Am I doing the right thing?

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homegrown
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Am I doing the right thing?

Post by homegrown »

No-one else seems to appreciate the value of a scientifically valid understanding of reality. Even those who claim to value science - do not see the madness of human affairs conducted in relation to religious, political and economic ideologies that are not true. It's been a difficult journey - for I was born in ignorance and naturally adopted the ideas of those around me, and only later came to realize the insanity of those ideas. Now I'm profoundly alone. It's difficult sometimes to justify recommending these ideas to others. I know first hand the cruelty of disenchantment. But the life of the species is at stake. How can I do other than - at least, register the knowledge, that others can freely choose to listen or not?

I do not think the following facts and implications can be faulted:

1. Human beings evolved from animal ignorance into human knowledge over time.
2. Human beings formed societies long before they came into scientific knowledge.
3. Science was first supressed - and later employed in the service of ideological power.
4. Acting upon falsity - within a causal reality, is counter-productive.
homegrown
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by homegrown »

14 views but no replies. I won't pretend I'm not disappointed. Do you understand what I'm getting at here? Religious, political and economic ideologies are just made up - whereas science is objectively and necessarily true. Surely then science should be our holy book, our law, our basis for the distribution of wealth, health, education and so forth.

Ought from is - I know and disagree. Sound moral judgment must be informed by valid knowledge, and thereafter - it's no less legitimate to derive values from truth than from a fantastic misconception of reality.

I'm not an idealist. I'm not saying we should start again from scratch. But accepting a scientific understanding of reality in common as a basis to solve energy and climate change is necessary - else the accident of inter-ideologies will necessarily run to a zero probability state.

Do you know it's the answer - but cannot face the truth? It was hard for me too - but fear not. It's only in the gloom of ignorance the shadows loom large. In reality, there's nothing to fear. Humankind is worthy of life, and could make a paradise of this world. Will you not join me?
Impenitent
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by Impenitent »

inductive reasoning is flawed
science is based on inductive reasoning

-Imp
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The Voice of Time
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by The Voice of Time »

homegrown wrote:I do not think the following facts and implications can be faulted:

1. Human beings evolved from animal ignorance into human knowledge over time.
2. Human beings formed societies long before they came into scientific knowledge.
3. Science was first supressed - and later employed in the service of ideological power.
4. Acting upon falsity - within a causal reality, is counter-productive.
1) Although I don't like how simplistic you make it (sounds like you're writing from the 18th century and not the 21st), yes, in general, that's the case

2) Yes

3) That has happened, yes, and still happens someplaces

4) Yes, unless you have big reason to believe that what is thought to be causal reality is in fact wrong
James Markham
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by James Markham »

The thing about the masses, is they like to hear things that mean something to them personaly, so the ideas given forth by religion, that makes every individual feel uniquely placed and special, will always be more appealing to the majority.

With science, and philosophy, it can all seem a little esoteric. And it's not just that, there's also the feeling that even once you've cracked the code of all the vague terminology, the picture painted by science is an emotional vacuum, and people by their very nature are emotional. So in this respect science tells them very little about the things that are important to them, so even if science can divulge why we care so much for our family, in a neurological, electrochemical setting, for the majority of people the explanation will fail to satisfy.

So the way I see it is this, if you seek to understand your own existence in terms of some precise universal mechanics, that's fine. But there is also the consideration that other levels of being are also valid positions to hold, such as the pious religious devotee, or the disinterested philanthropist, or even the superstitious bushman. All of these positions, with their varying degrees of consistency, are valid for as long as they remain maintainable.

So if by your question, you mean are you right to want everyone to except a purely scientific acceptance of their existence, then I think your wrong. I personally have no religious affiliation, but I respect others for their faith, and can also discern little nuggets of truth in most of the popular religious sects. I've also spent a lot of time delving into scientific theory, and for the most part, any real sense I've discovered has been in a abstracted idealistic interpretation of its facts.

So I've now reached the point where my only real hope lies with metaphysical investigations, and I'm not sure if that's really science or religion, I see more as the point where the two meet, where any real progress is made only by considering everything ever thought, touched or desired.

