Saturday, April 22, 2017

Who or What Is God and Why the Mystery?

Who or What Is God and Why the Mystery?

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation and is but a reflection of human frailty.
- Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist, sometime philosopher (1879-1955)

Einstein's "reflection of human frailty" is the biggest part of the answer to the title question. Humans created their God or gods based on their own needs. Each god reflects the needs of its human creator at the time of its creation. Einstein was not afraid to imagine something different.

Does this mean I am about to prove that God does not exist or that he does? In a very real sense I can answer that neither.

The gods we have been taught about are human creations based on the limited knowledge (and needs) of their time. In that sense God is fiction. That is the God that atheists deny and that confuses agnostics. That does not mean that God does not exist. It means that humans have not listened to their predecessors who taught what was real. Not many predecessors, to be sure. The world’s most popular book was written about one of them.

In general, religions have taught about gods that were created millennia ago. They were days when people belonged to tribes and had distinct tribal values. Tribal values seem brutal and inhumane in today's megasocieties. Yet those ancient religions today stick to their creations which can never be proven and don't even make sense to most people in the 21st century. Moreover, some of the concepts are conflicted or inconsistent. God in the Christian Old Testament, for example, has distinctly male characteristics as the stern master and vengeful warrior. In the New Testament God takes on clearly feminine characteristics, as a mother who would care for, help, protect and coddle followers.

It is so easy for science to debunk the gods created by religion because, generally speaking, the claims made about each are not just outrageous, but actually absurd. This claim may seem offensive to those who have not actually studied the books about the god they believe in. Religious leaders, for exactly this reason, have felt no shame in giving the god they want followers to adore (and to give money to his place of worship) characteristics that the followers want to believe their god has.

Christianity made Mary, the mother of Jesus, into a virgin. The Bible makes no such claim, anywhere--some of the most modern Bibles may be exceptions as they have written what they want their followers to believe. But it makes followers more strongly believe that God must have been the father of Jesus of Nazareth. Most of the miracles in the Bible can be explained by a thorough knowledge of nature and a good knowledge of therapies that ancient peoples used to cure diseases. Cures that, I must add, today’s pharmaceutical companies do not want us to know because they want to sell us their expensive medicines. “Us” being the same gullible followers of religions that preach of fictitious gods.

In order for us to understand what God is we must discard what we have been taught by both science and religion. About God or gods, not about other things they have taught us. Neither religion nor science has allowed for a concept of God that is beyond the understanding of those who went before us thousands of years ago. I especially remember one man with rebellious ideas who was crucified. He taught what we should understand today, but his contemporaries did not understand. Those who followed him named a religion after him but did not accept his word about God. Yes, I am saying that Christianity is not about Jesus of Nazareth, but instead about a real person who was fictionalized to make him more attractive to followers. Jesus was a simple teacher and healer. His follower Paul was the real founder of the religion.

Wait, am I saying that Jesus is not the Son of God? What Jesus actually said was that we are each children of God and we can find God within ourselves if we know how to look. The Bible says that but Christianity doesn’t teach that, does it?

We can use what we have learned in all aspects of the sciences and humanities--in the past century more than in all of history before that--to look at a bigger picture. We can’t satisfy science, religion or our own curiosity unless we are prepared to at least consider possibilities that are different from the conventional thinking we have been taught from the past. In the case of religion, from thousands of years in the past. In the case of science, from an establishment with rules tougher than most religions, one which is prepared to alienate, even to remove certification from, those with different ideas.

Let’s begin with what we know. We know about matter because we see and feel it every day. It constitutes the body that most believe is who we are. We can see, hear, taste, touch and smell matter. We know about energy because it warms us when we stand in the noonday sun, when we drive our cars or when we heat our homes. Yet science has calculated, through observation and learned mathematics, that the matter and energy we know constitutes only five percent of what exists in the universe. That’s right, 5%.

So what is in the other 95%? People who read will quickly answer dark matter and dark energy. OK, and what are they? They can’t be seen because they do not reflect light or absorb it. Apparently we walk through them and breathe them and shoot spacecraft through them every day. We know when we bump into regular matter because it hurts. But when we bump into dark matter? Nothing. According to what we have been taught, that should be impossible.

