science is not god, sorry

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…but science now appears to be the new religion in some secular communities, complete with self-righteous fanatics who’ve decided that what they’ve chosen to believe science is, is thereby the TRUTH. No one has the lock on truth—not even the Rant-ress.

Facts aren’t ‘true’ either; they’re information. They can lead to truths but scientists are the first to say that one set of facts will be disproved by another.

Monotheistic religions believe there’s one god but many other religions don’t. There’s not one science either. As Dan Gaylinn put it: “Anyone who tells you that something is “settled science” is, by definition, anti-science, since the scientific method is implicitly about unsettling the consensus of what is currently believed to be true. That’s how knowledge advances.”

Thereby:

  1. Science is not god
  2. There’s more than one science (just ask scientists)
  3. Sanctimony is particularly unappealing

I ‘believe’ in science as much as I do in religion, but I belong to no church. They each have something to offer humans who seem to need to create ideology to have faith in. However, zealotry about anything scares me. It’s not an either/or world.

It’s true that religion has fueled most wars since the inception of the patriarchal paradigm. Has religion also formed a structure many people can use to do good in the world, help others and find solace for Self within? Yup.

Science has furnished us with wonderful knowledge of our biological world. Do some find comfort and security with that information? I do! Yet has science created bombs, drones, GMOs, herbicides/pesticides that are killing our flora and fauna? Absolutely.

Until recently, science insisted that bacterial colonies were bad, bad, bad! Anti-bacterial soaps and gels were essential to health! Turns out that science was “wrong.” Microorganisms outnumber human cells 10-1. Yet the gels are still everywhere. Antibiotics were once deemed the savior drug and now it’s patently evident that they’re seriously compromising our immune systems leaving us wide open to all sorts of disease and permanently disrupting our human microbiome, creating resistant superbugs.

In both war and medicine the only thing that needs to be eradicated is this mindset: the avenue to safety is to kill…whatever/whoever. Instead, let’s discover how to live with everything on this planet instead of annihilating what we fear.

The pro-vaxxers are brandishing the extremism of the newly converted. They don’t seem to disagree with the anti-vaxxers as much as dismiss and despise them. There’s no room for open intelligent dialog. Highly educated people reside on both sides of this issue (there are pinheads, too, but let’s not generalize). The cartoon above is needlessly vilifying. When has smugness ever been effective?

If you’ve vaccinated your kids you must ‘believe’ the vaccine works, right? What follows? Your kid is protected. Secondly, this is a country where we’re free to choose the form of medicine that works for us and our kids even if you don’t agree. There’s no unanimity, scientific or otherwise.

Your truth is yours. Leave it there. Be certain and inspired, not self-righteous and jingoistic. Priggishness is unattractive even if absolute ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ could exist. Which they don’t. Nature, and this planet, just aren’t that simplistic.

There’s a few things that always get the Rant-ress’ goat: unkindness, cruelty and defining/dissing another because you see the world differently. Take a deep breath. Find your intelligent heart, then open your mouth.

i’m the decider–not//not bees

yellowjacketThis is a yellow jacket, not a bee

sb10067340d-001This is a honeybee

bumblebeeThis is a bumblebee

A couple of weeks ago, the quasi-spouse and I went mushroom hunting at Priest Lake (in Idaho, USA) collecting about 20lbs of white chanterelles and two handfuls of masutaki.

Afterwards, we drive to Hill’s Resort for a well-earned beer. As we move onto the deck we see a sign taped to the door leading outside with a comic rendition of a bee. The sign reads something like this: Due to the excess of bees we will not be serving food on the deck.

Soon, we’re  sipping our drinks as we gaze at the gorgeous clear lake. A couple yellow jackets buzz around checking for edibles. I grouse to the quasi-spouse about the derogatory “bee” sign and how it never ceases to vex me that most people in all echelons of life—be they liberal or conservative, nature enthusiasts, loggers, scientists, urban guerrillas or art aficionados—call yellow jackets or hornets or wasps, bees.

