Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fact and Fantasy


Humans have developed a system for using their minds to distinguish fact from fantasy. We call it science, and it includes math, physics, chemistry, geology and astronomy. Information gathered by these methods can be demonstrated and replicated, always with the same results, unequivocal. We all know from experience
 that if we have 6 pennies and get 6 more, we will have 12 pennies. And we can unequivocally predict that, if someone takes 3 pennies away, we will have 9 remaining. We have also learned, first in theory and then in practice, how to calculate the amount of thrust energy must be generated by a rocket engine in order to lift XX tons of machinery into orbit and at what speeds necessary to keep it there. We know these things as facts because we have used math, physics or chemistry to demonstrate them repeatedly.

We, these same human beings, find ourselves at odds over ideas which some of us want to call facts, but which do not meet the tests of math, or physics, or chemistry, or demonstration, or replication. We refer to certain ideas as “spiritual”, or “supernatural”, or “holy”, and use this to excuse them from any scientific tests. We do this with God, the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah, Joseph Smith, and others. When we cross the line between science and non-science, we have entered the realm of fantasy.

I find it astounding that educated, informed, brilliant minds can subscribe to fantasy and insist that it is fact--the way we do with religion. If you can convince yourself that things exist for which there is no scientific evidence, then you are susceptible to whatever propaganda (preaching) that others put forth and which may appeal to your fantasy.

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