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Science and our Beliefs (Understanding Ourselves)

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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, the probability is greater that the beliefs and the choices we make, will result in our objective to create 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. These are often not representative of the "physical reality" that we live in. These beliefs can 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 reality.

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 may also 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, such as the laws of gravity, 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 then become a part of our daily lives so that we can 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". It is just 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 in 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. We discussed how cultural beliefs come to be, how they are, or how they will change in the future. I mentioned that not too long ago I had heard in the news that a village in India killed 5 women because they were believed to be witches. I have to say I was taken aback when the woman opposite me said "How do you know they were not witches?" That is the end of the story my 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. It is hard to fathom 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 our 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. This 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. The laws of science help 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 our physical world.

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Some of the common sciences are mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. As an example, in order to predict the weather, we use satellites to gather data on the movement of the clouds. We then combine this data with more climate information such as temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, and so on. We 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 so that we can make predictions. It 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 analyse 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, that 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 how asteroids or how solar radiation may affect us with science. As we continue to gather data in the future, we may be able to gain a more accurate estimate as to how much human beings are responsible for climate change. The value of science I think should never be underestimated.

Regardless of how useful science can be, it is just another way of interpreting the world and creating our beliefs. The difference between scientific beliefs, and other types of beliefs that we use to interpret the physical world, 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 prove to be 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 to remain open minded, and convey the idea that we simply interpret the world based on consistency of patterns. The laws of science, at least in the existence that we understand, are consistent 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 tarot cards, astrology, or the religions that they have come to know. There are hundreds of different religions comprised of beliefs that vary in countless 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 one of those killed because they were thought to be a witch, they might have second thoughts as to whether to so lightly accept that witches exist.

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We often discriminate between each other because of our race or colour, but are the actions we take against each other based on skin colour 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 aggressive humans can be due to our conflicting beliefs, without first finding some common ground to interpret the world.

I have mentioned just how infinitely diverse our beliefs can be. It may seem 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 to be 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 then they 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 end result 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 specific beliefs if there are no consequences. For example, if one were to believe that after they die they will come back as a hummingbird, then since there would be 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 that we live in a world with such diverse beliefs.

On the other hand, if there are consequences to incorrect beliefs, which is usually the case, then it does matter what we choose to believe. If, for example, you believe that you can cure someone's cancer by waving your hand over that person, then so be it. The problem is in the consequence. The end result 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 that are 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. Science enables us to establish beliefs that will help us avoid the 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 necessary component in world education. In a world with technologies that impact us more and more, we are bound to face significant negative consequences if our beliefs cause us to make poor choices regarding the welfare of Life and Earth.

Science enables us to see beyond the small circles of our lives

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 in such a philosophy was that individuals might learn to look outside of their own small world that they perceive. Only through education can we be taught about the world of which we are a part, 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 had lived in one small town all your life, never realizing that there was an Earth with many continents, many countries, and many cities. Science allows us to leave our small town and explore the world beyond - the world that we could never have imagined.

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.

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Given the sense of vision with which we have evolved, 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 such things 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 a low orbit of 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 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.

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Without science it may be as if each of us lived in that small town all our lives, whereas with science we have been able to learn that there is a world beyond our small town. By using science we can look within our town at a microscopic level further than we ever could see, and at the other side of the spectrum, beyond our small town we can learn about the cities and the continents that also exist. 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 sense of vision that allows us to look at the universe in ways that we could never do otherwise.

The critical key now 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 in the sciences can help each of us gain a much more accurate perspective of the physical world. Science allows us to understand what we are within the universe, and even more importantly, it helps us to establish beliefs that may set us on the path to the best future possible for Life and Earth.

Science, formulas, and beliefs

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The flow of matter and energy demonstrate such significant consistencies that we are able to create formulas measuring the relationship between them. Formulas allow us to measure and categorize the patterns in the flow of matter and energy, thereby allowing us to use these formulas to predict outcomes. Examples of formulas are listed below. It is not important to understand the formulas at this point. One needs only to recognize that the relationships between matter and energy can be measured very reliably by using formulas.

E = mc2 (Energy = Mass x Speed of light squared)
This famous equation simply states that energy equals the mass multiplied by the speed of light squared. The speed of light is generally considered constant at 300,000 kilometers/second or 186,000 miles/second.

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 to 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 very accurate beliefs about the physical world around us. Engineers can use formulas to understand how to create a building and know in advance how to construct it so that it will be as solid as 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 that occur when we combine various elements in different ways.

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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, where 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”, Zeus 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 preceding example to explain thunder, could be applied to two individuals with different beliefs. 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 determine which one is right or wrong? 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? Were the irregularities that the villagers may have seen, caused by 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.

