Evolution and cosmic purpose  

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Reader’s Opinions

FANTASTIC! That is all I can say.

Yours is the greatest single site I have ever come across relating to Scientific Metaphysics. Asimov himself would even be proud. I am sending your link to everyone I know. Personally, I avoid these topics because it is an insurmountable feat to argue a complete, educated, and convincing analysis, but you appear to have done it and then some.

Leonard

I was a full-time Christian until I realized that Christianity is not the truth. In my search for the real truth, I discovered ‘Shattering Sacred Myths’. I have read the book and it has really helped me to grow in my search. I could not agree with it more.

Robert

I loved the excerpts from the book, and have already ordered it from Amazon. Thanks for a great website. As an avowed Apathetic Agnostic I appreciate what you are doing.

Doug

I applaud your effort to bring the world closer to modernity - kicking and screaming, as they inch toward accepting the reality in which they lead their daily lives.

Marc

Although I do not agree with absolutely everything said on this site, I find it to be very well presented, and it is kindred in spirit to my own thinking and writings on the subject. I am sure that this is an idea that will grow.

My personal choice has been to accept and practice a local religion (even though I am an Atheist) and work from within to help the religion develop in the right direction, because one of the greatest powers of religion lies in its ability to create a community.

Maybe this philosophy could lead to the start of a new community.

Ian

I do not believe there is a cosmic plan, but I agree that it should not be dismissed without enquiry. If there is any evidence for such, I would like to know it.

Reality check

Very good stuff!

However you give a more humanitarian explanation for the invention of the Jesus myth, I pose a far more mercenary pretense, but I agree your hypothesis has social and historical merit.

James
Primus Apostolus ab ho Antichristos et Scientificus Principia
Antichrist.net

A very interesting and informative site.

As a Buddhist I would like to point out that there is no belief in reincarnation, it is not a Buddhist teaching.

‘Rebirth’ is the Buddhist teaching, and although it is commonly misunderstood as being the same as reincarnation, the theory behind it is very different. Reincarnation believes that a soul migrates from lifetime to lifetime, whereas Buddhism has no belief in an eternal soul.

Cheers! And best wishes
Sooz
TalkParanormal.co.uk

I have read the Evolutionary Metaphysics book, and it left me wanting to know more.

Mike

Your website is rubbish. Utter rubbish. It is worthless nonsense.

Anonymous

Questions and Answers

Question ... Your book makes a lot of sense, but how can I believe that your version of "the truth" is any closer to reality than the supposed truths written down in the Bible? Just like the Bible, you offer no proof for what you believe, and so it is hard to know if you are any closer to the truth than the Bible is.

Answer ...

The main aim of this book and website is simply to provoke people into thinking more deeply about their existence. Given the state of the world these days, there is a need for people to be more thoughtful and contemplative.

There are many good scholarly writings that attempt to prove a particular version of history. However, trying to prove any interpretation of history in a way that people will believe seems to be very hard to do. Like in the case of the Bible, it is often not a matter of what can be proven but rather what will be believed. And so rather than trying to prove anything, we have instead attempted to isolate what we consider to be the best scholarly writings and make their explanations as clear and easy to read as possible, so that they might be more acceptable to a wider audience.

At the end of the day, however, it is up to each reader to decide whether our analysis suits them. So far the response has been good. We seem to be successfully developing a community portal where like-minded people are finding comfort in knowing that there are other people who share their rational perception of reality.

Question ... Who is responsible for this website?

Answer ...

Shattering the Sacred Myths is a collaborative effort by a handful of scientists and engineers. The website and the book will continue to undergo further refinement in response to reader feedback.

Any paragraph or sentence that can be proven to be unreasonable, unscientific, or just plain incorrect will be changed. However, what is unreasonable or unscientific for one person might be unquestionably true for another.

In some cases, it may not be possible to know the truth, and a choice might need to be made between competing speculations.

Whenever there is a dispute, the interested parties will be invited to submit their arguments. Members of our academy will then be asked to vote, and our board of directors will selectively interpret the results.

Criticisms and Responses

Criticism ... Science requires that you do not make assumptions.

You can put forward a hypothesis that intelligent life evolved according to some kind of cosmic plan, but then you have to come up with evidence to prove it.

People have long searched for patterns in the unfolding of history, but no overall plan has ever been found, or at least none that has received widespread agreement as far as I am aware.

Response ...

