The Divorce between Science and God

Earlier I wrote about how the Ancient Greek philosophers were the first to introduce the concept of Nature, and how Nature became a new way to understand things and how they act.  This new way did not replace Custom and Tradition, but it did break their monopoly on the minds of men and thus dilute its influence. 

But, one does not immediately get to Science when Nature is invented in ancient Greece.  Two things have to happen.  First of all, it is romantic to think of each breeze as a spirit, a god the way the ancient Greeks did.  As Thales who as the first philosopher and one of the seven sages said, “All things are full of gods.” 

He had reasons for this statement, besides having a polytheistic viewpoint; he had observed attraction and repulsion through magnetism and static electricity.  What he did not have, was Science.  In order to have actual “Science,” he had to have a unified creation.  In order to have a unified creation, he had to have a unified creator, big “G” God. 

One idea of religion is that one can learn about creator through learning about the creation.  Well, if one has millions of gods, then one has millions of different personal whims of gods, creating forces and working with or against each other, willy-nilly.  Even worse than that, in a polytheistic view natural forces are the gods, there is no clear separation from nature and the gods. 

On the other hand, if one has one God, then all of a sudden the world and everything in it has the potential to be orderly and constant, as long as the God is viewed as orderly and constant as well.  With one big “G’ God, the Creator is “transcendent” or separate from Creation (although immanent as well, but that’s another story).  Inconstancy is a weakness which should not be there in an all-powerful God.  In polytheism each breeze is a spirit, but with an all-powerful God, God is not the breeze, but is “behind” the breeze.  A unified viewpoint about the Divine is probably necessary for the rise of Science, historically; however, it was not sufficient.

I am not advocating any religion.  I am not saying that a modern polytheist or pantheist cannot be a scientist.  I am saying that the path of least resistance, the path in which Modern Science first began to develop was in the Christian world of Europe in the 15th or 16th century.  Whether or not one believes in Christianity, one can recognize that it has had a historical influence. 

Religion, by unifying the Natural world, paid a positive role setting the stage for Science, but in Christianity it also restricted its development through too close of a tie between Nature and Religion.  Science, for its own sake, needed separation from Religion in order to come into its own.  This is the second event that needed to happen before modern science came into its own.  Galileo through his activities brought the issue to the forefront, but it was Rene Descartes that made the theoretical division between Nature and God, thus separating Science from the domain of Religion.

Most people know the story of Galileo.  Amongst other things, Galileo discovered Jupiter’s Galilean Moons and had the audacity to suggest that like how those moons go around Jupiter; perhaps the Earth went around the Sun (heliocentric or Copernican model), instead of the other way around (geocentric or Ptolemaic model).  Also, the heliocentric model was less problematic mathematically, than the geocentric model. 

However, Galileo was ordered recant his position, was persecuted by the Inquisition and shown the torture rack as a threat of what would happen if did not.  Galileo, however, was not exactly an innocent victim in the whole matter; he had put himself in harm’s way by moving from a safe Italian city-state (Venice) to one (Florence) where his discoveries would be an issue, religious and otherwise.  When he did that, he probably thought his ideas would win people over easily and had little idea of the ordeal he would face.  Galileo was trying to push the limits on knowledge, but vested interests, including the Church but also academics of the time, were in opposition.

Again, in the Middle Ages, one learned about creation (Nature) in order to know about the Creator (God).  That meant that creation was in between the individual and God in a manner thus; Man -> Nature->God.  When one looked at Nature, also consequently one looked toward God.  That also meant that not only was the Church involved in defining man’s relationship to God, but also since one could learn about God through Nature, the Church had a strong stake in defining Nature as well.  For example, another issue that created problems for Galileo was his discovery of sunspots, which demonstrated the imperfection of the Sun.  What else could be imperfect if the Sun and thus the Heavens were imperfect?

Therefore, when Galileo advocated the heliocentric universe and sunspots, he was talking about Nature, but also through how Creation and the Creator were connected, he was also encroaching on the Church’s territory.  Again, Galileo had some idea of what he was doing, he had moved to a city-state where it was going to be an issue.  However, in order for Science to come into its own, Church doctrine about Nature had to get out of the way.  Galileo brought the issue to the forefront, but another early modern natural philosopher, Rene Descartes, would complete the task.

