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Posted by Harvey on October 31, 2003 12:41:22 UTC

Listen, Harv, as far as feeling insignificant and worthless goes, lack of religion need not be a factor at all. Just look into the night sky out in the desert. Look at the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, realize that there are more galaxies in the universe than stars in our galaxy than grains of sand in all the beaches on earth, and try to wrap your mind around the sheer sense of scale regarding Creation's length, breadth, and age, and then see if you can entertain anthrocentric religious thoughts and keep a straight face.

The size of the universe is humbling. However, the complexity of the universe is even more humbling and that complexity is what humbles me to admit that there is a God. If you cannot see that, then this is you. The majority of the human populace disagrees with you, and the further you travel from the riches, medical care, and technogadgets of our Western society the more you see the importance of religion, and the less you think our self-gratifying thoughts on creation really has any relevance at all. When you get down to the hard realities of love, families, children, grandparents, births, deaths, weddings, and all the other things in our life that actually matters, the more I do think that the only thing that matters with regard to the Cosmos is God existing and making all of this experience we call life a meaningful place. I understand your thinking, however I see it is as isolationist and dehumanizing, to be honest. It is not the experience of the average Joe and Jane in the world. Talk about M31 to a family man in India trying to farm and support his small religious community, and he will look at you with a blank stare. Talk to him about Krishna and ask him his experience with his God, and his face will immediately light up and he will ask you into his house, give you a hot cup of tea, and try to feed you while the whole family gathers around and the little children come up to you wanting to hold them. This IS reality. Don't talk to me about clusters seen on Hubble. They mean absolutely nothing if we can't share in the one human thing that we all have in common as part of humanity, love, family, children, religion. I've been to those places in the world, a number of times and always with the same similar experience (Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist) and maybe you have been too, but your mentality seems far from the personal experience and joy that religion brings. That's okay, however when you talk about the universe, you need to talk about the only universe that matters, right here on the Blue Dot.

Your talk of faith edifying and enriching human life is fair enough, however saying that you can utilize it to predict and control nature falls on the far side of absurdity.

What you call absurdity I call crucial. If you think for a second that "unprovable, unobservable, and unfalsifiable" is a reason to doubt your beliefs, then you can believe nothing, nothing at all. The reality is that even science cannot escape the facts of science from being unprovable, unobservable, and unfalsifiable. Study philosophy of science and you will soon see how every scientific theory succumbs to this particular trinity. What we have is our pragmatic inclination to accept certain things as proof, to accept certain things as observable, and to accept certain things as falsifiable. Where we differ is in the pragmatic areas of our life that we are willing to count as these things having been met. Prayer, for example, is just as real and meaningful to me, pragmatically speaking, as turning on the television and watching "Friends". The difference is that if someday I find myself on my death bed in some last moments of my life with my family gathered around, I doubt very much we'll be watching "Friends". I hope we'll be praying as a family for God to control the future events of our lives. You don't have this in your life, fair enough. However, you are not anywhere near in sharing the human experience of the vast majority. Maybe that makes you proud. I see it differently.

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