They’re not BEES.

They’re closer to ants than bees. The only thing similar is that bees can sting but rarely do. For Pete’s sake, I’ve stood in the biennial swarm of honeybees that vacate the feral hive in my back chimney, and I’ve never been stung. When Dario was a toddler we’d caress both honey and bumble bees while they worked flowers. Yellow jackets or hornets never let you pet them; too territorial.

I’m pissy about this because we don’t SEE, we label. And often with careless jargon. We decide things are what we think they are, not what they actually are. We do this to moose, bears, snakes, spiders, children, Muslims, women, their boobs, mushrooms, southerners, wine, trees—you name it—ad nauseum and we do this ALL THE TIME.

Deciding how another feels, thinks or who they are, are inaccurate judgments and those judgments dismiss and negate Self and render others invisible—be they human or anything else. It’s a closed system designed by you and your biases, likes and dislikes. It matters not if you think someone’s the most adorable lovely person or a blockhead, or that yellow jackets are bees; each decision is defective.

We commonly practice this type of “deciding” in romantic relationships and about children and teenagers, but most egregiously with other species.

Observations are not the same thing as judgments. We all get to witness and deduce what we see. Intuit, not determine as reality. Stereotypes are short cuts for some observations but they’re not “true.” They’re “true-ish.” More on stereotypes in an upcoming post.

So, what can we do?

  • Use accurate language: a bee is a bee; a hornet is a hornet; a woman is a person; a child is a human.
  • Speak from your Self. What you like/dislike, fear/revere is yours and it’s not to be imposed on another as “fact.”
  • Whatever it is, is what it is. Accept “it” as it is.

holding hands with reality

“Look mamma—a V,” says Tara at age two, loving to demonstrate her letter recognizing ability.

“Where, I don’t see it,” I ask peering down Colfax Ave, looking at all the signs, the billboards.

“Right in front of us; see it?” I scan the skyline as Tara continues to point, trying to explain. “It’s at the end of the street—there.” I know she sees something, but I’m tempted to decide she’s mistaken as to what she spies because—after all—she’s only two and just learning her letters and daily toddler-hood excitement can sometimes be taxing. But her happy insistent tone makes me keep looking. And then, I get it.

The V that never leaves, that’s right in front of us, at the end of the street. It’s the actual horizon line, not the written letter V that I’d imagined.

We all have different perspectives as to what and how we view. Each is neither true or untrue for a variety of reasons too lengthy to get into here. But the greater truth is that one vision doesn’t negate another, though it could transform it. If we gave it a chance to do so.

The famous Jain parable: six blind men are asked to deduce what an elephant looks like. Each touches a different section from trunk to tail. The elephant is like a rope says the man feeling the tail. The one stroking the ears knows elephants are like large hand-fans while the man pricked by the ivory tusk: the animal is spear-like. Each knows what they felt so they’re sure the others are wrong. Of course they’re all correct…in part.

If we decide someone is: foolish, not an expert, is an expert, just a child, just an animal, senile, too emotional, PMS-ing, a dumb jock, a know-it-all teenager, a gansta, a cracker, a hippie, a suit, a bleeding heart, an Asian, only a woman, a redneck, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, even if some part of those observations are true, we close our visionary eyes and cease to comprehend beyond the labels, the judgment. This is an annihilation of sorts as everyone becomes invisible beyond the part we “see.”

We have to realize there’s much we perceive, try hard to discern but can’t, don’t want to see so don’t, and through all this, the thing remains as it is.

The Buddhists suggest that misery comes from not accepting what is. “What is” does not alter, but our perceptions do. Maybe it’s time we listen to another’s version to understand if it can expand our own.

Sunday-driving through California wine country, passing vineyards of perfectly pruned grapevines, Tara pipes up, “Hey mom-mia! The vines are holding hands. They must be singing.” Yup.