Prologue: Advance Care Directives

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

It is 100 seconds to midnight…

In 2020, online lying literally killed…deliberate attempts (sometimes by national leaders) to disseminate misinformation and disinformation…

a “massive ‘infodemic’—an over-abundance of information …makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it…” 

SECTION I: In What Do You Trust?

The history of “In God We Trust” becoming the official motto of the United States

as the country became ravaged by the Civil War, religious sentiment grew… Reverend M. R. Watkinson appealed to Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, to add the phrase to all U.S. coins…He wrote, “This would place us openly under the Divine protection…

Really? The belief that proclaiming a condition brings it into existence is magical thinking. Common in young children but considered psychotic or New Age religion in grownups.

Trust is not created by fiat. Trust is formed by neurological connections in the brain through interactions with others.

Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist, researched the importance of trust in infancy. He noted that when caregivers are a consistent source of comfort, food, and affection, an infant learns trust. The baby develops a belief that others are dependable and reliable. If caregivers are neglectful the infant learns mistrust. The baby then develops a belief that the world is an unpredictable, undependable, and possibly a dangerous place.

Further research has shown that trust may be established even prenatally, despite the still-developing brain lacking the neurological ability for cognitive or emotional processing of experiences.

Continue reading “SECTION I: In What Do You Trust?”

1) Revelation Or Experience?

Hundreds of thousands of people died in the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. But as described in these news reports, others saw warning signs, and escaped with their lives…

a 10-year-old British girl saved more than 100 people because she had just studied the killer waves in school. When the sea suddenly began to boil, then pulled away from the resort she was visiting, leaving fish and boats stranded high and dry, Tilly Smith recognized that a tsunami was approaching. Fortunately, her frantic warnings were heeded, and the beach was evacuated just moments before the huge waves crashed ashore…

Many other people in the region were less attuned to nature, and paid with their lives. 

The most important knowledge, guiding our values and behaviors during our lifetime, is what happens after this lifetime.

Science cannot answer the question “Does God exist?”science studies the natural world, not the supernatural. No amount of scientific testing or theorizing could prove or disprove the existence of a supernatural creator.

So we are forced to rely on revelation by a supernatural being.

But there are over 4,000 religions in the world offering hope for a quality of spiritual existence after death of the body. Which one is trustworthy?

Continue reading “1) Revelation Or Experience?”

2) Hyperdimensional Or Material?

The Renaissance is often envisioned in terms of Italy’s resurgence of magnificent art depicting the Classical World, but…

The best starting point to begin any cursory investigation into the Classical World is with the twin verse epics compiled by Homer…Iliad and Odyssey…between 1050 and 850 BC…Much like contemporary Hollywood superheroes, in whom we see our own desires and appetites incarnated…Zeus (Homer’s thundering “storm-bringer”) notoriously metamorphosed himself into various animal forms in order to impregnate a succession of unwitting and reluctant women…Through his mother Olympias, Alexander considered himself a direct descendant of Achilles[a demigod]…he used to sleep with a dagger and his private Iliad under his pillow, calling it his journey-book of excellence in war…Alexander lived out the poems he most preferred…

What began on…Alexander the Great’s Makran expedition passed to the Ptolemies in Egypt, to the generals and emperors of Rome…

[Roman] Virgil’s Aeneid, which is modelled on both Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey in almost obsessive detail and yet transforms them at every turn…Virgil chose to conclude with a duel between the champions on either side, Trojan and Latin: Aeneas [another demigod] slaughters Turnus in an excess of fury…Achilles abuses the corpse of his enemy, until even the gods are appalled at his inhumanity…

The scene has shocked and disturbed many readers, for the chilling violence with which Virgil elected to end his poem…Why has Virgil outdone Homer in the ferocity of the ending?

Sex and violence presented together clearly provided a highly arousing combination…

Continue reading “2) Hyperdimensional Or Material?”

3) Deism Or Humanism?

A purely materialistic world viewdominates modern Western culture, first articulated by the Greeks late in the history of civilization.

