Christian Engström, Pirat

19 januari 2013

Kopimism: Science Sucks As a Religion

Filed under: English,kopimism — Christian Engström @ 23:29
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Click to read the earlier parts of Kopimism: The Creation

(This is a continuation of the Kopimist Creation Myth)

The laws of nature are pretty depressing reading for anyone who wants to feel enthusiasm for life and the future. They paint the picture of a tired and unwilling universe, that mostly just wants to lie down and die.

Things that are at rest prefer to stay that way, says Newton. Atoms and molecules may hustle about for a bit until they find the position that demands the least energy, but once they’ve found it they pretty much want to stay put, says chemistry. Everything is moving towards a lukewarm homogenous soup where nothing interesting can ever happen, says thermodynamics.

Thanks a lot, that’s very cheerful.

The scientific models are free from self-contradictions (mostly), and they have a lot of Classic inner beauty as models. But they don’t provide much basis for feeling trust in the future or joy in life.

We’re at the restaurant at the end of the universe just after last call, seems to be what science is telling us. The light is still on, and there are still intelligent discussions going on in the room. But the waiters have discretely started to prepare closing the whole establishment down, and nothing new will appear on the tables.

Right now, the restaurant Universe may be a fascinating web of diversity, but this is just a phase that will pass, says science. We are stuck with the natural laws that appeared before last orders, and even as you are reading this, they are slowly but patiently grinding down and polishing off anything that might attract interest or stand out. The universe today is not quite as interesting as it was last Thursday, and even less interesting than the Thursday before, because the slide down the slippery slope is a one way ride.

Security guards dressed up as physicists specialized in thermodynamics patrol the premises of restaurant Universe, and make sure that every event and movement, no matter how spectacular and fascinating it may look on the surface, is still yet another step towards the big shutdown. The universe that started with a bang is gradually being ground down to a whimper, and will end up in a state of infinite boredom, says the dogma of natural science.

Roughly at this point, the scientists usually begin to feel satisfied with their theoretical model, and look up from their mathematical formulas and expect to be met by cheering crowds. But to their great surprise, the hordes of scientifically atheistic materialists are not at all as large or as jubilant as they would have expected, or as they feel they rightly deserve.

Why are so few people applauding their elegant detailed description of a collapsing universe on a pointless journey towards total boredom?

This is a question that genuinely baffles a quite large number of scientists, often with an IQ around 150 or more. How can so many so bright men and women fail to find the answer to such an easy question?

The answer is that although this is the vision of the world that the scientist’s formulas describe, it is not what most scientists actually believe and feel in the bottom of their heart. But we’ll return to that issue. First, we have these natural laws of doom and gloom to take care of.

Must it really be against the laws if we want to feel some joy and trust in the future?

To simply deny the validity of the laws of nature would be one option, but it’s not a very attractive one. ”You scientists may have all your fancy laws and theories, but on my property apples fall with whatever speed they want, and me and my gun is gonna make sure it stays that way, praise the Lord!” is a position you can have if you want, but which most people don’t find very elegant.

You can bemoan the fact that science places restrictions on what can pass for a reasonably rational religion, but in practice there is very little you can do about it.

I may not like the General Theory of Relativity, since it is very weird and goes against everything I learned to be true when I grew up in a Newtonian world, but to deny that it’s valid would be just silly. Even if I don’t understand the theory myself (and I certainly don’t), I know that my mobile phone uses it to figure out the position on the GPS. If the General Theory of Relativity wasn’t a valid description of the world, my phone would be even more lost than I am in a foreign city. It isn’t.

And since it isn’t, the only realistic option seems to be to more or less grudgingly concede that the Theory of Relativity, and all the other laws of nature that the scientists have discovered, are valid and have to be observed, no matter how unfulfilling they may feel from a religious point of view.

Some people would feel that I am giving up this point to easily, and that a proper religion should defend it self by all reasonably legal means when it comes into conflict with science. But this has turned out to be rather an unsuccessful strategy in the face of steadily advancing science and technology.

When the Catholic Church decided in 1632 that Mr. Galileo Galilei was wrong, and that the world is firmly set on its foundations by the Lord and cannot be moved, as the Bible says, it may have seemed like a defensible position at the time. But even if it was right then, things very quickly got out of hand.

To sustain the view that sun is rising and setting over a flat earth today, you would not only have to maintain that there is a world wide conspiracy among all captains of ships and airplanes to pretend in public to be navigating on a globe, while in reality they are using their secret and true flat-earth maps to get to their respective destinations on time.