One thing I am sure of, and that's that there won't ever be a paper written that explains my life story, to the point that I'm satisfied to sit back and say,"well that explains it then".
phyllo
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by phyllo »

1. Human beings evolved from animal ignorance into human knowledge over time.
2. Human beings formed societies long before they came into scientific knowledge.
3. Science was first supressed - and later employed in the service of ideological power.
4. Acting upon falsity - within a causal reality, is counter-productive.
1. Animals find food, make shelter, reproduce, some organize into social structures, some navigate vast distances without compass, etc.
They don't appear to be all that ignorant. In fact, animals seem to be better integrated with the biosphere than humans.
2. Depends on what you call scientific knowledge. Is knowing how to make fire, which berries to eat, how to prepare and use hides as clothing ... is that scientific knowledge?
3. Science was always employed where it was judged to be useful or advantageous.
4. How do you know you are acting on a falsity? Do you mean to say that you know what is false and what is true and you intentionally choose the false? Okay, why do people do that? They have some reasons.
homegrown
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by homegrown »

Impenitent.

'Inductive reasoning is flawed
Science is based on inductive reasoning.'

Inductive reasoning is flawed. So is science, flawed. Fortunately scientists know this - and allow for it. I invite you to attempt a scientific paper, and you can hardly fail to notice equivocal language describing tentative conclusions - even where the evidence is all but conclusive.



The Voice of Time,

You agree, but do not seem to understand exactly what I'm saying. Please allow me to explain.

I said: 3. Science was first supressed - and later employed in the service of ideological power.
and you commented: 3) That has happened, yes, and still happens someplaces

It did happen - and characterizes the role of science in society to this day. Galileo developed the argument for establising truth by hypothetico-deductive method, which is to say - testing hypotheses with reference to the evidence of the senses. This was contrary to the thinking of the time; the classical assumption that truth is to be found in the knowledge of ancient authorities. Classical thought is based upon Creation myths at the heart of religions; the idea that God the Creator was omniscient and the source of all knowledge, perfect at the time of Creation, but serially misunderstood by mortal men, ever more so, generation after generation. (see Impenitent's comments above.) The role of the Church therefore, was to preserve knowledge from corruption. The Bible was one such authority; Christianity considering itself through relation to the Jewish Old testement, prior to, and therefore a greater authority than Greek philosophy. In Christian thought, only the Son of God had authority to tell the world, 'I bring you a new way.' Galileo's heresy was to show that the ability to establish truth lies with mortal man in the present time, such that truth was not the preserve of the Church. Hence the significance of recognizing that:

1. Human beings evolved from animal ignorance into human knowledge over time.

We are able to establish truth by reason - and generally, knowledge improves over time. Sadly however, even unto this day - societies in their very structure are classically organized, ruled by hierarchies justified by sacred truths, traditions and established practices it can be fatal to question. Ideally, had Galielo's works not been supressed by the Catholic Church - today we could have government that made decisions about what's best for humankind, based on a scientifically valid understanding of reality. Instead we (still) have governments that act exclusively in the interests of a tiny minority that includes the political class, who own enormous wealth and power - relative to a poor and powerless majority.

James Markham,

Thank you again for a considered reply. Where I've failed in the past to respond in kind, I apologize.

The masses - a term each individual understands as meaning everyone but them; everyone of which would then go on to explain why what the masses think is wrong, but me...I'm the one who has it right. I understand what you say, but how can science mean anything to people personally, if historically, its role has been devoid of meaning beyond its usefulness to ideologies. For example, I accept a scientific understanding of reality - and therefore accept that the world is a single planetary environment and human beings are all members of the same species. That's not easy in a world that seems to me a little like this:

The turquoise people believe they're the chosen ones. They know they are good because they wear pointy hats, and eat jellyfish on toast every thursday afternoon. They hate the flat hatted blue people - and they hate the fruit eating green people. Every right-thinking, turquoise blooded person knows that the blues eat babies and the greens sleep with pigs. A loyal turquoise man would kill any blue or green on sight, though of course, he wouldn't kill a fellow turquoise person - so long as they had their pointy hat on, and not unless they were eating fruit on thursday.

