Science and Religion - the Battle over the 'Time' Axis

Science and Religion - the Battle over the 'Time' Axis

Several centuries back, Galileo received some unwanted publicity by declaring the sun to be at the center of the solar system. In fact, the establishment scholars of his era were so angered that -

In September 1632, Galileo was ordered to come to Rome to stand trial. He finally arrived in February 1633 and was brought before inquisitor Vincenzo Maculani to be charged. Throughout his trial Galileo steadfastly maintained that since 1616 he had faithfully kept his promise not to hold any of the condemned opinions, and initially he denied even defending them. However, he was eventually persuaded to admit that, contrary to his true intention, a reader of his Dialogue could well have obtained the impression that it was intended to be a defence of Copernicanism. In view of Galileo’s rather implausible denial that he had ever held Copernican ideas after 1616 or ever intended to defend them in the Dialogue, his final interrogation, in July 1633, concluded with his being threatened with torture if he did not tell the truth, but he maintained his denial despite the threat.[58] The sentence of the Inquisition was delivered on June 22. It was in three essential parts:

Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to “abjure, curse and detest” those opinions.

He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition. On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.

His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.

We know how the western society evolved since then. Firstly, Galileo’s science got vindicated and his pioneering methods have become the mainstream approach today.

Galileo was one of the first modern thinkers to clearly state that the laws of nature are mathematical. In The Assayer he wrote “Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe … It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures;….”[75] His mathematical analyses are a further development of a tradition employed by late scholastic natural philosophers, which Galileo learned when he studied philosophy.[76] He displayed a peculiar ability to ignore established authorities, most notably Aristotelianism. In broader terms, his work marked another step towards the eventual separation of science from both philosophy and religion; a major development in human thought. He was often willing to change his views in accordance with observation. In order to perform his experiments, Galileo had to set up standards of length and time, so that measurements made on different days and in different laboratories could be compared in a reproducible fashion. This provided a reliable foundation on which to confirm mathematical laws using inductive reasoning.

Galileo showed a remarkably modern appreciation for the proper relationship between mathematics, theoretical physics, and experimental physics. He understood the parabola, both in terms of conic sections and in terms of the ordinate (y) varying as the square of the abscissa (x). Galilei further asserted that the parabola was the theoretically ideal trajectory of a uniformly accelerated projectile in the absence of friction and other disturbances. He conceded that there are limits to the validity of this theory, noting on theoretical grounds that a projectile trajectory of a size comparable to that of the Earth could not possibly be a parabola,[77] but he nevertheless maintained that for distances up to the range of the artillery of his day, the deviation of a projectile’s trajectory from a parabola would only be very slight.

Secondly the center of gravity of economic activity in Europe moved from southern Europe (Catholic areas) to Northern Europe (Protestant areas). The same fault-line is active even today. European countries going bankrupt (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece) were considered to be the core economic area in Galileo’s time.

Fast forward to today. Our society is now partitioned into two large groups. The first among them (‘Christians’) claims to follow religious traditions, whereas the second group (‘Secularists’) claims to follow the ‘scientific traditions’. Among their peers, the members of the second large group consider themselves to be superior, because they supposedly use Galileo’s methods and Galileo won 400 years back. How correct is that claim?

In our view, two large groups mentioned above are equally ‘religious’. It is only the religious battle-front that shifted away from 16th century. To understand that, we need to redefine religion from the current belief of ‘church versus secularists’. That fault-line made sense in 16th century, but not today.

What role does religion play in the society or did in the past? Why do people need religion? As always, humans have limited understanding of nature, and religion fills the hole between what can be scientifically explained and what cannot. In the 16th century, the understanding of space was very limited. Humans had little knowledge about distant parts of the universe or even what is right outside the earth they lived in. They had no mechanism to think about those problems beyond what Aristotle taught them and Church filled the void by incorporating Aristotle’s ideas into its religious teaching. Galileo challenged those notions, and the battle became not only between the physicists like him and church, but also between him and Aristotle, two big contributors to human knowledge. Furthermore, Galileo found it difficult to convince people that earth (and humans) were not special, as a geocentric view of the universe seemed to have assumed.