Let’s review: science has proven that we can only detect about five percent of what science knows exist in the universe. That means that science admits that neither it nor anyone it supports has any real idea of what constitutes 95% of the universe. Science says that the 95% inhabits every part of the universe. We send spacecraft through it, we walk through it, we even breathe it without knowing it. Science says that.

Science does not say whether we walk through dark matter or dark energy. Hmmm. Since science does say that dark energy is responsible for our universe expanding uncontrollably, actually increasing its rate of expansion over time, I will say that what we walk through is dark matter. In that case we would be known matter walking through unknown matter. And we don’t know it. Well, you do know it now that I have told you. But it doesn’t push you around the way dark energy pushes the universe with unimaginable force.

We know that people around the world, in every culture on the planet and every one that has existed through recorded history has believed there is something bigger than what they are and what they know, something most of us would call supernatural. They have all prayed, in some form or another, to this supernatural force. With little effect, though many claim that when things work out the way they wanted them to work out their prayers have been answered.

When a supernatural force is deemed to have human characteristics, it doesn’t work out. If God gives us good things, why does he allow things such as the Holocaust and genocide, murder, drug addiction and mean mothers to happen? The answer, of course, is that only the fictitious gods are deemed to have human characteristics. Deemed? Isn’t it Genesis (a part of the holy books of Judaism, Islam and Christianity) that says God created man in his own image? That statement is so old that billions of people believe it is true. Because it’s old. And it appears in a holy book. What does that even mean, really? Is it not more true that people created their god in their own image?

Science believes it may have captured evidence that dark matter exists. Maybe. It still doesn’t know what dark matter is or does. As for dark energy it says we must just have faith that dark energy is real. Faith? Well, science doesn’t use that word, but what words it does use mean the same thing as faith. The mathematics of physics insists that dark energy must exist. Call it what you like if you don’t like the term dark energy. It exists.

I ask myself who would object if I claimed that dark energy is really God. That science has found evidence that God exists.

Why would science not come out and say that is a possibility? Because billions of people have beliefs that God (or gods) are something different. Any scientist who came out and stated that dark energy is God would find himself unemployed, with his name scrubbed from the annals of history.

I do not live under such threats so I will say it. The dark energy that science claims exists and pervades every part of the universe is what people for millennia have been calling God. Anyone who would claim that I am wrong will have no more evidence--in fact, even less--that his or her own god exists.

So what about this God? Did God create everything? Not quite. God IS everything. That includes you. You might call God a scientist. The universe is his playpen (sorry, science lab). The matter and energy we know, which Einstein said are the same thing, are his toys. I don’t say that sarcastically or cynically. I believe we should not put so much emphasis on the meanings and values of words. “Playpen” and “toys” are words familiar to all of us. If you attach values to them that are not intended or are not inherent in their denotative meanings, that is your problem.

Can we say, then, that science has proven the existence of God? No, not even close. Science would not even try. While people around the world have various concepts of God, there is no general agreement, no consensus that reaches even a bare majority. People disagree on the nature of God so science could never have a hope of proving anything that could never be recognized as a proof.

Science and religion can never agree about God because people can’t agree on what or who God is. Or what powers God has or lacks. That profound lack of agreement might be the greatest mystery of all. And the greatest obstacle.

This concept of God is not new. I have found it in elements of most of the world’s major religions. It may be found within the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth for those who willing to cast aside what they have been taught and look at the words of Jesus in the Bible. Let’s remember that Christianity is not the sole possessor of Jesus. Both Judaism and Islam consider Jesus one of their great prophets. That covers nearly half the current human population today. Of course the idea of dark energy is not mentioned by any of the God concepts because it is a name given by science in recent years and never considered by those who devised their own concepts of God millennia ago. God was assumed to be a mysterious supernatural force. Ummm, like dark energy.

Multiple times each week I read on social media where people make claims about God and even have the audacity to speak on his behalf with no authority whatsoever. This alone would make agreement between science and religion impossible as religionists mold their concept of God like wet clay.

The implications of this concept of God are either very simple or very complex. Simple if you reject it outright. Complicated if you want to consider what God could do, not do, want to do, want to avoid or take a serious interest in. These will be discussed in followup articles to this one. You may consider this as Part I, essential reading for anyone who will dare to venture into reading succeeding parts.

