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…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…
In 2020, online lying literally killed...
a “massive ‘infodemic’—an over-abundance of information … that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it…” deliberate attempts (sometimes by national leaders) to disseminate misinformation and disinformation.
Is the following prayer from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy your response to this very near and present existential threat?
Protect me from knowing what I don’t need to know. Protect me from even knowing that there are things to know that I don’t know. Protect me from knowing that I decided not to know about the things that I decided not to know about. Amen.
I am proposing that you resolve your anxiety about what is true, the meaning of life, the universe, and everything by finding a solid basis for faith as a response to crises.
First, define faith.
It is not blind belief in some statement made by a trusted leader.
It is the expectation of a future outcome based on knowledge of past events. We put our faith in people and systems proven to be trustworthy, and reject the advice of those proven to be false.
I know a woman who, every time she crosses a bridge on her way to work, worries that her car will plunge through the side barriers into the river. That thought doesn’t even cross my mind. I have faith in my driving, my car’s responsiveness to my handling, and the strength of the bridge, established in 50 years of driving experience.
Like me driving over a yawning chasm, most people trust in their ability to figure out the truth intuitively, without need to gather and study any data about the subject at hand.
But can we trust ourselves, really?
Trust in others is an inescapable fact of life in a world roiled by uncontrollable natural, political, social and personal forces. By deliberate choice or defaulting by inaction, we are forced to trust a claimed authority in philosophy, science or religion.
The key difference between these proclaimed authorities is how they arrive at their conclusions, i.e. beliefs.
In-duction is a process where in-stances of in-dividuals’ behavior are used to form arguments and premises to develop a generalization or a conclusion that can be attributed to much more than the in-itial subjects.
Philosophy – which includes psychology – uses induction to draw conclusions about human nature in the entire population.
Due to the limited data used by philosophers for their theses, there is a high probability of a faulty extrapolation to the larger population of other genders, cultures, age groups, etc.
Since philosophical reflections begin with the philosopher’s personal observations, philosophical conclusions are inevitably colored by the philosopher’s prejudice. Most of all, while typically expressed as facts, philosophical conclusions are in reality only opinions which may be overthrown by a paradigm shift.
Since philosophical conclusions often start with the premise that there is no God, they aren’t trustworthy for considering any spiritual empowerment in solving problems. And that’s not a rabid Christian speaking. That’s Norman Mailer.
It is, after all, near to impossible for a philosopher to explore how we are here without entertaining some notion of what the prior force might have been. Cosmic speculation is asphyxiated if existence came into being ex nihilo [out of nothing].
That’s Francis Bacon.
Bacon has been called the father of empiricism…Most importantly, he argued science could be achieved by use of a skeptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves…the general idea of the importance and possibility of a skeptical methodology makes Bacon the father of the scientific method. This method was a new rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, the practical details of which are still central in debates about science and methodology.
In the reverse process of in-ductive reasoning, de-duction starts with general information to arrive at specific conclusions. Science primarily uses de-duction in research. The greater amount of data gives science greater credibility than philosophy.
As with philosophy, scientific conclusions are often presented or accepted as facts, but in fact science only derives generally accepted explanations about material reality. Even the cardinal fact-finder, the scientific method, is only applicable when direct observation is possible, and must be validated by repeated experiments.
When experimentation is not possible, science
- formulates a hypothesis based on observation, then
- develops a theory via imagination,
- bolstered by assuming regularity and similarity to known conditions.
If just one assumption is wrong, then the conclusion is wrong.
Because life after death isn’t accessible for observation or experimentation, the scientific method can’t give answers to the questions about its reality or condition, and can only speculate.
The same applies to historic events. Many scientific theories, such as evolution and the Big Bang, begin with the desired wish that God does not exist, then invent a more-or-less plausible alternate explanation for currently observed reality. These provide welcome, but hazardous, shelters, for people looking for justification for their own rejection of a higher authority than themselves.
Philosophy and psychology are most applicable for understanding the behaviors directed by the personality, i.e. soul. Science is most applicable to researching material conditions such as the body.
Religion contrasts with both science and philosophy in that rather than observation, it depends on revelation for truth, to which one responds with trust in the revelator.
Substantial definitions attempt to delineate the crucial characteristics that define what a religion is and is not. For example…“religion consists of two elements… a belief in powers higher than man and an attempt to propitiate or appease them…
However…emphasis on belief in the supernatural excludes some forms of religion like Theravadan Buddhism, Confucianism, or neo-paganism that do not recognize higher, spiritual beings…
[So] functional definitions define religion by what it does or how it functions in society…“Religion is a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group struggles with the ultimate problems of human life…”
With that definition, it can be seen that any purportedly scientific or philosophical teachings involving aspects of human experience that are unknowable by direct observation are, in fact, religious teachings on which people base their faith on someone’s revelation.
