In previous sections I expressed how important it is for individuals and countries to interpret the physical universe accurately. If we can interpret the world around us accurately then the beliefs and choices that follow hopefully will ensure the best future for Life and Earth. As humans though, we inherently have diverse belief systems such as religions and cultural beliefs of right and wrong, which often are not representative of the "physical reality" we live in. These beliefs can in turn cause unnecessary conflicts between individuals, cultures, and countries that affect the welfare of Life and Earth. Such conflicts can be especially problematic given the presence of our advancing technologies such as nuclear weapons. I have included this section on science because science is in most cases the one common language that we can all agree on in order to create our beliefs, and interpret the physical universe that we are a part of.
Throughout this book I have made a number of references to science. For example, in the section called Destiny and our Future, I made reference to the physical universe of matter and energy which may have started from the "Big Bang" and brought us to where we are today. In the section on Reality and Survival I made reference to the roughly 100 or so elements that we are aware of that make up a large portion of the physical universe. We ourselves are composed of the same elements being nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and so on. It is worth noting that the elements composed of atoms may only represent a small percentage of the universe. Current theories suggest that there also may be dark matter and dark energy that occupy an even greater portion of the universe.
Regardless of the theories regarding matter and energy, the previous sections that I have discussed put forth the basic idea that the physical universe of matter and energy flows all around us. We are an integral part of it. The scientific laws of matter and energy are undeniably a part of our lives. These laws, that we ourselves are a part of, allow us to create accurate interpretations of the universe. These interpretations of the universe become a part of our daily lives in order for us to predict and interpret the world around us. For example, if a boy hits a ball with a baseball bat he can create an accurate belief that the ball will fly into the field. If we could not rely on scientific laws, such a belief might not be so accurate.
Science is important because it is our primary tool for measuring and interpreting the physical universe that we are a part of. Science enables us to study physical reality, collect data, establish accurate beliefs, and make informed choices that can help us find the best future possible for Life and Earth. Scientific beliefs can also serve as a background against which we can compare and evaluate our non-scientific beliefs such as religions and cultural beliefs. It is not to say that scientific beliefs are "right" and non-scientific beliefs are "wrong", only that scientific beliefs act as a grounding mechanism that most can agree on, against which we can question the validity of our non-scientific beliefs. It follows that global education in the sciences is critical to our survival and to the general welfare of Life and Earth.
Before discussing science in detail I want to tell you a short story. One day I was at a coffee shop and a woman sat opposite me. We started a discussion which led to how different cultures have different beliefs all over the world, whether they are about how things came to be, how they are, or how they will come to be in the future. I mentioned how not too long ago in the news a village in India killed 5 women because they believed they were witches. I have to say I was somewhat taken aback when the woman opposite me said "How do you know they were not witches?" That is the end of the story and the point is that our non-scientific beliefs can clearly have a significant impact on Life and Earth, as seen by the fact that the villagers would so easily kill each other for believing some to be witches. What is hard to fathom is that this is a current day event, not something that happened centuries ago.
Just as the villagers did regarding witches, we construct our beliefs by gathering data from our cultural background, our friends, and all our past experiences. Since the data we gather is different for all of us we end up with different beliefs and interpretations of the world, but is there a right answer? Is it okay to simply believe, as the villagers did, that the women may have been witches and then kill them? If someone believes that a building full of people are really aliens, does that make it acceptable for them to take action against the people in the building? Is one religious belief more right than another? Clearly by combining all the possible things that we can imagine in the world, the resulting number of possible beliefs we are capable of, and that we may act upon, is virtually infinite. Where do we draw the line of tolerance between each other's beliefs? Is there some way that we can manage our thoughts and imaginations so as to ensure that our ensuing beliefs might stay closer to the laws of physical reality?
I like to think of science as the common referencing tool for interpreting the world. To me science is simply our name for measuring the flow of the matter and energy around us, that which we are undeniably all a part of. That is not to say that there may not be more than the physical world of science. It is only to say that we are a part of, and we live in, a universe of matter and energy that flows in line with very specific laws such as gravity. Science helps keep us all grounded so that we can determine whether our beliefs in aliens and witches may be "real" or not. The reason it matters is because we often take action based on our beliefs and the consequences of our actions affect our survival and the survival of other life in the physical world that we are a part of.