The emotional needs you speak of are socially constructed in the context of just this quality of ideological psychosis. Even so, at minimum I'd suggest, there would be consolation to be found in the idea that one's fellow man, blues and greens alike had a scientifically rational conception of reality. Personally, I find great meaning, hope and solace in a scientific understanding of reality. For instance, mortality. The individual dies while the species lives on. The individual is lent the product of evolutionary struggle and the accumulated knowledge, technology and resources of civilization. From this is infered the obligation to use, and improve upon these gifts - ultimately, to further the survival prospects of the species. In doing so the individual develops themselves, serves society and secures their genetic and intellectual legacy - as part of something greater than themselves.

Instead, the turquoise hierarchy sell a dream of reward in another life for labours here and now; which barely keep the average turquoise housed and fed, while the upper echelons live in idle luxury merely by the virtue of owning everything; and all this continues without any aim or other meaningful justification for serving power and profit than more power and more profit. And the blues the same - and the greens the same, each using science as a tool to threaten mutal destruction. And that's supposed to be emotionally satisfying? I just don't get it. At least science aims to establish truth - from which is derived understanding, as a means to balance welfare and sustainability in the ultimate cause of species survival.

As a philosopher, it's not precise universal mechanics - I think, that's important about science. That's the scientists domian - highly specialized, even myopic focus upon... photosynthesis in unicellular marine organisms, for example, while another scientists focuses upon the electrochemical basis of emotion. I find the mechanics of things quite fascinating, but I understand why you'd say for instance, that the electrochemical basis of an emotion is unimportant to the person feeling that emotion. I'm not suggesting we act like ultra-rational robots, to the exclusion of what makes human beings - people. I'm saying that acting responsibly in relation to scientific truth is necessary to the survival of humankind.

Thus, it's the overall conception of reality made up of all those precise mechanical facts; not the mechanical facts themselves per se. It's a matter of perspective - and I've much more often encountered the other distortion of perspective: that science is useless because it's incomplete, in that it doesn't tell us what religion pupports to know; i.e. the origin of the universe. Then there's quantum mechanics as an objection to causality - when in fact we live in the macroscopic world where causality pertains. I suspect many such confusions wouldn't have arisen in the natural course of events, that didn't in fact occur - had we recognized science as the means to establish truth, and integrated truth into religious, political and economic conduct of human affairs over the course of the past 500 years, whereas instead science was supressed for half a millenia, then used as a tool to achieve ideological power. It's the difference in the mind between a single planetary environment, and a jig-saw puzzle world made up of nation-state shaped pieces, occupied mostly by enemy aliens.

I don't agree that all positions are legitimate that are currently maintained. Oil shiek/baron and/or tsar spring readily to mind as identities that will have to go long before they'll be quite ready to step aside. Otherwise, serving the rational self interests of these ideologically empowered people will have catastophic effects for humankind as a whole. Putting climate change aside, the increasing scarcity of fossil fuels will not make applying alternatives any more economically rational than currently - because everything is mined, processed, manufactured, delivered and maintained using fossil fuels; applying the technology has a price based upon the energy cost. As oil becomes more scarce the cost of applying alternatives will increase, pushed ahead of the oil price, always slightly out of reach. Also, goverments become ever more beholden to fossil fuel interests. Consequently, the more scarce fossil fuels become the harder it becomes to generate the political will, to allocate the resources and apply the technology to overcome them. Now add climate change on top. What if the scientists are right, and extreme weather events costing billions become even more frequent and severe. The oil companies won't pay. It's governments that will weaken - relative to big buisness, that will blindly race to the bottom in pursuit of rational self interest unto the end of the world. By accepting a scientific understanding of reality in common however, it's possible to prove what's necessary to survival - to render a viable energy future legitimate relative to the rational self interests and influence of ideological power.