It took Rene Descartes to realign the world and make it safe for Science.  How safe the world is from Science is sometimes an interesting question.  In all fairness, Descartes was claiming to make the world safe for God and the mind.  Galileo’s fate was a concern to anyone who explored natural philosophy, as Science was then known.  However, if Descartes made the world safe for God and the mind, then perhaps he thought the new explorations of Nature by Science would not threaten the Church whose concern was for God and the soul, the soul being somewhat the spiritual equivalent to the mind.  Descartes’ approach had him in a series of meditations engaged in a radical or hyperbolic doubt, doubting the world and everything in it, until he arrived at some beliefs that could not be doubted.  Those beliefs that he discovered are in one’s own mind and in God. 

After doubting everything, he came to something that could not be doubted, expressed by his famous statement, “I think, therefore I am” (cogito ergo sum).   He could not doubt that it was he who was doing the doubting or the thinking in all its forms. Thus, for Descartes the self is a thinking thing, and for the thinker the existence of the mind and God are certain, known through introspection.  On the other hand, the World and the things in it are not so certain, they are known through that “mode of cogitation,” sensation which along with memory, brings things into the imagination. 

This divides things differently from the medieval perspective of Man->Nature->God and changes it to Nature (the physical world) <-Man (the mental world) ->God.  Now Man is between Nature and God, thus separating Nature from God in the domain of knowledge.  We generally no longer study Nature in order to get closer to God, and if we do, we do not consider it science.  This separation of God [with the spiritual mind (the soul) looking to God] on the one hand, and Nature (with scientific/technological man looking to Nature) on the other hand, is basically the split we have in the universities these days between the humanities and the hard sciences.  Theology, however, is no longer queen of even the humanities. 

This reorienting to the Nature<-Man->God equation is also telling in that it places Man at the center of the cosmos.  Instead of existing for Nature or for God, now we increasingly exist for Man.  That sounds nice… but only if we knew what that meant.  In the meanwhile, Science is largely divorced from the Church, thus completing the transition from Nature.  The Ancient study of Nature is a flirtation with Nature, the natural philosopher tried to tease out Nature’s secrets, and Nature often played it coy, allowing only glimpses of what was under her veil.  On the other hand, Modern Science is Promethean, stealing fire from Hephaestus and the crafts from Athena.  More about that some other time.

Ancient Greeks, Tradition and the Nature of Things


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We owe our terms atom and element to early ancient Greek philosophers such as Democritus and Empedocles, but science owes something more fundamental to these philosophers who wrote about phusis $\phi \upsilon \sigma \iota \varsigma$ from whence we get the term physics. “Phusis” is usually translated as nature, although its meaning more nuanced than that.

The nature of something is the way it happens to be, or the way it “is”, often with the understanding that the only thing that “is” constant, is change. Empedocles’ four elements; air, earth, fire and water and, the two forces, love and strife (attraction and repulsion) is a way to explain the nature of things, as is Democritus’ atoms in motion.

As systems of scientific explanation, these are more basic than our modern periodic table and atomic models. Nor are they the result of empirical observation, but rather they are the result of a kind of reasoning about existence and things. In order to understand these systems, we should appreciate where they came from, rather than criticize them for not doing modern science.

Before philosophy began, things were defined by tradition and custom. A thing was defined first by being familiar and second, by the tradition that had been handed down about it. The older the tradition, the more authoritative it was. It had survived the test of time. People also were defined in their culture by tradition in much the same way. They were members of, and had loyalty to, a family clan. The taint of murder and other crimes shamed the family and transferred from generation to generation. Occupations were hereditary. In other words, if it was good enough for your father and for his father, it was good for you.

Tradition and custom were the way of the world for thousands of years. Ancient Greece was the first to get out of this pattern. How was it that Greece began to get out of the Dictates of Tradition as the sole guide for what everything is and how it is?

The Greeks, unlike more mature cultures such as Egypt and Babylon, consisted of hundreds of modest little communities, each with their own laws, their own customs, and their own traditions. Going from one community to another, a traveler could lose his awe of his own native traditions and come to wonder which of the hundreds of different sets of traditions were the best. Finally, he realizes that while several communities had aged traditions that withstood the test of time, no community had the best beliefs about all things, the world and people.

The search for the best traditions, laws and customs leads to the search of nature. Much of this search originally was a search into what we would call the physical nature of things, and only later beginning with Socrates, would become a search for human nature, including into the political nature of man. Nature is something older than tradition, even if “it” does not actually exist, but is only a potentiality. For example, it is part of the nature of water that it freezes at $0^{\circ}C$. One can live in the tropics and never have seen water freeze, but it still would be part of the nature of water that it freezes at $0^{\circ}C$.