Some of the common sciences are mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. As an example, in order to predict the weather, we have satellites measure the movement of the clouds. In addition we can combine this information with more climate data such as temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, and so on. We can then create computer models to predict the weather somewhat accurately. Science sets us on a continuous quest to collect physical data regarding the interaction of matter and energy, and make predictions. Science helps us to establish beliefs that are accurate regarding our physical reality. For example, with climate data we might also be able to establish an accurate belief that a hurricane was forming and what path it would be taking. Another example might be that we could analyze the trajectory of an asteroid in order to establish an accurate belief as to whether it will miss the Earth and by how far.
Regardless of what beliefs we can imagine, we all use science. For example, even though our religious beliefs may differ, we will still agree that if we fall off a cliff, gravity will cause us to get hurt. Science is the one common way we have of interpreting reality because it studies the flow of matter and energy. We can predict when an asteroid will hit the earth with science if we have enough data. As we continue to gather data in the future we may even be able to become more accurate as to whether human beings are responsible for climate change or not. The value of science I think should never be underestimated.
Nevertheless, science is just another way of interpreting the world and creating our beliefs. The difference from other ways that we form our beliefs is that scientific beliefs consistently prove to be our best means of prediction. This is simply because science is based on the laws of matter and energy which are generally consistent everywhere. Gravity can be determined by the mass of a planet. If all the scientific conditions are the same, then the rate at which a ball falls to the Earth due to gravity is the same regardless of where it is dropped. Similarly, given identical conditions of matter and energy, water turns to ice if it is a specific temperature. It should be noted again though that even though the laws of matter and energy have proven very precise and consistent, science is indeed just another way of interpreting the world around us in order to create our beliefs. In order to remain open minded about this I sometimes imagine that for example, if the big bang of the universe occurred in cycles of time that we cannot even imagine, then possibly the laws of science might be different each time. This concept is just a way of conveying the idea that we interpret the world based on consistency of patterns. The laws of science, at least in the existence that we understand, are constant and therefore reliable.
The physical world in which we live is entirely governed by scientific laws so we find that the beliefs that we create based on science are generally consistent between us. On the other hand, if our beliefs stem from our imagination and stray too far from the consistency displayed by scientific laws, our beliefs tend to be dissimilar, less reliable, and less consistent. For example, different individuals or cultures may base their beliefs on taro cards, astrology, or the religions that they have come to know. There are hundreds of different religions comprised of beliefs that are diverse in uncountable ways. Nevertheless, we all tend to agree on the laws of science. Whatever our religion may be, when we drop a rock, most will agree that it will fall to the ground, consistent with the laws of science - consistent with the laws of matter and energy that we all are a part of.
So let's now get back to the example of the witches. Is it really okay just to believe that witches or even aliens may exist without sufficient physical data to support these beliefs? It does matter because we make choices based on our beliefs and these choices affect our survival and the survival of others. Certainly you would not want to be targeted as one of the 5 women who were killed because they were thought to be witches. If one indeed knew that they might be killed because they were thought to be a witch, then they might have second thoughts as to whether to accept so lightly that witches may or may not exist.
We often discriminate between each other based on "race" or "color" but are the actions we take against each other because of skin color or religion really warranted, or are they based on cultural beliefs that have been taught to us? Is the data on which we base such non-scientific beliefs accurate? How can we determine if our non-scientific beliefs are true or not? It amazes me how broad our beliefs can go and the actions we take because of such beliefs without relying on some common ground for interpreting the world like "science".
I have mentioned just how infinitely diverse our beliefs can be. It may seem the obvious but I think it is important to be reminded that beliefs don't just exist. We create our beliefs. In order to emphasize this point, imagine again that the surface of the Earth is the same as the moon, as illustrated in the preface, and there is no life in the universe. Imagine a universe of only bodies of matter like planets and energy - without life. It would seem that if this were the case then only the laws of science would exist.