The underlying theme of this website is that in a naturalistic universe, there are two very real possibilities - the possibility that existence has a purpose, and the possibility that it does not - and there is no substantial evidence to support either of these two possibilities.

You might have an opinion based on your intellectual instincts, but opinions do not count as evidence. Some people claim that probability favors ‘no purpose’, but such claims have no real meaning, because both possibilities are equally valid, and for many reasons, probability does not really apply.

The vast majority of the world’s population believe in purpose, and it could be argued that in order to argue against them, it is up to non-believers to prove that there is no purpose, which they have not done, and this failure could be contributing to the continuing strength of religion.

If you cannot prove that there is no purpose, then the next best thing might be to scientifically formalize the possibility that there is a purpose, because if you don’t, then the traditional religions will continue to dominate this arena.

We argue that it is now imperative to rid the world of religious superstition, and this can be done by taking ownership of the ground on which it grows, by scientifically formalizing the possibility of purpose.

Doing this would require a major scientific paradigm shift. Many kinds of theories, particularly social science theories, cannot cover both possibilities, because ‘purpose’ implies that consciousness has ‘inherent value’, whereas purposelessness refutes the concept of any inherent values in this universe.

And while most academics tentatively claim to reject the possibility of purpose (or just ignore the dichotomy) many social and political theories are a philosophically unsound mishmash of both purposelessness and inherent human value. In order to untangle the mess, you really need to separate the two without throwing either away.

Criticism ... I am a university professor with a lifetime of experience in comparative religion. Your suggestion that the rise of Christianity resulted in Europe’s descent into a dark age was rejected by respectable academics long ago. Many of your other claims are also offensive and academically unacceptable.

Response ...

Thankyou for your opinion. University professors were amongst Galileo’s harshest critics, condemning him for challenging the teachings of Aristotle. And Einstein struggled against academic conservatism for years before his theories were finally embraced.

The academic world can sometimes be a social force that acts to oppose innovative ideas, subjecting them to years of condemnation before they finally gain acceptance. While it is true that this kind of academic conservatism plays a vital role in keeping bad ideas out of the education system, it is also true that it acts to censor many politically and religiously sensitive truths.

Old professors often go to their grave holding on to their old ideas. New ideas are generally only absorbed by young and impressionable students. Academic thinking changes very slowly, only after those students who were exposed to new ideas themselves become professors.

Right now, there is a generation of future professors who are being radicalized by what they are reading on the Internet. And once they take control of the universities, there will be a revolution in social science that will leave most of the old social theories dead and buried.

Criticism ... By removing your sections on Islam while keeping your criticisms of Christianity, your website appears to be unfairly biased. It almost appears as though you to have no mentionable criticism to make about Islam. Are you afraid of offending Islamic extremists?

Response ...

The sections on Islam were initially removed from this website, along with much of the political analysis. These sections were only available in the printed book.

At first, we considered it to be socially irresponsible to show these sections on our website. We had no intention of fuelling the fires of hatred, and we did not want to be accused of provoking controversy in order to attract attention.

However, because of the continued worsening of the world political climate, we now feel a sense of social responsibility that is greater than any fear that might have once restrained us.

Criticism ... In your chapter called "Analysis of ancient beliefs", you suggest that Chinese pictograph writing causes poor thinking. This smacks of prejudice and it belittles the vast depth of Asian culture.

Response ...

Nowhere in the book does it say that pictograph writing causes poor thinking. It says that the limited number of recognizable picture characters limits the ability to communicate complex concepts. In any case, the book is called "Shattering the Sacred Myths". That includes both the traditional religious myths and the modern academic myths.

The postmodern "cultural relativist" perspective is that all human languages must be said to be of equal value in order to discourage cultural discrimination. This is a very worthy ideal, but it is really just another academic myth invented to uphold a postmodern anti-discriminatory morality.

A more objective understanding is to admit that some forms of communication will be more efficient than others at expressing complex concepts. Cultures with more efficient communication techniques will have a distinct advantage. Differences in the efficiency of written languages are observable over the history of cultural evolution, and the inefficiency of pictograph writing is not difficult to demonstrate.

It is widely acknowledged that traditional Chinese culture did not easily accommodate modernization. This seems to be one of the reasons why the Maoists tried to completely replace it. Chinese schoolchildren now learn both Chinese and English, and China is expected to gradually transform into an English speaking country. Of course, this kind of cultural evolution can be interpreted in any number of ways.