Would A Scientist Lie To You ?

dishonest_scientistsScience has attained a position in modern culture that approaches what was formerly reserved for religion. Many people would thank God for that turn of events but most of the scientists, good “priests” of the new “religion”, would caution the God-thanker against unscientific thinking.

If that little scenario seems a bit convoluted, the actual situation in science-at-large is much more distorted.

Before launching into a case-in-point, I want to float an analogical situation to ease our approach to some extremely tangled territory:

You’re just cruisin’ along, doin’ your thing in life, when a rival you didn’t even know you had starts to spread a rumor that you’re a sex abuser. The first you hear of it is during a conversation at the next table in the café. It’s about whether the police should use entrapment to find sex abusers and it’s definitely loud enough to make you listen.

Certain details of some recent case start surfacing and you begin to realize that these people are talking about a man who’s currently being investigated for his activities who sounds like it might be you—too many little details, no name, but enough circumstantial evidence to deduce that these people are discussing You!

This kind of rumor-mongering doesn’t happen just in cafés; it’s present in business, political, and religious communities, too. The point I want to make is how hard it can be, once a rumor has circulated enough to gain currency, to disprove it, no matter how many facts you have at your disposal. Shades of Lenin and the Big Lie…

Back to the scientists.

A recent news buzz was created by an extremely expensive collection of scientific equipment—the Large Hadron Collider. This particle-smashing machine was built by tax-payer money but the people who’s pockets were emptied haven’t been given the whole truth…

An entertaining yet scientifically weak article in The New York Times, Gauging a Collider’s Odds of Creating a Black Hole, discusses some apparently alarming aspects of the risks scientists create with their expensive experiments. The problem with the article and most of mainstream science is that the science being done isn’t as rigorously honest as one might imagine it should be.

What some folks would call a fringe-group (a group that has successfully predicted what many recent spacecraft have recorded, things that have the mainstreamers running back to their drawing-boards) recently posted an article by Jeremy Dunning-Davies, senior lecturer in physics at the University of Hull and fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Dr. Dunning-Davies discusses the alarm produced by the switching on of the Hadron Collider, then proceeds to give an acute analysis of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics (not  horribly technical) and says something very interesting for a scientist:

“Science should be studied with a totally open mind and any advances should be examined in a like manner. Surely the aim of any scientific investigation is to seek the truth? Probably mankind will always be found wanting intellectually and any solution to a problem will be no more than an approximation to the real truth, but efforts must continue in all areas to find that elusive complete answer….Where several theories exist, that fact must be openly acknowledged with no thought for protecting vested interests of any sort.”

Dr. Dunning-Davies is not well appreciated by his fellow scientists. He’s encroaching on their “priesthood”, he’s asking for the complete truth and that just might lead to the mainstream scientists not having the monetary support they want.

Point?

If a large group of scientists are not letting the whole truth reach the public, or using the tactics of the malicious rumor-mongerer to keep competing theories from the funding-dollar, we the Public deserve to know.

Figuring out how to put down the rumor-like science and let the whole truth shine is a bit harder than just knowing about it. Just like the fellow having misinformation being spread about his sexual abuse, beating down a popular lie is a huge task…

Spiritual Quote:

“…the injunction to investigate truth—that is to say, no man should blindly follow his ancestors and forefathers. Nay, each must see with his own eyes, hear with his own ears and investigate the truth himself in order that he may follow the truth instead of blind acquiescence and imitation of ancestral beliefs.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Promulgation of Universal Peace

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Rainn Wilson, Dwight Schrute, and Spirituality

the_office_and_spiritualityDwight Schrute?

From the hit show The Office?

Giving deep answers to big spiritual questions?

With Oprah?!?

Well… Recently, Rainn Wilson appeared on Oprah’s Soul Series Webcast {Scroll down to “Download Files” for the easiest access!}.

He was definitely not  the character he plays on The Office!

Not the man with a boundless ego who’s always looking for the best way to screw anybody—the man you love to hate…

Here was a thoughtful, intelligent man talking about his spiritual journey and introducing a new web site that targets youth and challenges them to think about and  take action on the Big Spiritual Questions—SoulPancake.

He talks about creative endeavors as Prayer  and the crying need for our Human Family to Unify —to realize that the answer to all the Big Questions  is an awareness of our common Humanity…

Oprah draws him out with her matchless style of down-to-earth yet deeply spiritual questions and gives him a chance to soar on the wings that only a Creative Soul can use to give each of us Hope!

