Prologue: Advance Care Directives

To: Leaders and citizens of the world

Re: This is your COVID wake-up call: It is 100 seconds to midnight

Date: January 27, 2021[T]he COVID-19 pandemic…revealed just how unprepared and unwilling countries and the international system are to handle global emergencies properly…that could threaten civilization in the near future… [E]xistential threats…have intensified in recent years because of a threat multiplier: the continuing corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision-making depend…False and misleading information disseminated over the internet…created social chaos in many countries and led to unnecessary death…

In 2020, online lying literally killed...

Section 1: In _________ We Trust

The history of “In God We Trust” becoming the official motto of the United States spans nearly a century. Originally used on coins during the Civil War and later adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956…

as the country became ravaged by the Civil War, religious sentiment grew…In November of 1861, 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, like “God said…and it was so.” (Genesis 1)

Or Richard Dawkins said…and it was so.

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1) Scientific Methodology

From the Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health

[I]ntimate relations exist between mathematics and material reality, that counting and categorizing are the currency of durable knowledge, and that empirical study of variegated humanity…can uncover universal truths. The common origins of contemporary epidemiology and social sciences can accordingly be traced to Western Europe in the 14th—16th centuries, when quantification of phenomena…becomes a potent new mode of describing and predicting events of the heavens and earth…

What universal truths on religion are revealed in statistical studies?

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2) The End Of The Material World

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.

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.

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?

From a research perspective, the logical place to start investigating is with the documents that provide an established basis for trust on the statistical evidence of

  • prevalence – consistently high numbers of believers over time
  • and incidence – consistently high numbers of new adherents over time

Of all religions, the Bible, written by Jews thousands of years ago, has the best statistics for prevalence and incidence over the entire course of history.

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3) Existence: Pointless or Endless?

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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4) Evolution: Science or Religion?

Evolution has been aggressively championed as scientific truth in opposition to religious dogma since its inception in the 19th century. Its claim that there is no Creator of life has made significant inroads against religious belief in developed nations.

A new poll conducted by Ipsos for Reuters News in twenty-four countries found that 41% of respondents identified themselves as “evolutionists” and 28% as “creationists,” with 31% indicating that they “simply don’t know what to believe,” according to a press release issued by Ipsos on April 25, 2011.

What has Evolution discovered since its philosophical inception in the 19th Century that establishes its scientific credentials?

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.”

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5) Time: Uniformitarianism or Catastrophism?

The second major change in scientific thought was in the field of geology. Traditional…geologists held that the catastrophes described in the Bible, such as Noah’s flood, had actually taken place and caused many of the signs of geological change that could be seen. This view was known as catastrophism.

An alternative to catastrophism was the view called uniformitarianism. Proponents of uniformitarianism argued that the world’s current geological state was the result of uniform forces working slowly over long periods of time. Uniformitarianism was one of the foundations of evolutionary thought, in part because it provided a geological analogy for biological change: both were the result of gradual forces working over extremely long time periods.

Hutton (1726–1797) was a Scottish farmer whose study of features in the landscape and coastlines of his native Scottish lowlands” were used to counter biblical catastrophism with the idea that gradually changing processes were responsible for shaping Earth’s surface.

Charles Lyell (1797–1875) was a contemporary of Charles Darwin who grasped at Hutton’s concept of slow vs rapid alterations of landscapes. He handpicked his own examples of these processes in local rocks and sediments to support the concept of Uniformitarianism. 

In 1830 Lyell publishes Principles of Geology that due to its “eloquence…convinced a wide range of readers of the significance of “”Deep time” “for understanding the earth and environment as a “deistic mechanism keeping the world eternally suitable for humans.” 

 To this day, Lyell’s Principles of Geology is the foundation of modern geology.

That’s simply incredible! Modern geology was founded by an idea published in 1830 based on a tiny sample of Earth’s terrain, where, by the way, there are no volcanoes, remains of asteroid impacts, tsunamis, hurricanes, typhoonsor cyclones.

Continue reading “5) Time: Uniformitarianism or Catastrophism?”

6) Dating: The Stones Cry Out

[In 2015] the world said hello to Homo naledi, a new species of ancient human discovered in South Africa’s Rising Star cave… at least 15 individual skeletons—one of the richest hauls of hominid fossils ever uncovered.

But one significant problem clouded the excitement over the discovery: The team doesn’t know how old the fossils are…Everyone from professional paleontologists to interested members of the public raised the same question: Why hadn’t the team dated the fossils yet?

The simple answer is: Because dating fossils is really difficult.

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A closer view of the 250kg British bomb that was lodged in the ground at the site where workers were digging

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7) Cosmology: Fake It ‘Til You Make It

the so-called Kármán line…sits some 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, and it’s generally accepted as the place where…outer space begins…

I don’t know about you, but sixty miles up wasn’t at all what I envisioned whenever I heard the news of “outer space”.  That’s still well within Earth’s atmosphere.

Earth’s atmosphere is divided into five different layers, based on temperature…

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8) The Space Race Is The Arms Race

The space race was a series of competitive technology demonstrations between the United States and the Soviet Union…the development of rockets and…the advancements made within each national space program were inexorably tied to the development of nuclear weapons.

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I remember being a young child in the early 60’s, caught out in the open in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when the sirens blared out the Cuban nuclear bomb warning. I was terrified as I raced home to get under shelter. I remember being an impressionable teenager in the late 60’s reading about the Viet Nam war on the front page of the newspaper every day. And then we lost to the Communists.

Can you possibly get out of your own mind and life and times and consider how much Communism influenced American emotions in both leadership and civilians desperate to feel safe in the immediate aftermath of the most destructive war in history?

The aftermath of World War II saw much of Europe devastated in a way that is now difficult to envision. Approximately 36.5 million Europeans had died in the conflict, 19 million of them civilians.

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