Until then the mystical world…was explained through…the gods…

In the second half of the fifth century B.C. the tradition of the Sophists emerged…they were worldly, liberal minded humanists…each person had his individual experiences and individual truth. Trying to define an objective reality was pointless…

Socrates… turned his back on science and cosmology and pursued ethics and logic…With his dialectic method of inquiry Socrates developed one of the core columns of Western thinking…True knowledge was something that could not be learned by listening to other people it had to be personally attained.

Plato…taught that every material object also had a transcendental aspect to it…The immortal soul was in contact with the divine prior to birth but lost this connection due to amnesia when entering the physical body… Logos…a divine ordering principle behind all things and events…[was] integrated…into his philosophy of an understandable world.

Aristotle…turned Plato’s principles of a divine order upside down…understanding of the natural world could be attained by perceiving the world with the five senses…logic, empiricism and natural science…turned out to be trend-setting for scientific research of the West

The religion of humanism was born.

 in one form or another, religion is found in all known human societies. Even the earliest societies on record show clear traces of religious symbols and ceremonies. Throughout history, religion has continued to be a central part of societies and human experience, shaping how individuals react to the environments in which they live…

As a belief system, religion shapes what people think and how they see the world. As a social institution, religion is a pattern of social action organized around the beliefs and practices that people develop to answer questions about the meaning of existence. As an institution, religion persists over time and has an organizational structure into which members are socialized.

Why Religion Matters: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability

When policymakers consider America’s grave social problems, including violent crime and rising illegitimacy, substance abuse, and welfare dependency, they should heed the findings in the professional literature of the social sciences on the positive consequences that flow from the practice of religion…

Continue reading “3) Deism Or Humanism?”

4) Endless Or Pointless Existence?

Stephen Hawking is a genius physicist and “one of the most important scientists and public intellectuals of our time, if not all time.” 

But despite being a top ranked scientist among scientists, Stephen Hawking does not base his choice of belief system on evidence.

Note carefully that Stephen Hawking’s choice of belief is made to resolve his emotional response to the concept of an afterlife. As he states, he is grateful, i.e. relieved to conclude that there is no afterlife.

This is understandable, since he spent his entire adult life struggling with a severely debilitating physical disease, experiencing, in essence, the misery of a disembodied soul as postulated to be the condition of the afterlife.

But is someone’s emotionally disturbed coping mechanism a viable basis on which to base belief directing your own life’s choices and plans for your soul’s fate after death? 

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5) Proven Or Pretend Time?

Traditional Christian views held that the world started with its Creation and would end with the second coming of Jesus. This concept did not give evolution enough time to producing anything. 6000 years was not enough time to create the incredible diversity of life in the world.

Charles Lyell (1797–1875) was a close friend of Charles Darwin. Lyell’s elite social and political connections within Britain’s Military Industrial Complex – like his friend Darwin – authorized him to underwrite a new “explanation of time” that due to its “eloquence…convinced a wide range of readers of the significance of “”Deep time.

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6) Catastrophism or Uniformitarianism?

There were three major revolutions in scientific thought that prepared the way for a successful theory of evolution.

The first major change in scientific thought was in the field of biology. Linnaeus, the Swedish biologist, had…abandoned the theory of the chain of being that claimed that all living creatures formed an unbroken scale of complexity and nobility, terminating with the most complex and noble of all, humanity. Instead, Linnaeus showed that life could be divided into five separate kingdoms, each divergent from the other.

What a gross distortion of the facts.

In fact, Linnaeus was a devout Christian who believed that The study of nature would reveal the Divine Order of God’s creation, and it was the naturalist’s task to construct a ‘natural classification’ that would reveal this Order in the universe.”

In fact, the separation of mortal living creatures into five categories follows the biblical account of creation which defines 1) water animals, 2) winged animals, 3) beasts of the earth, 4) cattle, 5) creeping things, and finally 6) man as a unique creation representing Spirit God himself in material form.

The second major change in scientific thought was in the field of geology.

Continue reading “6) Catastrophism or Uniformitarianism?”

7) Reformation Or Retrogression?

11-3The difference between Humanism Renaissance and Bible Reformation is encapsulated in the terms “elite” for Humanists, and its antonyms for for Bible believers:

Humanists don’t want equality, they want to be at the top of a social pyramid.