What would the world be like if life did not exist? Would there be anyone to believe anything? Would there be any beliefs in what is "right" or "wrong"? If there were no life then would it be right or wrong that a sun explodes, that an asteroid hits a planet, or that the light from a distant sun shines on a planet? Essentially those types of events would be the only types of occurrences, and without life there would be no one to say whether they were right or wrong or that such events would have any meaning at all. There is really nothing to believe in without anyone to believe. It is only when life comes to exist that we create our own beliefs. We then create morals, ethics, and our beliefs of what we conclude is right and wrong. Based on our backgrounds we decide whether one religion is more right than another, or that witches, ghosts, or the devil exist. Our beliefs evolve over centuries within our cultures and change to comfort our thinking of the time. As the world changes, our beliefs change. When put in this perspective I just point out again how important science can be in giving us some common and consistent rules on which to base our belief systems and interpret reality.
In order to decide which beliefs are right or wrong, maybe it is not so much what we believe that matters but more so the consequences of the beliefs that we choose to follow. If there is no consequence to our beliefs then we can be wrong about our beliefs and it does not matter. Basically we can believe whatever we want and enjoy however we might feel from such belief if there is no consequence. For example, if one were to believe that after they die they would come back as a hummingbird, then since there is no consequence to being wrong while they live, they would face no consequence for being wrong. Lack of consequence is one of the main reasons we live in a world with such diverse beliefs.
On the other hand, if there are consequences of incorrect beliefs, which is usually the case, then it does matter what we choose to believe. If for example you believe you can cure someone's cancer by waving your hand over that person, then so be it. The problem is in the consequence. The consequence of such a belief will likely be less successful than going to the hospital. After all is said and done the measure of whether our beliefs are accurate is really in the consequences caused by following those beliefs. If we are wrong then someone pays the price. In other words, someone pays the consequences.
Hence I come back to "science" which we all rely upon in making many of our predictions related to the universe which we are a part of. Science enables us to establish beliefs that will help us avoid consequences we prefer not to face. Science may sometimes be thought to be boring, and it may not be what makes us feel good all the time, but it is an extremely important and a necessary component in world education, especially given our world is being steered on a new course by technology. In a world with growing technology we are bound to face significant negative consequences if our beliefs cause us to make choices that are not in the best interest of Life and Earth.
Image courtesy of thanunkorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Photokanok at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In the section How a Planet Survived I proposed that all cultures might include in their education systems a Universal Philosophy which would hopefully place us on a path to the best future possible for Life and Earth. One of the elements was that individuals might learn to look outside of the small circle of their own lives. Only through education can we be taught about the world that we are a part of and the various things that might affect us like climate change, the nuclear ambitions of different countries, and so on. Science represents one of the best ways for us to look beyond the small circles of our own lives. Without science it is as if you lived in one small town all your life and you did not realize there was an Earth with many continents, many countries, and many cities. Science opens our eyes to the world beyond the small town that we may have always lived in all our lives.
An excellent video to watch recommended to me by one of my professors at University is called Powers of Ten. This video helps us understand how infinitesimally small things can be at the atomic level, and how large things can be when we explore the vastness of the universe.
Given the sense of vision we have evolved with we can only at best see things such as small insects. We are not able to see bacteria or viruses or molecules but science has provided us with the ability to investigate things at a microscopic level with a tool call the "microscope".
On the other side of the spectrum, the video explores the magnitude of the universe. The farthest we can see with our eyes is the brightness of a star in the sky, but we have been able to see beyond our evolved senses by creating the "telescope". One of the greatest achievements in recent years was the "Hubble" telescope, which is a space telescope launched into low orbit Earth in 1990.