That argument over space is over, and it is over not only for scientists or secularist, but is also over for church and all other religious institutions. Today’s religious frontier is over time.

The above long introduction is necessary to address a comment from Brian in an earlier commentary on global warming.

Further, your continued exploration in to scientific denialism is being met with continued, increasing resistance from your scientifically literate viewership.

This does not bode well for this blog. I think you need to make a choice here. Continue what you are good at scientifically, or continue to fail in pushing a political agenda that upends entirely your credibility.

Our original purpose of writing here was not only to cover bioinformatics, but also to challenge various religious concepts creeping into science. When we say that, we interpret ‘religion’ broadly as the methods to fill up the void over the time axis. Here are four examples, two from time backward and two from time forward.

A. Intelligent Design

Proponents of intelligent design claim that humans do not know much about how life originated in earth, and it was most likely that an ‘intelligent designer’ built all complex living organisms around us. Despite being able to provide copious evidence in support of evolution, biologists are unable to win the battle, because the biologists are their own enemies. As recent debate over ENCODE project show, the biologists themselves want to believe that humans are superior to other organisms and their complexity is coded into their DNA. Therefore, onions can have plenty of junk DNA, but 80% of human chromosome have some purpose. It is no different from geocentric belief, but in the time dimension.

B. Khazar History

Our coverage of Khazar theory was another example of religious battle over the time axis from distant past. Biologists are unwilling to accept science, when it conflicted with their religious beliefs.

New Study Sheds Light on the Origin of the European Jewish Population

Few Useful Links on Khazar History for Population Biologists

C. Economics

Economics and global warming are two examples of religious battle over the future time axis. We will discuss economics first and global warming in the following section. Economists claim that they can use mathematical models in the same style of Galileo and Newton to predict future, but we consider their approach as unscientific. Time axis is different from space, because experiments cannot be repeated and moreover null experiments cannot be conducted. Here is a good example from genomics.

Economic Impact of the Human Genome Project

The lengthy document claims that $3.8 billion government funded human genome project resulted in $796 billion in economic impact and 310,000 jobs. The document can be best described as a ‘religious’ propaganda masquerading as science, because -

(i) nobody can do an experiment in a parallel universe, where government did not pay for human genome sequencing and see whether the society would have got the same thing done at a lower cost,

(ii) nobody can prove, whether without that $3.8 billion project society would have had more jobs and better economic growth.

Nevertheless, we see ‘scientists’ quote articles like above to extract money from the society.

We figured that various discussions on economics were a bit too distracting for here, and moved them to a separate section.

D. Global Warming

Global warming is another example of religious debate over future time axis masquerading as science. Global warming is an economic forecasting model with three parts -

(i) Over the next five or ten decades, humans (and especially Americans) will continue to produce too much carbon dioxide through their bad driving habits,

(ii) Excessive carbon dioxide will cause earth to heat up,

(iii) Hot earth will cause ecological disaster.

It is mostly ‘religious’ garbage over the future of time axis. We already explained why the economic model is false and can go over it again. None of the A1, A2, B1, B2 etc. scenarios consider global economic depression. On gasoline usage of Americans, you can check the following chart. Americans are using less energy than in 1980 !!

This commentary has two other informative charts on residential energy usage and gasoline usage.

On carbon dioxide trends, you can check this chart -

How is that related to driving or energy usage of Americans?

On relation between carbon dioxide trend and temperature change, please check this chart -

If you are not happy, feel free to download raw data from CRU or UAH and play yourself. We are unwilling to go this far into the forecasting model until it includes a severe economic depression and rapidly falling gasoline usage.

Getting back to Brian’s point about -

This does not bode well for this blog. I think you need to make a choice here. Continue what you are good at scientifically, or continue to fail in pushing a political agenda that upends entirely your credibility.

we have a short response. “Oh yeah?” :)

Written by M. //