That so, because I didn't mean ''everyone accept a purely scientific explanation of their existence'' perhaps you might re-consider your assertion that I'm wrong. I personally don't have any great respect for religion in a contemporary context - though I'd acknowledge, firstly that religion has been necessary and beneficial historically, and secondly, that there are many good people alive today who are religious. I still think religion made a mistake not accepting science as the means to establish truth - for it allowed politics and economics to grow up without any formal relation to truth. I think equating spiritual and supernatural is deluded, and that delusion is positively harmful to the individual, to societies thus defined, and to the survival prospects of the species. I'd agree that religious texts have some meaningful content - but this is best understood as man evolving toward understanding, and is not therefore grounds to maintain the legitmacy of religion. I know I don't know if God exists or does not, and feel no great emotional need to decide the question without sufficient evidence. But I do think, if there is divinity of some sort - that we must evolve toward it, to know more, in order to do better, and to be better; not wallow in the same ignorance and filth as our dim distant ancestors.

Thanks again for your comments.

hg.
Impenitent
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by Impenitent »

homegrown wrote:Impenitent.

'Inductive reasoning is flawed
Science is based on inductive reasoning.'

Inductive reasoning is flawed. So is science, flawed. Fortunately scientists know this - and allow for it. I invite you to attempt a scientific paper, and you can hardly fail to notice equivocal language describing tentative conclusions - even where the evidence is all but conclusive.
homegrown wrote:4. Acting upon falsity - within a causal reality, is counter-productive.
but you admit you cannot prove cause... just ignore that falsity?

-Imp
Felasco
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by Felasco »

homegrown wrote:No-one else seems to appreciate the value of a scientifically valid understanding of reality.
Thanks to science we can now destroy human civilization in just a few hours. One bad day, thanks to science that's all it takes, and it's game over. If you want to talk about madness, that's where we might start.

Religion with all it's follies never threatened us to this degree.
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The Voice of Time
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by The Voice of Time »

Felasco wrote:Religion with all it's follies never threatened us to this degree.
I think you are mistaken there. I think there's quite a lot of religious extremists around the world which would've loved to just press a button to wipe out infidels ^^
Felasco
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by Felasco »

The Voice of Time wrote:I think you are mistaken there. I think there's quite a lot of religious extremists around the world which would've loved to just press a button to wipe out infidels ^^
It's science that will give them the button.
James Markham
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by James Markham »

Homegrown, I've read your post a couple of times now, and although I can find no specific point on which I disagree, I still can't really say yes to the main question you ask.

I think the reason for this is that, on the surface, this question,"am I doing the right thing, wanting people to accept a scientific explanation of existence", doesn't sound to unreasonable. It is in fact what I've personally endeavoured to achieve with many of my friends and family. But what I think I used to overlook, and possibly what you underestimate, is the brains natural resistance to the disturbance of its stability. The whole question of science is in fact very deeply philosophical, and most minds are loath to ruminate on such a vast uncertainty.

One thing I think it's important to bare in mind, is that not everyone is the same, people vary widely in their natural inclinations, their motivations, and critically, in the case of your question, their capacity or desire for metaphysical inquiry, and inevitably, when existence is viewed through the critically logical framework of science, it removes the moral comfort of religion. So you could imagine a person who is naturally a pleasant, considerate individual, trying to turn a convict from his life of debauched criminality. Lacking the tools of persuasion available to a priest, god, heaven and the eternal afterlife, he would be reduced to appealing to what? In a world of mechanical science, where is the appeal to emotion, the man would be forced to accomplish a huge task of education, the point of which would be to prove to the other man the benefits he's consideration for others, will ultimately have, not on himself, but on the humanity of which he is a part.

So as I said, not everyone has such a capacity for metaphysical reasoning, and not just that, a lot of minds are strong in the resisting force that brains use to maintain stability. When we look at the underlying mechanisms of the brain, that stop normal individuals from constantly racking their brains with questions about reality, we see there are very dogmatic views, that are rigorously defended, not by any common sense or logic, but simply a blunt refusal by the brain, to accept any disturbance to its stability.

