Every religion starts small and usually sounds like raving lunatics, weird prophets, strange unintelligible writings that “magically” start making sense on hindsight. The sects tend to be secluded and often rejected and even pursued elites for quite an extended period of time.
Once the older institutions wear off their charm on the younger smarter individuals, these turn to the esoteric new charmers that promise to uproot the previous institutions and new future ladened with light ahead.
Though the promises change superficially, they go from pious righteousness to outright political and warfare success promises of immortality of life ever after, harems with virgins, death (preferably miserable of your opponents) u name it, the bright future, the no pain no gain mottoes and monopoly over the imagination are a common denominator. Heavens are also usually there but hells are optional.
There is one modern movement that seems to follow the same pattern we saw in the early onset of religions.
In it’s early day Christianity rose not clearly defined and accepted as most people assume today, it was a tumultuous time and the charms of anthropomorphic gods of the Greeks and Romans were wearing out. The Jewish God was more fearsome but had a real Human form and representative at least this was Jehovah v 2.0. this was different and had made the sexually active, warrior, sadistic gods of the past look obsolete together glorification of kings and queens or just plain mythological stories, which in fact was the truth. This new god was a reformed angry god a creator who had a human son who he sacrificed in body for the sake of purification. He was pious impartial and generally better than petty humans. The fission of the new god with the memories of the old promised not wars but peace no more angry Gods and disciples but sheep. Most religions looked like this when they took over.
The spread of religions had very discrete behavior as one can easily see in the following flash preso.
Science, free thinking and technology has been following a similar viral trend (though at an unprecedented rate).
It has had its root in the occult and archaic Alchemy. Alchemists were fundamentally in search of transforming metals, apparently Greeks had names for things that did not exist. Probably the highest prize of this art would have been changing lead and other base metals to gold (Magnum opus ) and creating the elixir of life “panacea “, also becoming ultimately wise (hubris 100%). You can almost see them on their cauldrons and flasks deeply ritualistic producing green and red pyrites and melting and mixing metals. (Molten metal has something akin to magic to it: it is so hard cold yet by giving it energy or adding the element of fire the Alchemist could breakdown oxides and weak alloys (thought of as metals) to simpler constituents usually of different colors and the fumes usually had bad side effects so their interest is very understandable.)
The wisest and most powerful dabbled in this art. The visirs, the oracles, the druids and the antagonists of the Christian Church were all somehow influenced and deeply interested and vested in this art. ( I suspect even the high officials of all religions were experimenting with alchemy, there was just too much at stake and all wise men of the “Legacy Religions” recognised something “real” is happenning 100Hr of meditation and prayer changes ones self but evoking the metals and “dark spirits” within could poison and or paralyse someone else, produce poisons from “good” materials, could do lets say verifyable and repeatable phenomenon which is exactly what religious leaders would give anything for. There is a power in all knowledge and knowing thy enemy is one of the most important knowlwdges in the political circles. All religions are political in nature.
Modern chemistry came from the persian strain of alchemy (there were many strains with completely different techniques but the goals and fundamental symbologies overlapped.
- Egyptian alchemy [5000 BC – 400 BC]
- Indian alchemy [1200 BC – Present]
- Greek alchemy [332 BC – 642 AD]
- Chinese alchemy [142 AD]
- Islamic alchemy [700 – 1400]
- Islamic chemistry [800 – Present]
- European alchemy [1300 – Present]
- European chemistry [1661 – Present]
In the last stage Dalton, a color blind Quaker born Englishman publishes his Atomic Theory and that changed the game. All the rules were laid out and there was light. But the orgins were obscure and occult. Even in Thomas Edison’s days electric energy was still frowned upon by many religious institutions who saw it as a force of evil channeled over wires. In the 19th century and early 20th Century electricity was far from being everyone’s experience and was deeply mistified as the force of “animal life” that can kill the living and revive the dead (they refered to the Galvani frog legs experiment though today’s ability to keep people alive and revive them after minutes of clinical death is not far from miraculous from this perspective).
