26 March 2010

Religion debate

The debate of religion basically are around two cores: god's existence and moral.

On god's existence, religious know that they cannot prove the existence of god. They go round and round arguing and demanding proof of non-existence.

On moral, anthropology has already shown that all society have some core values which are not necessarily derived from religion. For 5000 years, Chinese were mainly ancestor worship and were the leading civilisation until about 500 years ago when Chinese closed the border and the West caught up and passed. Arguing moral coming from a god obviously does not work. Many religious ask where "absolute morality' come from. Moral standard, IMO, is a social construct. As social animal, we instinctively know how to operate within a social environment. Out of the social norm will not make survival any easier. As social mature and become more humane, many previous accepted practices, e.g. slaves and capital punishment, are rejected. This is moral progress. Religion remains on the most hindering force in the continue progress. Recent example is the abortion, condom use, stem cell research and so on.

The wealth and political influence of religion is obviously historical. To move forward, we need to educate more people, enabling them to dispel all the myths and acknowledge the great contribution of Science has made towards understanding of the world around us. Rationality needs a voice to offset the privileges which society has granted the religious due to history reasons. Science needs to come to the centre stage and take control of the public opinion. Frankly, we are like frogs living in a pot over fire. The water will boil. By the time we find it too hot to be comfortable, it may be too late to escape.

The marriage of religion with American's right-wing politics is dangerous to the world - not just to their own citizens. The following are out-dated models now: economic models based on growth instead of sustainability, focussing on short-term political gains instead of looking for results beyond the election cycles, believing the magic hand of free enterprising - whose only focus is generation of wealth for the stakeholders, neglect of the common good, dumping waste into the atmosphere, rivers and oceans, and treating environment as an externalities. Resources are finite. Ideas can grow exponentially, but not material. Short term election cycles lead to government extremely short-sighted. There is only one planet Earth. Until we are able to migrate to some other places, this is our home. The natural system can only handle that much. We have really "f*cked" up the atmosphere badly. The science is clear.

It is amazing to see how the USA education system continues to produce citizens whose scientific understanding is so little. Granted USA still possesses a great talent pool. The general public's understanding of the world around us is poor that it is not funny any more.

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