So when you have a mind that is already troubled by questions of existence and meaning, it's a lot easier to convince it of an eternal father that created all life, because that concept is already deeply ingrained as an accepted truth, we all know we was created by our father, and to some degree his word is, or was law. This may in fact be where the concept of god originated from, if not, it certainly made it easier to accept.

So really I think it's a case of allowing people to find comfort, and to find it within the means of their capacity, not everyone is comforted by the implications of science, and to be honest I think this will always be the case.

Personally I think I've created a sort of synergy of science and religion, but the result is necessarily a form of idealism. It works for me, but I wouldn't try to convince my old nan, that strictly speaking, the god of the Old Testament probably doesn't exist, and that rather than meeting her loved ones in heaven, the best she can probably hope for is a bit of a rest in the universal unconsciousness. And really the same applies to a huge portion of humanity, because people need hope, and in a lot of cases that's what they hope for, so just because our views and ideas are different, and of a less spiritual nature, it doesn't mean others shouldn't be allowed the comfort their religion brings.

So I'm afraid the answer is still no, I personally wouldn't attempt to shake anybody in their faith, also, being scientific means accepting the fact that, all said and done, we could be wrong, there may be a god, heaven, angels, and the whole of eternity to realise and forget it again. I would agree there are elements of society that would benifit from a more humane ideology, I just don't know that it couldn't, or shouldn't include some spiritual dimension.
homegrown
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by homegrown »

Phyllo,

1) The hidden tragedy of evolution is death on a scale that's terrible to contemplate. Apparently intelligent animal behaviours are not the consequence of reasoning individuals, but what little remains because by chance, the physiology and instinctual behaviours of the organism allowed its parents to survive the carnage just long enough to breed. As a consequence of intelligence, human beings are not subject to anything like this evolutionary pressure. Thus, you are correct to distinguish between animal and human relations to reality, but what you call integration comes at a very high cost.

2) Again these are clever objections. It's difficult to distinguish in the history of knowledge exactly where practical knowledge tips over into science; however, science seeks to understand why a phenomenon occurs, and to generalize toward universally applicable principles. Thus, while great practical knowledge was owned by hunter-gatherer tribes - hunter gatherers formed societies, and hypothetic-deductive method came long after that. The point I was trying to make here was that societies are founded upon common myths. That so, global society could be bound by common acceptance of scientific truth.

3) I do not accept that is so. Electrolysis for instance, passing an electric current through water to produce hydrogen fuel, was practically employed to heat and light a high school in Denmark in 1850. Climate change theory has been around since the 1950's, and was entirely uncontraversial when employed to explain the unexpectedly high surface temerature of Venus. When applied to fossil fuel use here on earth however - half a century of political inertia was followed by mass hysteria and deliberate attempts to discredit the science by George Bush Jnr's administration. Still a million cars sit nose to tail, pumping carbon into the sky for 2 hours around sunrise and sunset everyday, in every city right around the globe. I was born into a world threatened with nuclear anihilation - that doesn't have a viable energy future. No, I cannot agree. Science is ignored, abused, and technology is misapplied for the sake of ideological considerations.

4) Acting on falsity. Consider for instance nation-states gathered for a climate change summit - that year after year ignore what's technologically possible, but instead forge economic devices like carbon taxes and carbon credits to justify continuing much as they are, while profiting from mainpulating the market. They may be acting in their national interest, and in their economic interests - but the nation state is not a real thing, and money is not a natural object. National and economic interests therefore are fictional; the logic of ideological misconceptions of reality.

If they agreed to act solely on the basis of what's scientifically true, the energy crisis and climate change would be easy enough to solve. I suspect the heat energy of the earth itself is the nearest - and most thermodynamically efficient large source of energy. A ball of fire thousands of miles deep, geothermal heat could supply us with effectively limitless energy. Converted into hydrogen fuel - which burns cleanly, this in turn would enable us to desalinate water to irrigate deserts - rather than fish the oceans bare and burn down forests to grow food. Thus, we could increase human welfare while reducing the pressure of human population on the natural environment - supporting massive population going forward, within the bounds of environmental sustainability. Instead we are looking at running out of oil, and threatened with civilizational collapse - nation states nuking eachother to oblivion.