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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 known universe, 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 in science, we tend to gravitate to the beliefs that help us predict most accurately. This is especially important when the consequences of our beliefs 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 each other, especially if they are not based on scientific laws. This results in many of the conflicts that arise between us. By ensuring that the world is educated in science, which is probably the most accurate 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.

Science, probabilities, and beliefs

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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. In that section I suggested that the universe may have unfolded from the "Big Bang". This was compared to a person taking their first shot to break the balls on a billiard table. Following the first shot comes an infinite number of other shots where matter and energy change, but each shot is a direct function of the shot before, right from the beginning of the universe. I propose that, if this is true, then just as we know the sun will rise tomorrow, events in our physical reality are imminent. For example, depending on the movement of the clouds on the planet, the temperature and the winds and the rain on the planet will behave in a very specific way. Similarly, no matter what we do, tomorrow the moon will be at a specific location in the universe. 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 also easily 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.

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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 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 the beliefs we choose to accept and live by.

Let's now take an example where you and I have a contest. We will both try to predict whether someone we know named John, will drink over 4 glasses of water tomorrow. He rarely drinks that much water, so you say the probability 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 John will be going for breakfast with my brother who insists on eating spicy food. Further, I know that tonight the water is turned off at John's home and he 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 John does drink over 4 glasses of water tomorrow.

In the previous example, I have tried to make a few points. First, is that, at least in the physical reality that we live, the future is predetermined. Second, probabilities are our subjective way of estimating the future, or whether any belief may indeed be true or not. Third, accurate and relevant data is critical for our subjective estimates. Using the data properly can vastly improve our probability estimates, as it did when I tried to predict whether John would drink 4 glasses of water. Finally, our probability estimates of beliefs often vary a great deal between us.

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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 effect us, almost all would agree that we will fall if we step off the edge of a cliff. As a result, we assign it a probability of 100%. Since we all acknowledge that there is a severe consequence, the resulting choice we make 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 predetermined. 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 to leave. The measure of the accuracy of the belief as to whether one chooses 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 the historical information in the region. This enables us to make a fairly precise probability estimate as to whether or not it will erupt. This might enable 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 collected 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 then accept the evidence and flee, if there were still time to do so.

It seems that with science the only thing we really need to do is understand all the data we can gather regarding matter and energy in the universe, then 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 certainly have done well at understanding the relationships between matter and energy with the use of science. In turn, science has enabled us to create our technological advances. We are getting better and better at understanding the physical universe with science, and better and better at rearranging matter and energy to create technologies that 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, and to having our beliefs become more accurate. This process of improving the accuracy of our beliefs was shown in the example I gave on Galileo. He had explained that the Earth was not the centre 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, hence allowing us to better understand the universe.

Each step toward understanding the flow of matter and energy improves our ability 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.

Non-Scientific Beliefs

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Scientific beliefs based on data about physical reality are not the only beliefs 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. Let's now 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 as to the number of beliefs we can imagine. Some 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 thoughts within the physical universe in which we live. Who is to say whether after we die that we will become reincarnated into another creature, evolve to a greater state, or that we will be taken through the gates into Heaven? The only thing we can say, is that there seems to be inadequate scientific evidence supporting that such scenarios will exist, yet there is also no way to confirm that they will not occur. Given that such beliefs cannot be validated in the physical world in which we live, and such beliefs can also bring great pleasure in the physical world that we live in, we find that non-scientific beliefs 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 thought into the creative world of our imaginations where we extrapolate beliefs, the world gets very complicated, and the potential for conflict over our diverse beliefs increases. We find that cultures evolve 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?", "Where are we going?, and "What is life like after death, if there is life after death at all?" There are so many beliefs that unfold in order to answer our endless questions. This leaves us open to limitless suggestions or answers that might make some kind of sense. After so much searching, we become so exhausted that we latch onto the best ideas possible in order to move on with our lives. These beliefs that we hold so tightly, and live by, also affect our choices. 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 are consequences.

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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 their own 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 a good idea 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 deploy their quantum nuclear weapons, believes that the world is corrupt. He believes that everyone in the world upon their deaths will be reborn on another planet in another galaxy. They will live in peace and live happily forever. Would you want this leader, based on his belief, to activate the weapons in his country? Would you want the leader to impose the consequences of his 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. The example I have given implies that such a leader might activate their weapons due to non-scientific beliefs, but by simply having such weapons, there could also be an accident that unleashes such power.

It seems clear that the process of countries exploring and advancing such 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 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. They can impact Life and Earth more and more. It is merely a matter of degree to which the above quantum nuclear weapons might happen. We are currently at 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 represent such a threat to Life and Earth. This collective and preemptive action by the countries of the world is now showing itself in 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.

Some Final Words About Science and Beliefs

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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. It allows us to establish 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, that if the beliefs of individuals and countries do not accurately represent the physical reality we live in, the results of our actions based on such beliefs may not be what we desire.

I again propose that a global education system (GES) 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.

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