I rate this one as a Must-Watch!!!

Spiritual Quote:

“The mystery of this phenomenon, the cause thereof is this, that mankind has been created from one single origin, has branched off from one family. Thus in reality all mankind represents one family. God has not created any difference. He has created all as one that thus this family might live in perfect happiness and well-being.

“Regarding reciprocity and cooperation: each member of the body politic should live in the utmost comfort and welfare because each individual member of humanity is a member of the body politic and if one member of the members be in distress or be afflicted with some disease all the other members must necessarily suffer. For example, a member of the human organism is the eye. If the eye should be affected that affliction would affect the whole nervous system. Hence, if a member of the body politic becomes afflicted, in reality, from the standpoint of sympathetic connection, all will share that affliction since this (one afflicted) is a member of the group of members, a part of the whole. Is it possible for one member or part to be in distress and the other members to be at ease? It is impossible! Hence God has desired that in the body politic of humanity each one shall enjoy perfect welfare and comfort.

“Although the body politic is one family yet because of lack of harmonious relations some members are comfortable and some in direst misery, some members are satisfied and some are hungry, some members are clothed in most costly garments and some families are in need of food and shelter. Why? Because this family lacks the necessary reciprocity and symmetry. This household is not well arranged. This household is not living under a perfect law. All the laws which are legislated do not ensure happiness. They do not provide comfort.

“Therefore a law must be given to this family by means of which all the members of this family will enjoy equal well-being and happiness.
Is it possible for one member of a family to be subjected to the utmost misery and to abject poverty and for the rest of the family to be comfortable? It is impossible unless those members of the family be senseless, atrophied, inhospitable, unkind. Then they would say, ‘Though these members do belong to our family—let them alone. Let us look after ourselves. Let them die. So long as I am comfortable, I am honored, I am happy—this my brother— let him die. If he be in misery let him remain in misery, so long as I am comfortable. If he is hungry let him remain so; I am satisfied. If he is without clothes, so long as I am clothed, let him remain as he is. If he is shelterless, homeless, so long as I have a home, let him remain in the wilderness’.

“Such utter indifference in the human family is due to lack of control, to lack of a working law, to lack of kindness in its midst. If kindness had been shown to the members of this family surely all the members thereof would have enjoyed comfort and happiness.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Foundations of World Unity

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Why should You care?

cyrus_the_greatWhy should you care that seven innocent people are languishing in prison in Iran with no access to legal counsel?

Well, even if they were guilty, the lack of access to their lawyer—Shirin Ebadi—is criminal. The image on the left is of Cyrus the Great. The following is from Wikipedia :

On December 10, 2003, in her acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi evoked Cyrus, saying:
“I am an Iranian, a descendant of Cyrus the Great. This emperor proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2,500 years ago that he ‘would not reign over the people if they did not wish it.’ He promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all. The Charter of Cyrus the Great should be studied in the history of human rights.”

Why should you care if the prime reason for these people’s incarceration is that they hold a belief in the Bahá’í Faith?

Well, jailing someone for their beliefs is an attempt to induce mind control through force.

Nader Saiedi has written a scholarly yet scathing article called Forgetting They Are Human. In that article (which goes into great depth on the psychology of the people who would use force to control thoughts), he says:

“It is now thirty years that the Islamic regime has been engaged in a brutal, systematic and organized persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. This religious sadism, however, has recently been much more intensified. The Islamic Republic forces elementary school teachers to publicly humiliate the Baha’i children, and with utter inhumanity to insult their religion. This is one of the manifestations of their brand of ‘Islamic Justice’ whose like is rarely seen even among the most despotic and racist contemporary regimes of the world. The reactionaries, led in this ‘holy war’ against these children by the leaders of the Hojjatiyeh Association [a secret anti-Baha’i society], have opened up new chapters in the annals of courage and humanity. These brave warriors are not content with just harassing children, instead they systematically attack the organized lines of Baha’i corpses in cemeteries, and after bravely defeating the dead, burn their remaining bodies.”

Why should you care about this if you don’t live in Iran?

Well, there’s that concept gaining increasing acceptance—the one that stresses our common humanity—that holds us to the high standard of protecting any  human who is dealt with unjustly.

Why should you care, even if you wished they weren’t being treated badly, when you might feel it to be impossible for you to do anything to protect them?

Because you can  do something to protect them…

You can pray for them.

