebius “Ecclesiastical History, and Lao Tzu are some of the most profound influences from a variety of times and views. However, I believe it was Lao Tzu that caused me to reach the tipping point and realize that our “science” was more illusion than anything else. Incredibly crude. It can’t even tell us the precise makeup of what holds us to the planet and is at a complete loss on that which makes up 95% of the universe. From Lao Tzu, I learned an important principle: Time is an illusion. It is so effective that it renders us incapable of comprehending reality, which can only exist outside of time. Lao Tzu exhorts us to become comfortable with this very uncomfortable concept so as to live happier by not struggling against it…an effort that yields error directly proportional to the amount of effort applied.

      So, I made the decision to practice the religion of my tribe. The core tenets, and I mean the bare core, of all the major surviving faiths have but a single thrust. I’ll not attempt to describe it as per Lao Tzu’s clear message that such a description is sure to be yet another illusion. While all that certainly makes it sound futile I find that it is not so at all. When I returned to Christianity it was more a matter of accepting the value of His teachings and being a member of a wider family of support and love. But I found that peace began to manifest itself in brief moments, then longer. When my daughter passed away I was suddenly lifted up within it above the tormenting anguish that would have consumed me and my family otherwise. While some may say “Well, you just found a nice illusion to hide in…” I must only say “The illusion that protects one from ultimate pain is as good as the largest “real” wall…” Many lives have been saved by placebos, and not a one dropped dead after being informed of it. As for me and my house, we’ll just relax and continue to follow Him wherever He leads without one plea.

      Thanks for your comment!

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