15 October 2009


Science shows us ways of interpreting the physical world, while spirituality helps us cope with reality. But the extreme of either is impoverishing. The belief that all is reducible to matter and energy leaves out a huge range of human experience: emotions, yearnings, compassion, culture. At the same time, holding unexamined spiritual beliefs-beliefs that are contradicted by evidence, logic and experience-can lock us into fundamental cages. - The Dalai Lama

While I totally agree that if we do not have proper experience on a huge range of human experience, we are not living our life in full. However, I do think the Dalai Lama is mistaken in this sentence: But the extreme of either is impoverishing

First of all, there is no extreme science. As I have written before, science is a body of understanding of the physical reality that we live in, a methodology to conduct understanding of the universe and the underlying contributor to the many advances we have made.

Secondly, not only extreme of religion, which does occur every now and then, recent example includes parents praying instead of seeking medical help causing their daughter's death to wars between religions in the past and and present, is impoverishing. Mild form of religion also hinders human progress by 1. channelling resources towards useless rituals, 2. dividing people into different religious groups, 3. demeaning human morality - implying that human has no moral without the fear of god (typical christian) and 4. sometimes causing actual harm. To support 4, I can cite Pope's denouncement of condom in Africa where AID are a major issue. Many religious objection to stem cell research and the inability to recognise marriage among same sex couples are other examples.

Does some science research lead to ethical issues? Yes many do. What values are we based on to judge whether stem cell research meet ethical requirement? Such question are beyond the scope of this post. I may do a post later to clarify my position. But the challenges from many religious group on this issue do not meet my standard of morality.

Now I have question for you. If a mother is going to give birth, but there is serious complication. The best medical advice is that either mother or the baby can survive, but not both. What would your choice be? My position is in the next line in white on white. Highlight to read.

I will save the mother first. Saving the mother preserves the opportunity for another child.

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