Monday, January 10, 2011
I spent pieces of today in a debate with someone I didn't know. I wrote the following to explain my beliefs to her. I admit I plagiarized myself a little bit (using bits of things I posted on a message board), but some things I think I said right the first time so I didn't need to explain them a different way.
I see the universe as divine in itself, without the need for a higher power. We are only at the zygote state of what we know in science, but that doesn't mean what we know is wrong. Newton's theories are technically wrong, but they still apply to certain problem scales. We modify and move on. Nothing in science is absolute because we know that there is more than what we are seeing. We strive to find out what that more is, and we find it, sometimes slowly and methodically, and sometimes through epiphany. We do not assume that what we know now is all there is.
No matter how advanced our human science gets, we still won't know everything. Particles react in strange and sometimes unpredictable ways and you have to keep breaking them down further and further to see what is going on underneath. We used to think that protons and neutrons were fundamental particles, but now we know that they aren't. They are made up of quarks, which are the only known particles to experience all four fundamental forces (strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravitational). In quantum physics, you can keep looking and looking, but you keep finding that there is always more to see. Complexity and perfection. Love is the gravitational attraction between two bodies, and it, along with duct tape, holds the universe together.
There is a lot of perceived chaos in the universe, but also balance. Cause and effect balance out into a teetering stability. An outside reaction tips the balance, and what looks like chaos is just another effect. Many religious people look at the universe and believe there is more -- heaven and hell and some form of afterlife. I look at the universe and think "This is all there is, it is more than enough, and it is magnificent." I see heaven in the formation of a new star and the birth of an otter, hell in a volcano destroying an island and a supernova consuming orbiting planets.
My moral code is simple -- If what you are doing hurts yourself, another person, an animal, or the world around you, then it is wrong and you shouldn't be doing it. I respect life in all forms and try not to leave a detrimental impact on my surroundings. I am trying to leave my world a better place than it was when I came into it. There is such beauty in the world, but it is often overlooked in the course of being human.
My beliefs are dynamic. I believe that bosons are not subject to the Pauli exclusion principle, but I am open to a theory that proves something else. Everything proven has the potential to be disproven, but that doesn't mean that everything we know now is incorrect. The universe is a vast and strange place. As for a higher power, I do not believe in one. Nature is all the power I need to believe in, and nature is not a sentient, omniscient, or omnipotent being. Anything I don't know, I try to learn more about. I open my mind to epiphany, to new possibilities and ideas. That inner growth is very important to who I am. Nature is my temple and science is my translation.