ESSAYS AND BOOK SUMMARIES ON EMPIRICAL REALITY


The Sins of Science

A Brief History of Atheism

Religions are systems of shared beliefs about the nature of man and the universe. Such systems are usually founded by a charismatic leader and his apostles, who are initially unified by advocating some inchoate moral principle.

The survival of a religion is determined by both divisive and unifying forces. These include personally powerful religious and political leaders, acting in conjunction with religious, political, and economic organizations.

The inevitable result, worldwide, is a proliferation of religions and religious sects, both large and small, all claiming to possess the doctrinal truth and all vying for power. Thus, from a political point of view, an organized religion is best understood as a plan for power over other people, flavored by an intention to do good.

Until the Renaissance, Roman Christianity had been the dominant religion in the Western world for several centuries. However, beginning in the 16th century, Roman Christianity divided into many sects. By the 18th century, the number of Christian sects was large and all were logically incompatible with one another and with the undisputed findings of science.

At that time, most scientists lived in communities that held socially enforced religious rules of behavior that were more restrictive than are found in Westernized countries today. The result, as science advanced, was increasing cognitive and social discord between the professional work of the scientist and his social environment.

When cognitive interference became intolerable, at the time of the 18th Century Enlightenment, the leaders of science found a simple and elegant solution. They conceived a new religion, called Materialism, whose central belief is that nothing exists except matter. There is no soul, no God, nothing after death, and no moral obligation except to please one's self. This was a not unreasonable response when judged against the available array of unbelievable alternatives. (At that time It was not scientifically known, as it is today, that man has a nonphysical attribute, i.e., a soul.)

Since then, science and evolving varieties of religion have existed peacefully near each other for 200 years, separated by the compartmentalization of religious and lay activities and by differences in socioeconomic status among adherents. Although God-based religions might quarrel with one another, atheistic science and God-based religions rarely intersected.

Among educated people the more bizarre religious doctrines of the past have been discarded as superstition, but religion of a kind is still practiced efficaciously. What is lacking is any criterion to separate true beliefs from false.

Today, a denial of God is not felt to be necessary by most scientists. Most care nothing for logical consistency outside of their scientific specialty. Whether a scientist today believes in some kind of God or is an agnostic or an atheist is, for most, a matter of indoctrination, fashion, or social convenience, but not of social pressure. A few of our leading scientists care vaguely about the epistemological issues involved in atheism, but they are not talking.

A Brief History of Globalization

In the beginning, science caused cognitive dissonance between itself and religion. Later, science gave birth to technology, which begot the Industrial Revolution, which required the aggregation of large amounts of capital. Thus was born modern capitalism.

Tradesmen, artisans, and farmers, whose work had built community loyalties, became corporate employees divided in loyalty between management and labor.

Competition between corporations and among nations successfully restrained prices for some years. Since about 1980, advances in computer and communication technology, coupled with lowered international trade barriers and unchecked immigration, created invincible industrial monopolies. Profits have soared, with increases going mostly to capital owners.

The manipulation of money by financiers has ceased to be an adjunct to the manufacture of goods and has become, instead, a means for squeezing money out of corporations without regard for the human and economic consequences.

Technical management's loyalty to corporations dissolved on the day that "downsizing" was announced. Then, or soon thereafter, irreplaceable skills were lost to society. A way of life that had nourished the achievements of the 20th century was destroyed. At the lower end of the economy, labor was impoverished, embittered, and prepared for an inevitable day of retaliation--or so it would appear.

Collusion between financiers and politicians destroyed nationhood and with it was lost the efficiency enforced by international competition. Thus was born an age of World Government controlled by financiers. This was accompanied by the abandonment of economic sanity. We are now consuming our capital at a rate not sustainable optimistically for more than 50 years, and probably for no more than ten. All this was done in praise of "Globalization" and without warnings on these economic matters from the watchdog journals Science and Nature.

Why, moreover, was this done with the enthusiastic support of a coterie of our scientific leaders? Why have they agreed that unrestrained greed is the law of nature and that we have no moral obligation to mankind as a whole? The answer, very simply, is that the scientist's religion of materialism has never been critically examined and ignores what we have learned in parapsychology, namely, that "No man is an island," and that, to some still unknown degree, each of us is our brother's keeper.

[For documentation, see R.A. McConnell: God.org Are You There? On the Deeper Meaning of ESP]

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