There are many interesting parallels to what I am trying to do through the history of science, but perhaps the most interesting (and ridiculous, and frustrating...) is the rearguard battle being fought at the instigation of biblical fundamentalists over the validity of the science behind the facts and theories of the origins and evolution of life on Earth.
Here is a subject where a certain sect of a particular religion have decided to dig in their heels and refuse to consider that the mythological explanations offered by their holy (?) texts are no longer valid explanations of how the universe works. This has happened in the past, with the shift to the heliocentric model of the Solar System, for instance, but never has a similar battle been fought in this way. Huge amounts of energy and time are expended, and one could easily say wasted, by scientists working in these fields finding themselves forced to continuously and redundantly disprove completely inane "theories" (based on the old testament of the bible) about the origins of life (and the universe).
If these arguments had not already been made clearly and concisely, the work would not be redundant, but they have, and so it is. So I feel that a few links to the places on the internet where these things are explained very well are in order, rather than creating yet another place where you can read them.
This is relevant mostly in that the "science" side of what I am doing here will surely come up against the same sort of orthodox blindness and resistance, however it ends up being sorted out, whether along my lines or any possible sort of explanations.
Mr. Wong's excellent pages contain enough interesting links to the TalkOrigins.org site, that I will forgo them here.
Here is a comment made by me, to the author of the above site, 3/28/02.
First let me state that while I am in the middle of a dedicated process of reading the entire section of your web site devoted to the evolution vs. creationism "debate," it is with the usual mix of relief and disgust I have over this battle.
Relief that I am not alone in trying to stay rational and sane in this more and more medieval world, and disgust that the sort of mindset that can produce the oxymoron of "creation science" not only continues ot exist but seems to be thriving and expanding in our time.
I may write you again when I am finished with my reading, but for now I just wanted to mention something brought up by this quote from your reply to Paula Davis:
'Editor's note: in case you're curious, this relates to a field study given the tongue-in-cheek name "neurotheology", which is amusing since empirical study of spiritual experiences is the antithesis of theology. It was pioneered by Dr. James Austin, in a paper called "Zen and the Brain", published by MIT Press in 1998'
Now please bear with me as I try to keep the world of empirical science and transcendant, non-reproducible experience separate while I say this :)
Over the course of a second (or was it third?), and more intense immersion in my own personal "spiritual" path or experience a year or two ago, I decided to try to explore it in a skeptical, clear headed way - that is, while continuing to "experience" the brain dysfunction associated with the states it induced.
I think it is an area that will yield certain interesting truths and facts about the universe and perhaps the more complex field in which it occurs (I am sorry for my phrasing, but of course natural language is almost useless to say thing like this clearly!).
These truths will, of course, by the irreproducible nature of most of the data, be rather thin and general, but I think they do form a ground for interesting exploration - provided those trying to explore them manage to keep an open mind, free of the religious indoctrinations they have been exposed to and with a ear always cocked to using valid scientific method.
I have humorously (I hope!) referred to my little avocation as the development of a "science of transcendence," and it is very interesting to note that parallel developments are taking place in other branches of study, particularly actual, valid sciences. (I am not that careful of a researcher)
That researchers in neurophysiology care enough to study various states of religious ecstacy or transcendance is wonderful, and I wish more people would embark on their personal spiritual paths, their transcendental experiences, without feeling the need to constrain them within the bounds of ancient mythologies...
My ramblings and writings on the topic have been compiled, rather randomly at this point, at www.humanthoughts.org. I may also make use of my reply to you in adding yet another parallel explanatory note to my site.
Also, you can be sure that if I ever go to the effort to create a links page from that site, your work will be on it.
Thanks for a very in-depth, intelligent and well planned exploration of your topic.
PS, I'm getting old, can you make your fonts a bit larger :) ?
© Huw Powell