Just in the past ten years the global economy has teetered on the brink because of 10 million bad mortgages sold to Americans who couldn't afford them. There are 7 billion people on earth - and capitalism nearly collapsed because 0.000017% of people couldn't afford their houses? This is not a robust system. It will not withstand or empower us to cope with a coincidence of a global energy crisis and climate change. We need to recognize scientific truth as owning greater political legitimacy than ideology.
homegrown
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by homegrown »

James Markahm,

I'm writing off the cuff, in the pub after a few beers so please don' expect anything like the intellectual consistency of considered, and reconsidered writing. After eight years trying to put an argument across I'm sure is intellectually correct - I don't underestimate the brains tendency to stability. People think they're right - and tend to reject any argument outright that doesn't agree with their pre-conceived ideas. Writing here I might have hoped to encounter an open mind or two - but no such luck. Nonetheless, I continue - fishing with dynamite. I asked the question - fair enough, but think I'm right and people should take notice. I could be moved from that point of view but telling me I'm wasting my time because people are intellectually stubborn isn't news to me.

Why be good? Because otherwise you'll go to jail, and take it form me, it's dirty and boring.

The task of education is no more huge that the ideological indoctrination that currently takes place.

From my point of view the problem is this. I know humankind is headed for extinction, why - and how to prevent it. I assure you I've appealed to the great and good, and have received the stock 'thank you for your interest' in return. Okay then, appeal to the masses, but on the whole they're to thick to understand or want to know.

Comfort, hope? The idea of eternal life is horrifying. A thousand years, 10 thousand years, 100,000 years, 1000,000 years, 10 million, 100, million, a billion years, 10 billion, a hundred thousand billion years....eternal life??? Is this what you mean by spiritual - as in insane? maybe humans are insane - and don't want sanity.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Post by Immanuel Can »

I do not think the following facts and implications can be faulted:

1. Human beings evolved from animal ignorance into human knowledge over time.
2. Human beings formed societies long before they came into scientific knowledge.
3. Science was first supressed - and later employed in the service of ideological power.
4. Acting upon falsity - within a causal reality, is counter-productive.
1. Evolution of a physical kind is a historical hypothesis, and can only be confirmed by historical evidence that justifies it. Things like the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record and the irreproducibility of evolutionary mutation, to say nothing of the relevant scientific critiques mounted by both I.D. theory and atheism (see Nagel, for example) should give us pause before concluding physical evolution is an inevitable fact: there's more work to be done here. As for the idea of moral evolution (i.e. that the human race is "getting better" over time) there is no evidence to support that conclusion and a lot to challenge it. For example, we killed more human beings in the last century than over all of previous history combined. If we're morally "progressing" at all, the evidence is yet to appear, and we'd be wise to give it more time before daring such a claim.

2. Of course. But what would we make of that fact?

3. Scientific method was the invention of Francis Bacon in the 17th Century. Before that we have technologies and inventions, along with various kinds of traditions of knowledge, but not the thing we call "science" today. We can see the difference this makes from the fact that the Industrial Revolution follows hard on the heels of this discovery. Truth of all kinds is often suppressed, both by secular and religious authorities. Whoever has power at the moment has an incentive for either manipulating or suppressing truth in order to hold that position. It has to do with human nature in general, not with religion in particular. The best propagandists and manipulators of the last century were secular.

4. Correct, I believe. Lies of any kind always take a toll. Reality does not yield to fantasies, no matter how fervently we may hold them. There is no simple answer here: a person isn't truthful merely because he carries the name "scientist" or "philosopher." He/she may be, but he/she may not be. We all have reasons for wanting particular things to be true; and if we currently hold any beliefs worth having, we ought to be reluctant to yield them up without good evidence. But that's the difference -- truth-seekers change their minds in the face of sufficient evidence or grounded reasons; the self-deceived do not.

Hope that helps.
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