Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Religion of Science

Science is a religion. It explains our origins, it places us in the larger scheme of things, and it seeks communication with other life forms that are more developed than us and that come from far away places. In one aspect, it is definitely humbling to recognize our smallness, another characteristic shared with religion. These are the perceivable positives of this form of scientific inquiry.

However, there are also negatives to it. The flipside of scientific advancement allows us to believe that we are everything, in spite of our smallness. The combination of believing that we are miniscule with the perception that we are everything carries the very imaginable reality of divorcing us from the notion that we are obligated to an absolute notion of right and wrong that must be pragmatically applied in every place that the human adventure takes us. If we are small, then we are here together on our little marble of dirt that we call Earth, responsible to each other, but if we are everything, we are alone, and we can do whatever we want. Some people, such as me, call this a divorce from G-d, while others call it a divorce from conscience; they are the same thing. In that world, values, morality, and objective truths will be pushed aside to make room for the ventures of scientific discovery. It would be unwise to live in a world where absolute morality informed by the reality of G-d and scientific advancement become two civilizations at odds with each other; human history has been a testament to what happens when civilizations clash.

The Light and Dark of Science

This is the dark side of science, whereas the light side of science cures illness, provides nourishment, teaches us how our bodies and the world around us works, etc... The light of science shines only when science reflects on the boundaries of human experimentation and on its practical moral implications. I would even go as far as to say that the best scientist is the one that will consider these realities as a part of his or her scientific discovery and not as an extraneous factor.

The Science of Religion

If science is a form of religion, a belief system, then it can be said that religion is a form of science, a form of understanding. Science studies "how" and religion studies "why?" Religion understands and believes that every question can be answered by asking "how," so similarly, science should embrace the notion that every question can also be answered by asking "why?" Take the Creation account of Genesis for example, which lays down "the West's" fundamental understanding of human nature with such clarity that it would be in the bounds of reason for the intellectual to believe that it really happened. Anyone who has felt a loss of control in the face of temptation can testify to what both Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden when tempted by the snake. Only after their deed were they painfully aware of the consequences of their actions, at which point the effect had already become clear.

Let us consider the verse from Genesis that says, "A man shall leave his father and mother, cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh." In the movie "Jerry Maguire," in the infamous Oscar-winning scene, Tom Cruise looks at Rene Zellweger and says, "You complete me." Indeed, we feel that our mate is our half, a common vernacular in society, which of course, however, is trumped by my mom's famous statement that was passed down from her mother, "Every pot has its lid." I also personally like the statement, "The man marries up."

Back to the point, is it any wonder why a relationship between a man and a woman, without other partners, are the best-functioning relationships? Consider this. Human consciousness is divided into "us" and "them." When it comes to human relationships, we see the same thing occur, except in the singular form. We have "you" and "I," there is never a "he" or a "she." That's why they are grammatically titled "first person" and "second person," while "he" and "she" are "third person," and we know that the third person is always the odd man (or woman) out. "You" and "I" is the most intimate pair that can be created. Looking at it from a conceptual standpoint, when one person refers to another as "you," the "you" is the sole individual being addressed, and only by one one other individual, the "I." Adversely, the "I" has her or his sole attention on the "you," and when the you responds, it is only to the "I." What we get is a pair, or bond, or unit that is made up of two conscious individuals; to refer to an additional "he" or "she" would dramatically cut away the level of intimacy that exists between the two individuals. In other words, the interaction between two people is far more intimate than the relationship between three or more people, which is why romances work best in pairs and not three of a kind, four of a kinds, or full houses.

Two is the Happiest Number that I've Ever Seen - When it Comes to Relationships, That Is

Looking at this biologically, should we not see wisdom of design in that "you" and "I" is the most intimate setting and that humanity comes in two sexes? If polygamous relationships were the way to go, then perhaps humanity would be made up of three or more sexes, of which one individual from each sex would have to be present in order to complete maximum intimacy or procreation. The point is that when we are in a relationship, we only need the other person to make us feel complete and happy. Imagine it the world had three sexes, being around the other person would still make an incomplete unit, and we would need to wait for the third. But with two, all you need is the other person. It is interesting to consider that while monogamy means to be with only one other person, that when two people are monogamous, they become one. This is the way the Hashem says it should be in Genesis when He says, "A man shall leave his father and mother, cleave unto his. wife, and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).." Polygamy does not yield the same conceptual nor pragmatic integrity; "poly" means "many," and when many people come together (in a romantic or sexual sense), they do not become one. In fact, many studies on polygamy show that there is almost always a person in the polygamous relationship that feels left out or misused. Even most animal species function monogamously.

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