From a European perspective, you would also have to note with regret that all Americans and Australians seem to be members of the same conspiracy, or they wouldn’t be pretending to be asleep in the middle of the night every time you phone them from Europe in daytime. Americans and Australians, on their part, would have to conclude that the Holy Roman Catholic Church was also a leading member of this conspiracy, or they wouldn’t be televising their Midnight Mass live at so many different times that are quite obviously not midnight around the world.

Somewhere along the line, sustaining this alternative world view became too much even for the Catholic Church, with all its resources. In 1992, twenty-three years after the moon landing, Pope John Paul II came out of the closet and admitted that after all, the earth probably is a blue and green ball twirling around an ordinary sun somewhere in the less fashionable outskirts of an ordinary galaxy.

A fair and well deserved victory for Science, of course, considering how many everyday consumer grade miracles Science had managed to deliver in the intervening 360 years, while the Church was busy holding on to its firmly established unmoving earth.

But not very uplifting for our self esteem, We who once were just a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honour by a Lord that admittedly could be a little erratic at times, but at least made us feel that we were important in some way in His big scheme of things.

Many people feel that although science is great, having delivered both mobile phones and a doubled life expectancy for those who get to enjoy its fruits, something was still lost when we traded our special relationship with God as the chosen ones for the marvels of science.

But ”trading” things smells of scarcity economies and second millennium thinking. That’s not Kopimism.

The aim of Kopimism must be to unite science and religion, which means respecting science. But if it is to be a religion, it must also provide a way forward and a positive vision. We don’t want to choose: We want both the marvels of science and the sense of a higher purpose and a reason for hope.

This is what Kopimism sets out to achieve. Thanks to the Four Kopimist K’s — Kreativity, Kopying, Kooperation, and Kwality — we kan.

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3 kommentarer

  1. You make it sound like science preaches that the end is nigh. That’s not very accurate. It’s true that science tells us that everything will come to an end eventually, but it also provides an estimate of how long that will take, and it turns out that the restaurant Universe will remain open for a very very very VERY long time still. There’s lots and lots of time to kopy, kooperate and kreate kwality, and the heat death of the universe is definitely not something you need to worry about on a human time scale. I find that much more reassuring than some religion whose gods might decide to destroy the world on a whim tomorrow.

    It’s also not correct to say that the universe is less interesting today than last Thursday. The maximum entropy state is indeed not very interesting, but neither is the minimum entropy state. The interesting things happen between those extremes, and that’s right where we are now. If you want to claim that we have passed the peak of interest and are now going downhill, then you’ll have to prove it, because I see no indication that that would be the case.

    Look at it this way: Thermodynamiks shows that if kompleks things are left alone they will slowly but inevitably lose their kompleksity and their kwality, but the dekay kan be kounterakted by kopying them kontinuously. Therefore a good kopimist should kontinue kopying and kreating interesting things of ever greater kwality, kontributing to keep dekay at bay by inkreasing the overall kompleksity faster than the dekay kan dekrease it.

    Kommentar av Björn Persson — 20 januari 2013 @ 1:16

  2. Two more reasons not to worry about an upcoming heat death:
    If the multiverse idea turns out to be true, we might be able to find a way to communicate with the other universes so we can essentially switch over to one that is closer to the ”peak of interest”.
    Otherwise, there’s the ”Omega point” – our remaining time may be limited, but a more interesting concept is how much remaining kreativity there is. How much will be accomplished, how many thoughts will be processed? With improved technology, we can do more in the same amount of time. I.e if we, while using say 10% of the remaining time can make ourselves 10% more efficient, then the remaining kreativity is still the same.

    Kommentar av Joakim Rosqvist — 20 januari 2013 @ 15:33

  3. ”I.e if we, while using say 10% of the remaining time can make ourselves 10% more efficient, then the remaining kreativity is still the same.”

    Not scientifically precise, I’m afraid 😉 If we used 10% of the remaining time just to increase efficiency, we’d actually have to get 11.11% more efficient to keep remaining kreativity the same. Not much of a difference, but the number goes up pretty quickly with the amount of time wasted, so stop leisuring around immediately!

    Anyway, I for myself am certainly not going to lose any sleep over the impending thermodynamical end of the world.
    After all, we’ve already survived quite a few ends of the world of all kinds 😀


    Kommentar av relghuar — 21 januari 2013 @ 11:52

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