The reason why I have mentioned two of the most basic technological advancements in science, the microscope and telescope, is that these tools of science are symbolic of how science can enable us to see beyond the circle of our small lives. With such tools of science we can learn of concerns regarding the planet, not just the ones related to our daily work, our families, or our other daily routines. Even if our priorities in life are limited to the protection our own self interests, whether we be individuals or countries, an awareness of the world around us with science brings the concerns of the planet into our lives. For example, your main concern might be your family and job, but if by using science we were able to determine that an asteroid was heading to Earth, awareness of such an event would become a part of your concerns in life because it affects you. Science expands our capacity to understand the world, and in turn it helps us to survive.
As in my example with the one town that you may have lived in all your life, science allows us to learn that there is a world beyond our small town. By using science we can look within our own town at a microscopic level further than we ever could see, and at the other side of the spectrum, we can learn about the cities and the continents that exist beyond our small town. We can reach within and reach beyond by using our tools of science. With electron microscopes we can study viruses, bacteria, and molecules and with such tools as the "Hubble" telescope we can gain a new sense of vision that allows us to look at the universe in ways that would be impossible without the tools of science.
The critical key is education for individuals regarding the expansiveness of the world from both a microscopic and macroscopic view. If any of us are isolated in our lives we can become vulnerable to any beliefs that might so easily come our way. I believe that educating humanity on the sciences can help each of us gain a more accurate perspective of the physical world of matter and energy that we are a part of. It allows us to understand what we are within the universe, and even more important, it helps us to establish beliefs that may set us on the path to the best future possible for Life and Earth.
Image courtesy of dream designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The flow of matter and energy demonstrate such significant consistencies that we are able to create formulas measuring the relationship between them. Formulas can be accurately used to determine relationships between the various physical aspects of the universe, and predict their outcomes. Examples of formulas are listed below. For the current purpose, understanding the formulas is not necessary. One need only recognize that the relationship between matter and energy can be measured very accurately.
E = M x C squared
This famous equation simply states that energy equals the mass multiplied by the speed of light squared.
Force = Mass x Acceleration
The net force on an object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by the acceleration of the object.
Final Velocity = Initial velocity + Acceleration x Time
The final velocity of an object is equal to its initial velocity added to its acceleration multiplied by time of travel.
The above are only a few examples of thousands of formulas that help us understand the flow of matter and energy in the universe. By using formulas in physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology and other sciences we are able to make predictions and establish beliefs about the world around us that are very accurate. Engineers can use formulas to understand how to create a building and know in advance how to construct it so that it will be the most solid possible. Similarly, with astronomy we can predict the movements of the planets with formulas, in biology we can predict how quickly a population will compound and grow, and in chemistry we can measure the resulting chemical reactions when we combine various elements in different ways.
The reason why I have included this short section on formulas is to further emphasize how important science is in our lives when making predictions, and how accurate it can be. Its accuracy far outweighs a belief that we might create on a whim, or one that might have evolved over time within a culture. As an example, consider in Greek mythology whereby it was thought that lightning and thunder were the creation of the Greek God Zeus. Often referred to as the “Father of Gods and men” he was a sky god who controlled lightning and thunder. Science of course explains lightning and thunder in a different way. Lightning causes thunder. When a lightning bolt travels from the cloud to the ground it actually opens up a little hole in the air, called a channel. Once the light is gone the air collapses back in and creates a sound wave that we hear as thunder.
The above example could be applied to two individuals with different beliefs to explain thunder. One individual may persist that it is Zeus, and the other that there is a scientific explanation. Which belief do we choose to accept? How do we distinguish between which one is right or not? We face this dilemma every day, even in the current day with the aforementioned "witch" example. How do we choose what to believe in order to explain the events that occur around us? Are the irregularities that the villagers may have seen because of witches, or were they due to other reasons explainable with science?
The accuracy of our beliefs is measured by the consistency of their results. If we were to try to explain today that thunder occurs when Zeus is angry we would likely have trouble predicting when that is the case. With science though we are able to use weather forecasting to predict the probability of lightning and thunder with much greater accuracy, hence it becomes the preferred method of establishing our belief about the source of thunder and lightning.