Tradition emphasizes stability, continuity. Nature, on the other hand, tends be about how and why things change. Now, with the experimental method, Science has us creating changes in a thing and observing with the use of mathematics and advanced instrumentation what happens in response to those changes. However, all this started with the ancient Greeks going beyond tradition and looking at phusis, exploring the nature of what is best. Whether we have found the best or whether we are even still in sight of that path, is a question for another time, which for now, I will leave it up to the reader to judge.

Cold fusion counter-argument with Crowley

A letter to which I subscribe, LeMetropole Cafe, publishes a daily quotation at the top of each communique. A few days ago, the quote was by Aleister Crowley.

The conscience of the world is so guilty that it always assumes that people who investigate heresies must be heretics; just as if a doctor who studies leprosy must be a leper. Indeed, it is only recently that science has been allowed to study anything without reproach..” …Aleister Crowley, author ( 1875-1947)

I thought about that and wondered whether Aleister was being sarcastic or was in fact sincere. I wanted to write to the editor MIDAS and tell him about the cold fusion experience, but got busy and didn’t.

The next day’s letter contained a response from a fellow subscriber regarding the “evil nature” of Aleister Crowley, and I was compelled to then respond to the content of the quote.

This is an excerpt of what I wrote to MIDAS published in today’s letter.

“The Quote of Crowley’s”

“Greetings MIDAS, Regarding the Aleister Crowley quote, I was actually going to write you on that, too, but not to say Aleister Crowley was an “evil guy”….

……regarding Mr. Crowley’s point on science: he was living at a time when science in the western world had entered the electric age. Quantum mechanics and relativity both shifted the institutions from which they arose as electric technology altered perceptions………

……..Twenty-one years ago, the discovery of a new kind of nuclear effect was effectively shut down by a newly empowered mass media and a scientific community that rushed to judgment when results didn’t fit the conventional paradigm. Since then, low-energy nuclear reactions, or cold fusion as it has been called, has been completely ignored by scientists organizations and the department of energy…….

Well, I guess it’s pretty ridiculous to think Aleister Crowley to be sarcastic about science like that.

What’s funny is that I would even think he was joking.

Why is cold fusion rejected?

by Edmund Storms

An ordinary person might wonder why cold fusion is not being explored more vigorously as the ideal energy source it promises to be. Why do public figures avoid discussing the idea and why do uninformed writers occasionally use cold fusion as an example of bad science?

Twenty-one years ago when Profs. Fleischmann and Pons (Univ. of Utah) announced the discovery, skeptical attitudes were justified and widespread. The claims were and still are completely at odds with what is known about nuclear reactions. The idea that energy could be produced by fusing two deuterons in what looked like a Mason jar was crazy at the time and still is hard to understand.

The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions But now the situation has greatly changed. Hundreds of people in over 12 countries have been investigating the process with growing success. Thousands of papers have been published and are easily available for study at www.LENR.org and evaluated in the book “The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction” available from Amazon.com.

Clearly, a new phenomenon has been discovered even though it has not been fully explained nor is easy to produce.

Yet, the attitude toward the subject in the popular press and conventional science has hardly changed. Why has a change not occurred especially in view of the growing need for a non-carbon and a non-uranium based energy source? Indeed, the long running reluctance to accept cold fusion in the face of mounting evidence is unique to modern science, which has delayed accepting many new ideas, but never with as much determination.

The claim started with several strikes against it. First and most important, the claim was not easy to replicate. Most efforts, but not all, failed mainly because many people had a very poor understanding of what was required. They also expected the effect would be large and easy to detect once it was produced. Instead, the effect is difficult to produce even today and the results can be ignored as being caused by imagined prosaic processes.

Frequently, these imagined processes require as much suspension of rational understanding as skeptics claim is being used to support cold fusion its self. In other words, each side in the debate has to make equally improbable claims, but with the claims made for the effect being supported by a growing collection of experimental evidence.

Second, the claim was and is in conflict with what is known about nuclear interaction, causing many high profile scientists to conclude the effect is impossible.

Third, if the effect turned out to be real, it would put the hot fusion program out of business. Billions of dollars have been spent on this effort over 60 years in an attempt to cause a similar kind of reaction to that produced by cold fusion, but with disappointing results. The physics professors at major universities funded by this program did not appreciate the possibility their careers might end because of an idea suggested by a couple of chemists.

Gradually, a myth was formed around cold fusion by the skeptics until it became the popular metaphor for bad science done by deluded scientists. Whenever a writer wanted to show how scientists can be deceived, cold fusion was combined with poly-water and n-rays as an example of how someone can be mislead if they are not careful and not skeptical enough, or not as skeptical as the writer. Once such a myth forms in popular journalism, it is very difficult to change, especially when the myth has a benefit to influential groups.

