Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Rant

I'm kind of on a relgious kick these days. Sometimes that happens. Maybe it's part of being a little crazy. Maybe it's lots of other things too. There have been a few distinct periods in my life when I've focused my mental energy on the Divine and how it fits into my world. I've always known that there is Something Larger Than Me. And I've always, in the back of my mind or maybe in my left heart ventricle, known that my life has a purpose, even if it's only to perpetuate my species and try to improve my immediate surroundings while here. I see no conflict with God there.

I'm also on a science kick, but that's been a much more consistent, enduring kick in my life than religion. I see no conflict with God and science. But that is a minority view, it seems. Some fancy-schmancy writer wrote an article called My God Problem. I suppose she thinks she's clever to insult people for believing in things they cannot prove. Her condescending attitude is exactly the kind that turns most normal, God-fearing people's stomachs. She has no respect for humanity. People think, "Gee, if not believing in God makes you a catty bitch who thinks she's better, smarter, and more important than everyone else, well, no thank you very much. I'll stick with God if Science creates jerks." This is a problem that any scientist with a heart needs to consider.

People resist evolution because they think it dehumanizes them, just like Ms. Smartypanties' article dehumanizes them by calling them "poor gullible gits" among other things. Of course, I know that evolution and science don't dehumanize me, but I'm speaking for other people here. They've had their school prayers taken away by irrationally angry atheists, and now here's this high-falutin author trying to rile up the scientists to bring on an all-out war against God and religion.

I recognize that science doesn't have all the answers and doesn't pretend to, and that's one of the things I love about it. But it has a pretty good notion of what's probable or possible, and virgin births and carpenter rebirths just aren't on the list. Is there a divine intelligence, separate from the universe but somehow in charge of the universe, either in its inception or in twiddling its parameters? No evidence. Is the universe itself God? Is the universe aware of itself? We're here. We're aware. Does that make us God? Will my daughter have to attend a Quaker Friends school now?

I don't believe in life after death, but I'd like to believe in life before death. I'd like to think that one of these days we'll leave superstition and delusional thinking and Jerry Falwell behind. Scientists would like that, too. But for now, they like their grants even more.

I think Ms. Smartypanties is a little confused about science and its place in the world. She says that science doesn't pretend to have all the answers. Some of it thinks it does, and makes a big to-do about it. And she's upset with the scientists for being more concerned for their financial well-being than for converting all Americans to atheism. Look, lady, get your head out of your ass. Scientists are people too, and most of them just want to get through their days, weeks, months, and years and pay their bills and live their lives. Most people aren't interested in running crusades one way or the other. How has religion hurt you? It's probably only added to your bank accounts.

Yes, yes, I know all the arguments about the evil deeds done in the name of God or Allah or whatever diety. Sure, there is a lot of that. But no one really stops to think and list out all of the good that is done through religion or inspired by the Divine. How many schools, hospitals, ophanages, etc. have been built and maintained by religious efforts? How many lives have been saved by people moved by a force that they can only identify as God? The list is endless. I don't recall that part of the scientific method includes leaving out evidence just because you don't like where it comes from and only including the evidence that supports your hypothesis (in this case, that religion/God is worse than it is good). Where's the scientific objectivity when looking at God and religion? You won't find any in Angier's article.

On a kind of personal note, I didn't see any mention of children in her bio. Now, I know this is a very controversial thing that I'm about to say, but I'm willing to bet that it's closer to true than not. Many childless women lack a certain capacity to love and respect life. And indeed, having children was a pivotal event in my own spiritual evolution because of the absolutely overwhelming love that filled me. Perhaps it was/is only biological responses and so on. Fine if it is. But it is surely more powerful than anything that science has discovered or created, so what's wrong with attributing it to some Divine Force?

Well, I don't want anyone to misunderstand the point of my little rant here. I'm not dissing science and scientists. I love science and scientists! Some much more than others. :-) But I also have a close relationship with something that I believe is Divine. If that makes me a "poor gullible git" then I'll just be a poor gullible git instead of a well-paid but heartless bitch.

(Ms. Angier could be a very nice person. I don't know; I'm only responding to the attitude reflected in her article.)

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