Even if one were to offer all the scientific evidence available today, and to show it was a more accurate way of predicting the cause of thunder to the person who believed in Zeus, that person might still not agree for whatever reason. Indeed one cannot prove or disprove whether there actually is a Zeus who might be responsible for lightning and thunder. The person that believes in Zeus could simply say that Zeus operates outside of the universe that we know and he controls lightning and thunder indirectly. It is because we cannot offer absolute proof of any belief, such as with witches, that we have come to live in a world dominated by infinite beliefs that are not directly or indirectly related to the physical laws of science. Nevertheless, over time, and with education, we tend to gravitate to the beliefs that help us predict most accurately, especially when the consequences have a great impact on us.
It becomes clear just how complicated a problem it can be when individuals are educated in beliefs that contradict with each other, especially if they are not based on scientific laws. This results in many of the conflicts we have between us. By ensuring that the world is educated in science, which is probably the most common way of interpreting the world that we can all agree on, we might find that we could reduce global conflict and achieve the goal of finding the best future. Basically science may help us survive as we face the growing impact of our technologies on Life and Earth.
As a final note I just want to emphasize again that the consequences of the side effects of our technologies are having an accelerated effect on Life and Earth hence the consequences of inaccurate beliefs are likely to impact us more. We are living in a world where being wrong about our beliefs is more of a luxury than it was in the past.
Image courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In the preceding discussion about science I have mentioned the concept of probabilities quite a bit. What is the probability that "witches" exist? What is the probability that an asteroid we are tracking will come near Earth? What does it mean to say the probability of heads is 50 percent and tails is 50% when I flip a coin? Why is it that a Christian might say the probability of a God existing is 100% and an Atheist might say the probability is 0%? What is the probability of any event or thing?
Before discussing probability I ask you to consider the section on Destiny and Our Future. Here I suggested that the universe may have unfolded from the "Big Bang" just as if one might take the first shot to break the balls on a billiard table. After the first shot there are an infinite number of shots where matter and energy change, but each shot is an imminent function of the shot before, right from the beginning of the universe. I propose that if this is true then just as the sun will rise tomorrow, events in our physical reality are imminent. For example, depending on the movement of the clouds, temperature, and winds today at any location on the planet it will imminently rain tomorrow or not at various locations on the planet. Similarly, no matter what we do, tomorrow the moon will be at a specific location in the universe and this is imminent. The question is not whether an event is going to happen. The question is "are we able to predict whether certain events will occur?" Some events are easy to predict such as that the sun will rise tomorrow. We can estimate that gravity will exist tomorrow. It is less easy though to predict at what location you will be standing on the planet in 3 days from now.
My point to the previous example is that any event occurring in the physical world of matter and energy in the future will happen. Whatever happens to your car, your dog, or you tomorrow is already set to happen. Even if you choose to intercede on what happens that in itself is a part of the script of what will happen. Even though what will occur in the realm of physical reality is imminent, the problem for us is in estimating what will happen in the future. Therefore I define probabilities as our subjective estimate to define what is imminently going to happen in the future. We go through great efforts to gather data, ask friends, and do research in order to establish our beliefs of what will occur in the future. Going further, we go through the same process in order to create our best estimate of any beliefs we choose to accept and live by.
Let us take an example where you and I have a contest as to whether we you will drink over 4 glasses of water tomorrow? You rarely drink that much so you say it is 20%. I tell you I believe it is 80%. We have both assigned different probabilities to what we believe will happen tomorrow. Upon making our best guesses, I tell you that I have data that you do not have. For example, I know that the temperature will be extremely hot tomorrow. In addition I know that in the morning you will be going for breakfast with my brother who insists on spicy food. Further I know that tonight the water is turned off at your home and you will not have anything to drink. Given all these pieces of data that I have gathered, that you do not have, I have set my probability estimate at 80%. Indeed it turns out that I am right and you do drink over 4 glasses of water tomorrow.
In the previous example I have tried to make two points. First of all is that, at least in the physical reality that we live, the future is imminent.
Second, probabilities are our subjective way of estimating the future or that any belief may indeed be true or not. Accurate and relevant data is critical. Equally so is our ability to use the data properly when creating our probability estimates of future events or beliefs. Further, our probability estimates of beliefs often vary a great deal between us.