Whaaat? In the same breath you preach a dogmatic trust in science books while admitting continuous errors in scientific claims? Can you recognize the cult leader in this man? Most of all, his claim that there is overwhelming quantities of mutually buttressed evidence for evolution is a flat out lie.
Belief in evolution is…passionately defended by the scientific establishment, despite the lack of any observable scientific evidence…This odd situation is briefly documented here by citing recent statements from leading evolutionists admitting their lack of proof…
Even doctrinaire-atheistic evolutionist Richard Dawkins admits that atheism cannot be proved to be true.
Of course we can’t prove that there isn’t a God.
Therefore, they must believe it, and that makes it a religion…
Eminent scientific philosopher and ardent Darwinian atheist Michael Ruse…
Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as…a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality . . . . Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today…
They must believe in evolution, therefore, in spite of all the evidence, not because of it….
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, . . . in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated commitment to materialism. . . . we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive…for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
The author of this frank statement is Richard Lewontin of Harvard….An evolutionist reviewing a recent book by another (but more critical) evolutionist, says:
We cannot identify ancestors or “missing links,” and we cannot devise testable theories to explain how particular episodes of evolution came about. Gee is adamant that all the popular stories about how the first amphibians conquered the dry land, how the birds developed wings and feathers for flying, how the dinosaurs went extinct, and how humans evolved from apes are just products of our imagination, driven by prejudices and preconceptions.
A fascinatingly honest admission by a physicist indicates the passionate commitment of establishment scientists to naturalism. Speaking of the trust students naturally place in their highly educated college professors, he says:
And I use that trust to effectively brainwash them. . . . our teaching methods are primarily those of propaganda...We only introduce arguments and evidence that supports the currently accepted theories and omit or gloss over any evidence to the contrary…
the reader is reminded again that all quotations in the article are from doctrinaire evolutionists…The evolutionists themselves, to all intents and purposes, have shown that evolutionism is not science, but religious faith in atheism.
The leading evolutionist is generally considered to be Sir Julian Huxley, primary architect of modern neo-Darwinism. Huxley called evolution a “religion without revelation” and wrote a book with that title (2nd edition, 1957). In a later book…he argued passionately that we must change “our pattern of religious thought from a God-centered to an evolution-centered pattern…” “The God hypothesis . . . is becoming an intellectual and moral burden on our thought…we must construct something to take its place…”
Humanism is: A joyous alternative to religions that believe in a supernatural god and life in a hereafter. Humanists believe that this is the only life of which we have certain knowledge and that we owe it to ourselves and others to make it the best life possible for ourselves and all with whom we share this fragile planet. A belief that when people are free to think for themselves, using reason and knowledge as their tools, they are best able to solve this world’s problems…Humanism is, in sum, a philosophy of those in love with life. Humanists take responsibility for their own lives and relish the adventure of being part of new discoveries, seeking new knowledge, exploring new options. Instead of finding solace in prefabricated answers to the great questions of life, humanists enjoy the open-endedness of a quest and the freedom of discovery that this entails.
– The Humanist Society of Western New York
Let’s objectively examine some of these statements.
- Humanists believe that this is the only life of which we have certain knowledge.
- That’s a direct contradiction. You either believe or you know. Isn’t that why religion is accused of being a coping mechanisms against the unknown? Belief vs scientific proof?
- Humanists free to think for themselves, using reason and knowledge, are best able to solve world problems.
- Frankly, most people don’t have the freedom to do much thinking about world problems or even to gain much education. Most people are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table and their family members alive and intact. Humanism is quite frankly an elitist endeavor, not a democratic experience.
- Humanists don’t accept “prefabricated” answers to the problem of life.
- It should be self-evident that “prefabricated” responses to crises are based on laws of human nature demonstrated over thousands of years at every social level from a couple with a safe word to a medical team working in close harmony to resuscitate an accident victim to a city with law enforcement teams responding to a riot to health agents responding to a natural disaster to nations engaging in international relations with treaties backed up by military force. Surely that data is valuable evidence? If you collapse one day do you want your bystanders to use a prefabricated response with CPR or a humanist to relish the adventure of exploring new options to resuscitate you?
- Humanists relish the adventure of being part of new discoveries.
- Seriously? Like all the new emerging diseases from humanity’s reckless disregard of ecological balance? The problem is that discovery more often than not entails an inability to manage the unknown.