Science went through the acceptance phase just like early Christianity when the Roman and Greek gods were being carried over to the new age and transmutated into new named Jesus and Christ. The Necropolis in the Vatican has very clear depictions showing the original mosaics in pre and proto-Christan Rome such as the mosiac in the Tomb of the Julii in the cemetery under St. Peter’s depicting Jesus with the attributes of Apollo and Dionysus.
That’s how new religions are infused slowly gradually and morphologically. They could happen in no other way without causing rejection.
Slowly in the beginning of the 20th century the infusion and availability of electricity, modern medicine, and even to some extent the downfall of mythology and astology passed the baton over to astronomy. Particle physics started to explain the un-seeable the invisible forces started to be understood thanks to the legacy of people like Faraday, Maxwell, Planck, Einstein Bohr and many others.
It is currently the de-facto accepted point of view. Science is now going through phase akin to the growth, or proliferation stage of a new religion.
What distinguishes Science from religions. Well let’s list a few of the differences:
- Science is based on doubt as opposed to wishful thinking aka faith.
- Discovery and news is, most of the time, published and exposed to peer review.
- Disprove is valued as much as proof.
- Disagreeing views are valued and prefered to monotonic knowledge anagonism is fostered and useful.
- Proof and empirical observation are pinions of most of the finidngs of science.
- Experimentation is necessary not evil.
- There are NO Dogmas everything is always in question but not all questions are equal.
- It is based around reproducability freak measurements are not looked at as divine interventions more like human failure.
- It takes human flaws and eliminates them as much as possible from all experiments.
- It does not assume a pious or arbitrary position on facts.
- It assumes it is wrong to start with.
These properties are very compatible with human nature, and the results till now have been astounding.
From a low level of undersatnding I cannot possibly question findings of professors and geniuses but I am free to do it if I were capable. Einstein had proved Isaac Newton wrong,in principle. Nothing has been reduced from Newton’s methods, they are still used in day to day physics and are very valid approximations for paeople cars and planes. Newton was not burnt at a stake for being a heretic. That was the norm for many religious sects of the past, various torture, barbaric deeds and hate was bestown upon the infidels in history for differring opinions.
Science embraces the ability to revise one’s views and leave the book open ended for a twist at any time.
I firmly believe that science is the last religion but others will still exist. I think man fundamentally has doubt but also needs faith. Scientists spending the best part of their lives looking at dots under microscope must have faith in their theories, it is faith that draws them forward, sometimes misguidedly turning on their own tracks. To return to Einstein again; Einstein was a firm deterministic person. He himself stumbled upon what is called Quantum effect in his research for the photoelectric effect (that won him the Nobel Prize), he believed that the universe is local and deterministic i.e. phenomena at a distance do not effect eachother without a tether, and that exact knowledge of the past and present would lead to a sure and certain prediction of the future.
He proved himself wrong but did not accept it. His “faith” threw him off. Monumental a scientist as he was he failed at a basic skill questioning not others but one’s prejudices and pre-concepts. The Quatum thoery did not die just becuase one major (popular and also very famous) scientist discredited it himself, so much so Quantum Science took a life of it’s own thanks to it’s fathers Schrodinger, Bose, Planck, Pauli and many others. The two sides of modern science were hence founded just about a 100 Years ago.
Many theories have sprung trying to conciles these two views and though not mostly philosofical in nature they tend to shed important questions of reality and probability and hit the nerve of freedom of will and the beginning of the universe or multiverse and placed paperweights over all the thinking and what if’s of the past. Science is the only framework that allows human though to evolve rather than elf extinguish in fire and emotion. It is this the fire that will fuel the millennia to come and shape the road down this rabbit hole, hope there is a soft landing at the end.
~ by David Saliba on December 13, 2010.