The only real measure of the accuracy of our probability estimates is in the results. In the case of gravity, one of the most basic physical laws that can affects us, almost all would agree that we will fall if we step off the edge of a cliff. We will assign it a probability of 100%. Since we all acknowledge that there is consequence, and it is undesirable, the resulting action we take is not to step forward and in turn we endure which is our objective.
On the other hand, consider an example where a volcano may erupt. Whether the volcano does erupt or does not erupt is imminent. We just do not know which will occur. Some may believe it will not erupt and they choose to stay. Some believe it will and they choose to flee for safety. The two different beliefs are made based on different data and interpretations of the situation, and they lead to the two different choices as to whether to stay or leave. The measure of the accuracy of the beliefs that led to the choice to stay or go will be measured in the result.
One of the benefits of science is that we can gather seismic data about the volcano, and go through historical information in the region. This enables us to make a fairly precise probability estimate as to whether it will erupt or not, possibly enabling us to save the lives of those that prefer to believe it will not erupt for whatever reasons they may have. For example, a scientist might conclude that given the data acquired about the volcano, historically such a volcano would erupt 70 out of 100 times, or 70%. This figure might not be enough to convince the non-believers. If on the other hand more data were acquired as the eruption neared and the scientist estimated a 99% chance of eruption, then the non-believers might now accept the evidence and flee if there were still time to do so.
It seems with science that the only thing we really need to do is understand all the data we can gather regarding matter and energy in the universe and determine the relationship between them. If we could do so then, at least in the physical universe of matter and energy in which we live, we probably could predict any event. In addition our beliefs about what is or is not would be measurable and accurate. Human beings have certainly done this well with the use of science and it in turn it has enabled us to create our technological advances. We are only getting better and better at understanding the physical universe with science, and better and better at rearranging matter and energy to create technologies that will meet our objectives.
Each step toward understanding the flow of matter and energy takes us closer to making more precise estimates of what will happen in the future.
Each step toward understanding the flow of matter and energy takes us closer to having our beliefs become more accurate. This process of improving in the accuracy of our beliefs also showed in the example I gave on Galileo who explained that the Earth was not the center of the universe, and that the planets of the solar system actually circled the sun. His theory was one step further in making our beliefs more accurate and allowing us to better understand the universe.
Each step toward understanding the flow of matter and energy takes us closer to improving our abilities to change the world. A simple example is our transition from using a rock as a weapon to the bow and arrow, the gun, and even robots, drones, and nuclear devices.
Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of suwatpo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Scientific beliefs based on data about physical reality are not the only beliefs though that can affect our choices. Let us leave the physical world of matter and energy, of physics, chemistry, biology, and all science for a moment and enter the world of our imaginations where we can combine ideas and images in order to create a virtually infinite number of beliefs.
The possibilities are endless to the number of beliefs we can imagine. Some might call it creativity. For example, we have hundreds of different religions that suggest many scenarios as to what will happen to our consciousness after we die. Given that we can only imagine what it might be like after we die, it is difficult to evaluate such imaginative thoughts within the physical universe that we live. Who is to say whether after we die that we will become reincarnated into another creature, evolve to a greater state, that 72 virgins await us, or that we will be taken through the gates into Heaven? The only thing we can say is that there seems to be inadequate evidence in science that such scenarios will exist, yet there is no way to confirm they will not occur. Given such beliefs cannot be validated in the physical world in which we live, and such beliefs can bring great pleasure in the physical world that we live in, we find they predominate in virtually all cultures. It is worth noting that non-scientific beliefs such as those mentioned can cause us to make choices that can have both good and bad consequences in the physical reality in which we live.
