[extropy-chat] Religion Rant

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Wed May 25 18:39:49 UTC 2005

--- MB <mbb386 at main.nc.us> wrote:
> My religious rant comes down to a rather simple statement: just
> because we do not presently know why/how something is/works/happened,
> does not mean "god done it".
> But I'm seeing just that every day in my part of the world.

Aye.  Many religious types insist that "if it's unknown, it MUST be
GOD".  This seems to have at least partially caused scientists to
cling to explanations even when they are tenuous, rather than just
flat-out admit that some things are unknown.  (Even though that's how
science gets done sometimes - e.g., in my own science project, I'm
investigating an aspect of quantum mechanics that is, fundamentally,
not solidly known.  There are multiple possible outcomes, mutually
exclusive, which are all logically defensible given current knowledge.)

What would help, I think, is a broader acceptance that what is unknown
is merely currently unknown.  There is wonder and mystery in the
unknown, but even so, the unknown can (and usually should, often for a
common litany of practical reasons) eventually be explored.  Those who
really want wonder and mystery in itself can move on to other unknowns,
which we will not run short of for a long time if ever.

This is not to argue against the dreamers who try to explain the
unknown.  There is a big difference between merely coming up with
possible explanations, and accepting those explanations without
actually trying to see if it is correct.  Not looking for holes in new
explanations of the unknown almost inevitably leads to accepting
explanations with holes.  Even some of Einstein's works have been found
to be not 100% correct and he admitted as much (reference "cosmological
constant"), although just because he made some errors is very far from
proving that all or even most of his work was incorrect - for example,
E still equals mc^2.

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