I just read an article by Paul Hunting on the Huffington Post that is darn near close to being the worst article on science and religion I’ve ever read. Now I’ve never read anything by him before and have nothing against him, but this is just bad. And my readers know that I’m not one to make a living belittling the works of others. But this is so bad I had to link to it and respond briefly as to why it’s so bad.
Here’s a taste:
Sages through the ages have continually emphasised the truth, sanctity and awe of the present moment. The purpose of many forms of meditation and spiritual exercise is to enter the portal of the present and attain “enlightenment” – to transcend the illusions of the mind and the earth and experience “God.” And when you think about it, it’s obvious really. Even a nanosecond away is the past or the future, both of which only “exist” either in our memory or imagination — they’re not real. All we really have is the now. The illusory quality of space is harder to conceptualise but nevertheless, thanks to Einstein’s reasoning, if time goes out the window, so does its sister — space. We cannot have one without the other, so if one goes they both go. All is real is in the eternal now and the absolute here. Why, then do science and religion both seem committed to ignoring what is so risibly self-evident?
Science used to acknowledge that “time” began with the big bang or, now, “eternal inflation.” Yet, no scientist can conceive what came before and caused it — or how everything came from nothing. Religion invokes God as a creator yet forgets that God is who we really are and the creation is actually God’s image inside us. Everything did not so much come from nothing — it is nothing. Nothing the mind perceives exists. Cogito ergo sum. It is the “I am,” the true self that is doing it all. “Who are you?” asked Moses of God. “I am that I am,” God replied.
Since “Adam and Eve” we have been trapped in a space-time matrix that appears to be the real world, but is only a weird reflection of a far greater reality. The co-dependent dimensions of time and space are powerful illusions created by the perceiving mind. They are functional. They provide an opportunity for us as human beings to have an experience we call life. But despite the evidence from our senses and logical minds, matter is about as real as a good movie.
Cosmology is the observation and measurement of a long-since dead past that is more likely to have dissipated than still be in orbit. The stars and galaxies we believe we “see” in the sky are certainly no longer where they appear to be — their light has taken thousands of years to arrive here. The light from Hipparcos 5926 (one of our most distant, visible stars) would have taken 16,308 years to reach Earth! It’s image on our retina is twice as old as the ancient scripture. Hardly here and now! Thus, any conclusions drawn from studying the apparent universe are guaranteed to be deeply flawed, heady cocktails of speculation and superstition masquerading as truth.
Likewise with quantum theory. The relative distance of protons and quarks from the eyeball that cannot perceive them is equivalent to the distance of the earth from the milky way. As above, so below. Infinity cuts both ways. So does zero. Yet the top theoretical physicists are undaunted by their very own uncertainty principle. They are still obsessively certain that Leibnitz’ monad is alive and well hiding out amongst the shattered hadron particles.
Where, for example, does the Bible urge us to seek the present and not the past for our guidance? The deeper meaning of the Sabbath in Genesis surely refers to the perfection of the present moment rather than the dubious notion of God’s weekend off. When Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead” he was telling us to let go of the past. To “have no other gods before me” means to look within to the soul for truth. Likewise, to “seek first the kingdom of God and all things will be added to you.” All of these biblical statements are extolling what Ekhart Tolle calls, “the power of now.”
Science and religion then have far more in common than many would like to admit. They are both looking into an external past for a truth that can only be found in an internal present. They both confuse evidence (fact, faith, sense perception, measurement, theory, scripture, etc.) with truth. They both believe they are exclusively right. Both want to control our thoughts, beliefs and behaviours and have the entire world follow their belief systems. They are both responsible as much for human advancement as for untold fear and suffering.
Alright, here I go…
1. Matter is an illusion? I think that there’s one or two or 20,000 scientists that would disagree with this. This philosophy of science is untenable and embarrassing. This computer keyboard I’m touching right now? Oh sure, it’s an illusion. The Matrix called: it wants it’s story arc back.
2. God is who we are and yet the creation is God’s image inside us? What? Care to translate this poetry for us?
3. Everything came from nothing, is nothing, and nothing in the mind is real? Alright, stop typing then.
4. “Thus, any conclusions drawn from studying the apparent universe are guaranteed to be deeply flawed, heady cocktails of speculation and superstition masquerading as truth.” Again, see something, anything in the philosophy of science. If we can know nothing then everything that he is writing is worthless.
5. “The relative distance of protons and quarks from the eyeball that cannot perceive them is equivalent to the distance of the earth from the milky way. As above, so below. Infinity cuts both ways. So does zero.” If a student turned this in I would cross it out, write what the ____? on the paper, and ask them if they were using drugs.
6. Equating “have no other Gods before me” with looking within the soul for truth likewise makes absolutely no sense. I can’t for the life of me comprehend this interpretation.
7. And here is the doozy, the one that put me over the edge… “Science and religion then have far more in common than many would like to admit… They both confuse evidence (fact, faith, sense perception, measurement, theory, scripture, etc.) with truth.” So if truth is not based on evidence, and nothing in the mind exists, and matter is not real, then truth is grounded in, becomes, or is defined as what exactly? This really, really feels like a term I use sparingly… verbal diarrhea.
As I mentioned above, it is not normal for me to attack something that someone else has written like this, but the above article supposedly on “science and religion” is ridiculous. One has a little respect for the Creationists that present religion but ignore science, and the scientific materialists who present science but ignore religion, because at least they are presenting something. Here, there is nothing but empty words that are either meaningless or beyond comprehension.