The coronavirus pandemic, suspected of originating in bats and pangolins, has brought the risk of viruses that jump from wildlife to humans into stark focus.
These leaps often happen at the edges of the world’s tropical forests, where deforestation is increasingly bringing people into contact with animals’ natural habitats. Yellow fever, malaria, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Ebola – all of these pathogens have spilled over from one species to another at the margins of forests.
It is time to replace rosy colored lenses with clear vision, to see the whole world we live in, not limited to the gracious homes, exotic getaways, classy restaurants, elegant fine arts venues and mirrored halls of the elite we watch on television and somehow justify identifying ourselves with because its our value system, even when its not our reality.
Certainly we can acknowledge the abusers in society who rise above the basic survival instinct and intrinsic selfishness of human nature to become the predators exemplified by Hitler and Stalin, mass murderers, and to a lesser degree arms traffickers, warlords, terrorists, serial killers, rapists, sex traffickers, partner and child abusers, home invaders, need I go on? They leave behind death, destruction, physical, cognitive and emotional dysfunction. But what about the rest of us?
Self-centeredness and exploitation of others is undeniably at the core of human nature. The quintessential proof is the eagerness with which the wealthy members of Enlightenment nations replaced belief in a moral Creator with amoral Humanism as they heinously exploited and crushed the under-developed nations.
Hey! Don’t blame me for racism! I never owned slaves! Yes, yes.
But do you support recovery from slavery for the victims of slavery in your sphere of influence? Any professional who has dealt with the consequences of neglect can attest that this victimizes as much as outright abuse.
We view minorities and the vulnerable as less than human
What’s more, the inclination to dehumanise starts early – children as young as five…
We already experience schadenfreude at the age of four
…pleasure at another person’s distress, especially if they perceived the person deserved it (because they’d engaged in a bad deed).
We believe in Karma – assuming that the downtrodden of the world must deserve their fate
research has shown our willingness to blame the poor, rape victims, AIDS patients and others for their fate…the same or similar processes are likely responsible for our subconscious rose-tinted view of rich people.
We are blinkered and dogmatic
If people were rational and open-minded, then the straightforward way to correct someone’s false beliefs would be to present them with some relevant facts. However a modern classic published in 1967 showed the futility of this approach…This seems to occur in part because we see opposing facts as undermining our sense of identity. It doesn’t help that many of us are overconfident about how much we understand things, and that when we believe our opinions are superior to others, this deters us from seeking out further relevant knowledge.
We are vain and overconfident
with inflated views of our abilities and qualities…This vain self-enhancement seems to be most extreme and irrational in the case of our morality…even jailed criminals think they are kinder, more trustworthy and honest than the average member of the public.
We are moral hypocrites
there is a long-studied phenomenon…which in part describes our tendency to attribute other people’s bad deeds, such as our partner’s infidelities, to their characters, while attributing the same deeds performed by ourselves as due to situational influences.
We favour ineffective leaders with psychopathic traits
Dan McAdams, a professor of personality psychology, recently concluded that Trump’s overt aggression and insults have a “primal appeal”, and that his “incendiary tweets” are like the “charging displays” of an alpha male chimp, “designed to intimidate”…a meta-analysis (an overview of prior evidence) published this summer concluded there is indeed a modest but significant link between trait psychopathy and leadership emergence, and that this has practical implications – especially since psychopathy also correlates with poorer leadership performance…
This is another fulfillment of philosopher Nietzsche’s prescient expectations of the 20th century, where it is not necessary for the entire society to become atheist, just the leader.
Nietzsche’s concept of the superman represents the highest principle of development of humanity. It designates the affirmation of man’s full potentiality and creativity…a critique on religion, morality, and…a panacea to the social problems of…enlightenment…
Nietzsche opposed…the notion of equality…he saw it as possibly “the final chapter in the dwarfing of man –the leveling and mediocritization of humans that have begun with Socrates and Christ” (Cited in Fortich, 2010, p.76). Against the ideal of Christian morality, equity and progress, Nietzsche pits the counter ideal of the superman…
Nietzsche (2006) conceives the superman as “an expression of free-spiritedness…the affirmation of one’s full potentialities, authority, power, freedom and creativity…
Nietzsche’s superman is not subordinated to anybody…[his authority] can be applied politically, religiously, socially, psychologically and otherwise…is not bestowed by anybody but oneself…
superman, for Nietzsche (2006) is “a man- God: the highest expression of freedom from the tyranny of religion. This informs why he declares “the death of God”…and upholds the “emergence of the superman”.
And how did that turn out?
