Monday, December 6, 2010

Science as Myth Part I of II

 Note: these are sketch notes from my presentation at UUCT. They aren't meant to read like my typical blogs. Some of the below was in my presentation and some of it is clippings from the cutting room floor that I thought were great, but not conducive to my presentation 's thrust. Thus, the below may seem a little scattered.

  • Intro quotes to the topic of science and religion.
    • “I am absolutely convinced hat science is vastly more stimulating to the imagination than are the classics, but the products of the stimulus do not normally see the light because scientific men as a class are devoid of any perception of literary form.” JBS Haldane
    • “The next great task of science will be to create a religion for humanity.” --Lord Morley
    • “New ideas, usually classed as scientific, have permeated a large section of the community and prevented them from belonging to any of the established churches, whose belief in miracles, in revelation, in the inspired authority of the Bible, runs counter to the established truth, as the scientifically trained see it. The problem is to make a religion for these men and women, whose numbers are bound to increase with the spread of education, and who will otherwise be left without a religion, or with one to which they cannot whole-heartedly give their assent. The conflict between religion and science in the last half-century resulted in the complete defeat of religion's claim to impose its view as authoritative on man’s mind, but it did not build up anything for those whom it emancipated. That reconstruction is our problem today.”--Julian Huxley
    • “We can keep from a child all knowledge of earlier myths, but we cannot take from him the need for mythology” Carl Jung

  • Purpose of myth - What's function? Purpose? Why is every religion largely collections of myths? Why is the Bible a story book and not a theological disertation?
    • UNI(one)VERSE(many)
    • Identity - Who am I? Identity supersedes activity. We must know who we are.
    • Worth - is the universe/humanity/I good? Can I trust the universe/humanity? Can I open myself up to loving and being vulnerable others?
    • Awe/Mystery - What is my context? People must have something greater than themselves to worship or we worship ourselves.
      • “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein
    • Sacred/hallowed -
      • What is sacred to you?
      • ‘reverence for life’
    • Morality - How should I relate to others? How should I live? Moral compass to avoid shipwrecking.
    • Evil/Devil - “A movement can exist without a god, but never without a devil. There has to be an enemy to be destroyed." --Tony Campolo
      • Who is our devil?
    • Gratitude - is life worth it? Gratitude is the secret to happiness.

  • “The evolutionary epic is probably the best myth we will ever have.” EO Wilson
    • Why so ineffective then?
    • Why 40% of America not believe?
  • What are ways we tell history of universe poorly?
    • How not to tell:
      • Anti-Gospel - biological history is a history of aggression, dog eat dog, “Struggle for Life” “war of nature, from famine and death” --Darwin , Malthusian, heat death of universe...
      • Facts versus story
        • All we are? 4 nucleotides, 22 amino acids and one millionn billion cells? If so, of course people don't give a flip.
Star Dust - Children of the Cosmos - Our Atomic हिस्टरी

    • For thousands of years we got our mythology, the heavens. Nothing has changed!!
    • Before you were a  twinkle in your mother's eye you were a twinkle in a star!!!
    • The true alchemists: stars!
    • 1% of the static on an old tv set is caused by microwave radiation background noise from big bang
    • Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people.' --Dan Wallach
    • Smile at the person next to you. Think about the awesome fact that the calcium in their and your bones and teeth is formed by the process of nucleosynthesis deep within the core of a star or in a nova event.
    • Press your fingernail and watch the red blood fill your flesh again. Why red? Iron. Same message.
    • Supernova overview: Once iron core, no more fusion fuel - core collapses into neutron star whose gravitation force causes an outer layer collapse at 70 km/s that causes it all to undergo nuclear fusion in a matter of seconds causing a bounce back shock wave making heavier elements and the light of 4 billion suns, or all the energy of the sun’s entire life in a matter of moments at 10k miles per second.
    • Who wearing gold/jewelry? Those heavier metals only formed in super novas.