It seems that as we stray from scientific thinking into the creative world of our imaginations and extrapolate beliefs, the world gets very complicated, and the potential for conflict over our diverse beliefs increases. We find cultures evolving with a variety of imaginative explanations for extreme events such as thunder and lighting. In addition they evolve with infinite explanations for the great questions of life like where did life come from, and where are we going? What is life like after death if there is life at all? There are so many beliefs that unfold in order to answer our unlimited fountain of questions which leaves us open to endless suggestions of answers that might make some kind of sense. After so much searching, we get so exhausted, that we latch onto the best thoughts possible to answer our questions, so we can move on with our lives. These beliefs that we hold so tightly and live by also affect our choices though. Many problems can occur when the beliefs we create in our imaginations affect our choices in the physical world of matter and energy - specifically when there is consequence.
As an example in order to emphasize this point, consider that in the future, through our technological abilities, we are able to create weapons much more powerful than the nuclear weapons we have created in the last 100 years. Imagine that each country has "hypothetical" quantum nuclear weapons that are 1000 times the power of a nuclear bomb, capable of making the planet inhabitable. Let us assume the leaders somehow have the idea that it is good that every country has such quantum nuclear weapons, as a deterrent to initiating a war because everyone knows there is no winner.
Going further, now imagine that one leader who can activate their quantum nuclear weapon believes that the world is corrupt and that everyone in the world upon their deaths would be reborn on another planet of peace, where everyone would live happily forever, in another galaxy. Would you want this leader to make the choice based on his belief to activate the weapon in his country? Would you want the leader to impose the consequences of their belief on you? Certainly most would not want this kind of power in the hands of such a leader given that it would mean an end to our physical existence. Though the topic of this discussion is that non-scientific beliefs may imply greater risks to Life and Earth in the future, it should also be noted that by simply having such weapons there could be an accident to unleash such power.
Does this example highlight how the idea of countries exploring and advancing world impacting technology at their own will, might best become an obsolete idea? Does this example illustrate how cooperation, or integration of countries, may become necessary in order to avoid such problems in the future? Will countries just continue as they are, and wait to see if we develop such world impacting technology? Will they work together to collect the scientific data in order to see if we will be capable of such technology, then be preemptive to avoid such a situation? Will they instead compete with each other to see who can be the first to create such technology for their own use, then possibly use it against other countries? I wonder?
This example may seem far-fetched but our technological abilities with regard to the creation of nuclear devices are reaching unimaginable levels where the side effects can impact Life and Earth more and more. It is merely a matter of degree to which the above example may happen. We are currently to a point where we can talk nuclear "deterrents" because the technology mentioned in the above example has not yet been developed. Quite clearly though, if one believes there is a possibility of such world impacting technology then the idea of using such weapons as deterrents is not likely to have good results. It would seem to make more sense to be preemptive and have world leaders agree now to limit, and oversee, any development of technology that might tend toward such an impact on Life and Earth. This collective preemptive action by the countries of the world is now showing itself in the area dealing with climate change, though clearly it is not easy for countries to collectively agree and change policies in order to have a global impact.
Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of koratmember at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Beliefs guide us to making the choices necessary to achieve our objectives. Most would agree that our primary objective is to survive and be happy. If this is the case, then science is a critical tool for collecting accurate information about the world we are a part of, and for establishing beliefs that give us the highest probability of ensuring the longevity and welfare of Life and Earth.
If there were no life, I suggest that there would be no beliefs, hence it would follow that beliefs are entirely subjective. In the grand scheme of our existence, I don't really think any belief can be proved or disproved given they are subjective. We all have different beliefs and some of them are just more believable to us than others. The belief as to whether "witches" exist is also subjective. I was taken aback in the story above by the suggestion that witches exist, only because my subjective belief is that the existence of "witches" is improbable. Even though beliefs may be subjective, I think it is fair to suggest though that if the beliefs of individuals and countries do not accurately represent the physical reality we live in, the consequences of our actions based on our beliefs may not be what we desire.
I again propose that global education of science is critical in establishing beliefs that will help us find the brightest future for Life and Earth. Individuals and countries may no longer have the luxury of insulating their perception of the world with self-serving imaginative beliefs that are not congruent with physical reality and science. The repercussions of our technologies are now making the price of acting on inaccurate beliefs greater than ever before.
Image courtesy of Photography by BJWOK at FreeDigitalPhotos.net