If you don’t believe in prayer, have the courtesy and maturity to respect those who do believe in it.

From an open letter entitled, We Are Ashamed, from a group of more than 200 prominent academics, writers, artists, journalists and Iranian activists throughout the world to the Baha’i community come these words:

“In the name of goodness and beauty, and in the name of humanity and liberty!

“As Iranian human beings, we are ashamed for what has been perpetrated upon the Bahá’ís in the last century and a half in Iran.
We firmly believe that every Iranian, ‘without distinction of any kind, such as, race, color, sex, language, religion, politics or other opinions’, and also without regard to ethnic background, ‘social origin, property, birth or other status’, is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, from the very inception of the Bahá’í Faith, the followers of this religion in Iran have been deprived of many provisions of human rights solely on account of their religious convictions.”

Why should you care about these Bahá’ís if you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or member of any other Faith?

Well, true religion upholds justice and instills unity.

Spiritual Quote:

“All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness of God and the unity of mankind. They have taught that men should love and mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of humanity. The fundamental truth of the Manifestations is peace. This underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another. Consider the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is the primary foundation of them all. Read the Gospel and the other holy books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. Therefore unity is the essential truth of religion and when so understood embraces all the virtues of the human world. Praise be to God! this knowledge has been spread, eyes have been opened and ears have become attentive. Therefore we must endeavor to promulgate and practice the religion of God which has been founded by all the prophets. And the religion of God is absolute love and unity.
Abdu’l-Bahá: Bahá’í World Faith

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Religion & Human Rights

religious_persecution

Two Prickly Folks At The Café

PF1: “How can you say that? God intended for His servants to worship him through well-trained and devoted ministers—people called to His service and anointed with His power!”

PF2: “Bull!  You think God cares about the kind of ministers you have? Bigoted, servile automatons is what they are!!

PF1: “Well, I’d rather listen to one of my ministers than one of your so-called ‘priests’—just a bunch of puny excuses for real  men—

~~~~~~~~~
Your humble observer quickly left the Café before a fist-fight broke out…
~~~~~~~~~

That imaginary “conversation” isn’t all that different from real ones I’ve heard. People displaying highly irreligious attitudes as they fight like animals over what they claim is the “True Faith”.

This kind of religious intolerance can quickly lead to actual violence and, if sanctioned by powerful organizations or governments, roll right downhill into flagrant and physical persecution of whole groups of our human family.

From the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom:

Countries of Particular Concern:

Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Lest someone think that concerning themselves with religious freedom is of low value, remember: losing one freedom erodes the security of other freedoms…

International Conventions that need global support:

International Religious Freedom Act of 1998
“The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom shall have as its primary responsibility the annual and ongoing review of the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom and the making of policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress with respect to matters involving international religious freedom.”

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes the freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, and teaching.”

From The Guardian:
“Religious persecution can never be excused, but its causes can be explained. The haunting fear of hidden, unexpected revolution drives every dictator, sooner or later, to savage attacks on those he fears most and understands least. Dictators who claim dominion over a man’s mind as well as his body, whose regimes are based on tyranny and their people’s ignorance of the outside world, are wont to attack religious leaders, who must, at all costs, be discredited.”

Spiritual Quote:

“The activity most intimately linked to the consciousness that distinguishes human nature is the individual’s exploration of reality for himself or herself. The freedom to investigate the purpose of existence and to develop the endowments of human nature that make it achievable requires protection. Human beings must be free to know. That such freedom is often abused and such abuse grossly encouraged by features of contemporary society does not detract in any degree from the validity of the impulse itself.

“It is this distinguishing impulse of human consciousness that provides the moral imperative for the enunciation of many of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration and the related Covenants. Universal education, freedom of movement, access to information, and the opportunity to participate in political life are all aspects of its operation that require explicit guarantee by the international community. The same is true of freedom of thought and belief, including religious liberty, along with the right to hold opinions and express these opinions appropriately.

“Since the body of humankind is one and indivisible, each member of the race is born into the world as a trust of the whole. This trusteeship constitutes the moral foundation of most of the other rights — principally economic and social — which the instruments of the United Nations are attempting similarly to define. The security of the family and the home, the ownership of property, and the right to privacy are all implied in such a trusteeship. The obligations on the part of the community extend to the provision of employment, mental and physical health care, social security, fair wages, rest and recreation, and a host of other reasonable expectations on the part of the individual members of society.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Mar 03, The Prosperity of Humankind, Section II

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