  • We have right place in galaxy.
    • close in for heavy elements
    • far out for gamma radiation.
  • “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile. The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible, but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence.” Ralph Waldo Emerson in “Nature”
  • “We are the local embodiment of a cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars!” --Carl Sagan on Cosmos series
  • To you ladies, the next time someone asks you how old you are now you have a new response
    • I am 13.7 b y old
  • Eschatology
    • We need to have care in how we speak about death and end times.
    • Resurrection
    • We have our life through the Death of Stars - Connie Barlow
    • Circle of Life
    • Legacy

“Middle World” Dawkins
    • Large Scale - (Pictures below) Earthrise (230k miles away), Mars Lander Pic (about 50ish million miles), Pale Blue Dot picture from Voyager 1 (3.7 billion miles)
    • If the Earth was the size of a basketball:
    • Proxima Cetauri - 4400miles. Driving distance from Tallahassee to Anchorage, AK
    • The Milky Way is about 100,000 light years in diameter. We would have to make our model 100 million miles wide. This means that to make a model of our galaxy where our sun is the size of a basketball, our model would have to reach from the sun to a point some 10 million miles beyond the earth.
    • The edge of the universe, if it's proper to talk about the universe having an edge, is thought to be about 15 billion light years away from us in all directions. Distances this large are incomprehensible. To extend our model to include the entire universe we would need all the space between here and Alpha Centauri

    • “Telescopes are time machines.” Carl Sagan
    • So old that stars as we seem them must look completely different in reality
    • So old in completely different location
  • Huble Deep Space
    • 3,000 galaxies in shot with 100 bil stars each
    • picture size of grain of sand at arm’s length
    • 125 billion galaxies

    • 70,000 million million million stars. That's the total number of stars in the known universe, according to a study by Australian astronomers. It's also about 10 times as many stars as grains of sand on all the world's beaches and deserts. 7 followed by 22 zeros or, more accurately, 70 sextillion
    • When we recognize our place in an immensity of light years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.” --Carl Sagan in The Demon-Haunted World

  • Small
    • If you were to blow up an atom to the size of a stadium the nucleus would be the size of a fly.
    • If an apple was magnified to the size of the Earth, then the atoms in the apple would be approximately the size of the original apple. --Richard Feynman

  • Mysteries Universe - How much we don't know
      • Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth that are dreamed of, or can be dreamed of, in any philosophy.” JBS Haldane

    • 4 Fundamental forces
      • We have no a how the four fundamental fources work. I mean, why don't electrons (negative) and protons (positive) collide? We have no idea!
    • Matter - what is matter made of? What are quarks? Are they made of smaller subatomic particles?
      • Electron spin revolves 6.568*10^15 rev per second at much the speed of light
    • Time - Is it an illusion? Why is that as you approach the speed of light that time slows down?  Why is that massive bodies have slower time nearer to them (in comparison.
    • Space - quantum entanglement - electrons created at the same time separated by hundreds of kilometers behave and spin connectedly. Is space an illusion? Is all matter entangled?

    • Electro-magnetism
      • Light - double slit experiment - two slits - interference patterns - what happen if you shoot one photon through slits? - interference patterns - goes thru 1, none, left, right simultaneously - observe it only goes thru one - knows it’s being watched...

      • If you thought of the electromagnetic spectrum as a movie real running 2,500 miles from Tallhassee to San Francisco, CA, visible light would be one frame on that reel.

      • Close eyes. Every second, about 65 billion (6.5×1010) solar neutrinos pass through every square centimeter on the part of the Earth that faces the Sun. (no charge, no interaction)
    • Darks - expanding at an increasing rate? What is 90% of the universe? We have no freakin' clue.
  • Sun Worship - Children of the Sun - Our Chemical History
      • Pop quiz: What's the closest star to us? THE SUN! Duh!
      • Fusion Solar Power is what the Earth runs off of
      • Did you guys hear the news? Fusion power on Earth has been perfected over the weekend. (Punchline is that fossil fuels are stored fusion power of the sun)
      • Hey, did you guys hear? I just bought a solar powered car that can go 120 miles per hour and accelerates from 0 to 60 in about 6 or 7 seconds. (Punchline is that fossil fuels are stored solar power)
      • Think about this. The Olympics are just a masterful symphony of solar energy being expended.
      • Drinking soda is drinking solar energy (the sugar is stored solar energy).
      • Bite in Steak- stored fusion energy!

    • Potosynthesis
      • Is bombarding photons and exciting electrons to transfer energy.
      • Base of ecology of ecosystem
      • Predators eat herbivores which eat plants which eat sunshine. So, indirectly we all eat sunshine!!(being overly simplistic)

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“For the first time in human existence, we have a cosmic story that is not tied to one cultural tradition, or to a political ideology, but instead gathers every human group into its meanings...We are now creating the common story which will enable Homo sapiens to become a cohesive community. Instead of structuring American society on its own human story, or Soviet society on its own human story and so on, we have the opportunity to tell instead the cosmic story, and the oceanic story and the mammalian story, so that instead of building our lives and our society’s meanings around the various human stories alone, we can build our lives and societies around the Earth story.” 
--Brian Swimme from “The Cosmic Creation Story” in The Reenchantment of Science

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