Thursday, June 5, 2014

I had to get this out of my system :)

So there I was on my virtual surf board surfing in the choppy waters of the net called youtube ( See what I did there?! :) Do pardon that excuse for a metaphor but I guess you got the point) when I came a video about someone talking about how God created the universe in 5 or 6 days and then rested over the weekend. You know, the whole let-there-be-light and adam and his rib and the apple and the snake and that darn box which apparently should have been left closed. Now I don't have any problem with what people believe or want to believe but what got to me in this exposition on 'creationalism' is the fact that it was part of an argument against science!!!

I am paraphrasing but the dialog went something like this: " ...you are asked to accept a lot of stuff - like evolution, like how life formed, like how humans came to be and so on and so forth - based on the words of a few scientists. This is called science and it is supposedly good. You are asked to accept a lot of stuff - like God, like how man came to be and so on and so forth - based on the words of a few men of yore. This is called religion and gets so much flak. Why don't we realize that people espousing evolution as scientific fact are just asking you to accept it based on faith and that makes it as much a religion as any other... ". So if my understanding of this is correct, what he was saying is that science is as much a religion as any other "traditional" religion because we just need to have faith and accept what we are told about things we don't have an explanation for. Fair enough I suppose. I mean, as part of our daily life we don't really see things like electrons and neutrons, do we? Nor can we actually verify things which are supposed to have taken place millions of years back or are supposedly happening slowly over the last so many millions of years. So I can see why it might be equated to a faith based system like a religion.

However, one simple thing that people making this argument keep forgetting or missing or avoiding is that science, especially those fields which involve explaining all the heretofore unexplained phenomena that we see around us, is ever evolving. There was a time when we thought the earth was flat. There was a time when when we believed that we were the centre of the universe. There was a time when we waited for a gaint snake to swallow the moon every month. There was a time when diseases were thought to be because of a curse or because of bad deeds in a previous life. We now have more rational, observable and provable explanations for all of these and more. Our understandng of these has evolved just as the science has evolved. Which just goes to show that while science might ask us to take some things on faith, it doesn't insist on holding on to that same faith in perpetuity. In fact, the core tenet for anyone wanting to pursue science is to question established norms and try to prove them wrong in a repeatable and verifiable way. That, in my opinion, is why any attempt to show science and religion as equals will fail to find acceptance.

PS: That was a long rant but has been cathartic. So no apologies.

PPS: God of the gaps! Listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson talk about this. Makes a lot of sense.

PPPS: In matters of God, I am agnostic. I think that is mainly the consequence of me being born a Hindu. When you have 330 million Gods (give or take a few thousands!!) to pay obeisance to, I guess it was bound to happen. I am not complaining though. I love the temples (make no mistake, I am talking only about the physical structures, not the inane things they insist you do there) and I absolutely love the 'prasadam' they distribute there. It gets my goat however when someone tries to shove their religion down my throat.

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