Adolf Hitler and Mussolini were Supermen who executed their own political experiments to solve their countries’ economic woes.
Oh, but the American Superman is a good guy!
During the Great Depression…The Superman phenomenon reflected the challenges facing Americans in the 1930s while celebrating the nobility of the common man…
Superman’s motto from Action Comics #1 stated that he was “the champion of the oppressed. The physical marvel that had sworn to devote his existence to helping those in need!”…
Superman’s early adventures all revolved around social inequalities and the importance of self-reliance…Superman also epitomized the life of an immigrant who came to the United States for a new life while leaving behind the old…
Even as nations overseas began arming themselves for a great conflict, the Superman comics promoted the American peace movement of the 1920s and 30s..Superman, like many Americans, believed that war was pointless…when the United States finally entered World War II, Superman stayed home fighting corruption…To Superman, the internal problems of the United States were just as important as the war overseas.
Doesn’t sound like America today.
“Superman is there to help people and save people. He is not passing judgment. He is not trying to push an agenda. When there are people in need, he is going to be there to help, no matter who they are.”
Superheroes are the Greek gods of secular modern life – otherworldly figures able to tackle the problems of this human world. Like the gods of Greek mythology, they can be flawed. In fact…we need them to be flawed. Part of their appeal is that we can relate to them, despite their being superhuman.
Is it not evident that failing to “pass judgment” simply avoids determining, in order to solve, the underlying problem?
Faced with the evidence that human control is fast slipping through our fingers, megalomaniac leaders are putting their faith in alliances with the new Supermen.
And that’s the attraction. Gaining access to empowering resources.
Think about that for two seconds.
Despite the overriding knowledge of the domination of the weak by the stronger, and the underlying belief in Evolution’s dictum of Survival of the Fittest, massive government resources have been expended accessing more advanced denizens of the heavens via space probes and interstellar and nuclear research programs.
This is not “progress” for us peons. If the history of ziggurats and astronomical calculators teaches us anything, we can count on the powerful making alliances amongst themselves and discarding the rest of us once they’ve used up what they can get from us.
Any humanistic value system is absolutely based on identifying with the powerful who exploit the weak. Individually and collectively, the more “highly developed” we become, the more we harm and destroy each other.
William James, first among the Harvard faculty giants a century ago, wrote in “one of his most eloquent, utterly ageless essays…“History is a bath of blood…”
In the article Is War Inevitable? by E. O. Wilson, he argues that, yes, it is.
Our bloody nature, it can now be argued in the context of modern biology, is ingrained because group-versus-group competition was a principal driving force…
Archaeological sites are strewn with the evidence of mass conflicts and burials of massacred people…At the present time, we are still fundamentally the same as our hunter-gatherer ancestors, but with more food and larger territories…The struggle to control vital resources continues globally, and it is growing worse.
And why is that? “[I]n sum, a philosophy of those in love with life. Humanists take responsibility for their own lives.”
What about all the others in the world? A small minority of the world’s population hogs the majority of the resources, heartless to the suffering they cause.
The human race does not end in a win for mankind. Even the scattered survivors of an apocalypse will wipe each other out if left to their standard modus operandi. That is what makes The Walking Dead so horrifyingly true to life. The zombies aren’t the greatest threat. It’s the other survivors.
The reality is utterly contradictory to human nature. “It’s either us or nobody.”
During the past twenty-five years, scientists have challenged conventional views of evolution and the organization of living systems and have developed new theories with revolutionary philosophical and social implications…In The Web of Life, Capra offers a brilliant synthesis of such recent scientific breakthroughs as the theory of complexity, Gaia theory, chaos theory, and other explanations of the properties of organisms, social systems, and ecosystems. Capra’s surprising findings stand in stark contrast to accepted paradigms of mechanism and Darwinism and provide an extraordinary new foundation for ecological policies that will allow us to build and sustain communities without diminishing the opportunities for future generations.
The truth is that only by changing the way we as individuals treat each other will we be able to reconcile broken families, resolve race relations, and bring about the peaceful and just international relations we need to ensure the survival of the species.
And that is the original program, and the offer of salvation by redemption back to, in the guidebook written by the Creator God and Sustainer of all existence.
Don’t panic. This blog book is not an evangelical attempt to convert you to Christianity. Absolutely not. This blog investigates the revelation of Creator-Sustainer God as given from the beginning to “to infinity and beyond!” in his own words.
In stark contrast to religious strategies to obtain and retain followers, the posts in this blog use the same procedures used in scientific research and literary and legal hermeneutics to assess the reliability and validity of the historical and scientific statements purportedly relayed by an infinite God.