Finally, it will be important for us for future parts of this discussion to remember the law of conservation of matter and energy. Einstein said they are essentially the same thing in his well known equation e=mc2. Same with dark matter and dark energy. No matter whether something is energy or matter, it could become the other or even reverse its form. Nothing disappears. This will be important for us to keep in mind before reading followup articles. If something exists, it will not disappear.

[HINT: Does your personality exist?]

Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book of simple and inexpensive solutions to big problems of societies, and hundreds of articles which are available on the internet.
Learn more at   Follow Bill’s blog at  tiabuilder.wordpress

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Are We Maturing or Evolving As A Species?

Are We Maturing or Evolving As A Species?

You can graph human evolution, which is mostly a straight line, but we do get better and change over time, and you can graph technological evolution, which is a line that's going straight up. They are going to intersect each other at some point, and that's happening now.
- Daniel H. Wilson, American author, TV host, robotics engineer (b. 1978)

Evolution is constant. It's happening all the time, every day, not just occasionally over eons. It is now known that our own genetic composition can change even daily based on life conditions, diet, stressors, environmental factors, medications, even to the extent of finding new love.

Is it possible that our species has evolved slightly over the past century so that we are close to becoming two separate species? What might members of an evolving group of humans look like so that we could distinguish them from those who were not evolving? Would the unevolved ones fear the evolved ones and kill them as enemies the way science fiction has postulated? If so, would the evolved ones want to look like the unevolved ones long enough that their numbers were strong enough that they could repel attacks from the unevolved ones?

That suggestion may sound absurd because you have not heard it before. But look around the world at human populations. You can see major differences in approaches to life in every country.

In North American countries they are referred to as political differences, liberals and conservatives. In many countries the two are represented by two or more different political parties. In other places they may be represented by different religions. In still others the differences may be between those in power and those struggling to escape from the group in power, one that is particularly oppressive. Often the differences will be that one group prefers peace while the other advocates war or control by power. Or those who work for the best interests of others as well as of themselves and those whose only interest is themselves and their own welfare.

Sympathy is a common characteristic among all human cultures. Empathy, the ability to actually feel what someone else is experiencing, is a relatively rare characteristic. Empathy would seem to be a characteristic of an advanced form of human. Characteristics have ways of forming themselves to become part of the genetic makeup of a species.

Could these possibly represent differences in the DNA of our species, differences that are not yet striking enough that we are still able to reproduce with each other. (Species are usually distinguished from each other by their inability to mate successfully, though there are exceptions such as donkeys mating with horses to produce mules.)

Sociologists would say these two groups represent the social evolution of humankind from tribal culture to megasociety culture. This would be what I am calling the maturing of our species.

Tribal culture can best be seen in parts of the world that are still mostly tribal in nature. In these places fighting is ongoing, peace is rare and brief. The Middle East, parts of Africa and parts of the subcontinent are easily recognized as mainly tribal. In tribal culture there is always fear of the other "tribes" because of their differences, fear that the other may conquer or assimilate them.

With 7.5 billion people on our planet we can't afford to maintain a constant tribal state or we would be constantly at war. We must accommodate ourselves to what is called the megasociety. The megasociety recognizes differences and accepts them without fear and without wanting to resort to genocide to protect themselves. Death by violence is frequent in tribal societies, much less in megasocieties.

In the largest countries by population in the world, China, India and the USA, we can see signs of old tribal characteristics showing up, especially at election time. But, generally speaking, these countries remain relatively peaceful within their own borders and with other countries, considering what they were like in the past.

Are we maturing, as we must with an uncontrollably large population, from tribal society to megasociety? Or are we splitting into two separate and distinct species of necessity, by evolution?

It would certainly be more comfortable for us to say the differences are just differences in principles, in political preferences.

But, no matter what your political preferences, are you not tempted to ask yourself "What is wrong with those people that they can think that way?" Are the differences deeper than political preference?

I can't offer evidence of genetic change among our species. Neither can anyone else because this has not been studied. I do wonder why the US State of California has forbidden its citizens from having a complete DNA analysis done by their own request and at their own expense. What might that reveal in a state that large?

Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, a book that offers inexpensive solutions to social problems through changes in education. He has also authored hundreds of articles which are available free on the internet.
Learn more at