Modern society is filled with such myths, some of which are harmless but some will have devastating consequences if they are not changed. One such myth is that the earth is not getting warmer and that sea level will not rise as ice continues to melt. Efforts to cut back on the generation of CO2, the main cause of warming, are met with the same emotional rejection as is applied to cold fusion. In this respect, the myth of cold fusion and the myth of non-global warming have a lot in common. Rejection of global warming leads to the destruction of civilization while rejection of cold fusion eliminates a possible solution to this disaster.

Sooner or later scientists in some country will discover how to make cold fusion work on a commercial scale. When this happens, the countries that develop this technology will rapidly become richer and more powerful. The cost of energy for manufacturing will go down and processes that are not yet practical under most conditions, such as obtaining fresh water from the sea, will become widely used.

These benefits will cause a rapid expansion in the power and influence of the countries using this inexpensive energy source. What about the countries that do not know how to make the effect work?

Their scientists will attempt to reverse engineer the power generator, but in this field, such efforts will be difficult without an understanding of how the process works, an understanding that will not be shared by the discovers.

Also, highly developed countries will have difficulty removing their present energy infrastructure and substituting this much simpler source. So, the race is on and the potential winners are not obvious.

Nevertheless, it is obvious the winner will not be a country that ignores and rejects the reality of cold fusion.

How do we change conventional attitude about energy?

by Edmund Storms

Edmund Storms is a long-time researcher in nuclear physics and cold fusion science, formerly of Los Alamos National Laboratory. His most recent book is The Science of Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction: A Comprehensive Compilation of Evidence and Explanations about Cold Fusion published by World Scientific Publishing Company 2007.

Lets explore the present energy problem with total honesty and objectivity. As everyone now knows with overwhelming certainty, oil can cause great damage when it enters water, thanks to an accident. Less obvious damage results when CO2 enters the atmosphere after the oil is burned. Coal is even worse in generating CO2 and causing climate change. In spite of these disadvantages, oil and coal have too many advantages to be easily replaced. So, what can we do to gradually reduce their use?

Only a few sources of  renewable energy are known and accepted. These are solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal, wave-action, temperature gradients, and biomass. Each of these has the disadvantage that the energy must be concentrated into some other form for it to be useful. This concentration process adds to the cost and complexity of the energy source. Nevertheless, all of these methods are being explored with success at a rate controlled by economic issues, as determined by the low cost of energy from coal, oil and natural gas. In a rational world, like in Europe, the cost of energy from these sources would be increased artificially by using taxes, the income from which would be used to develop sustainable sources and to encourage conservation. Unfortunately, the rational approach is too unpopular to enjoy widespread application. So, what else is possible?

Fission power based on uranium is proposed but it is not renewable. The uranium will eventually be exhausted just like oil. In addition, dangerous radioactive byproducts are made. While this is a plausible temporary solution, it has potential disadvantages, as Chernobyl demonstrated. Fission power based on deuterium is not renewable either, but so much deuterium exists in the oceans that the energy is infinite for all practical purposes. Unfortunately, this fusion process has not been found to generate practical energy even though attempts have been ongoing for 60 years while consuming at least 20 billion dollars and counting. Several basic problems raise serious doubts about whether this method will ever produce useful commercial power.

What else is possible? Various unconventional sources of energy have been discovered, but these have been systematically rejected by science and society. Whatever the reasons, this rejection has denied mankind potential sources of energy just when the need has become critical. In a rational world, all imagined sources of energy would be explored with enthusiasm. But, as we discovered earlier, this is not a rational world.

What are these unconventional sources? Three have been suggested: cold fusion, hydrino production, and zero-point energy.

Cold fusion is a method for causing a fusion-like reaction between deuterons that was discovered by Profs Fleischmann and Pons in 1989. Details can be found at www.LENR.org. This method was rejected by general science and is still used occasionally as a metaphor for bad science. Enough information has now been accumulated by work in over 10 countries to demonstrate that the process is real but not enough to understand the mechanism.

Hydrino formation is described by Randell Mills in numerous publications that can be accessed at www.blacklightpower.com. Dr. Mills proposes that energy can be extracted from hydrogen by causing the atomic electron to collapse closer to the nucleus by occupying orbits that are described by fractional quantum numbers. The process is being actively developed as an energy source without help from conventional science.

Zero-point or vacuum energy is proposed to be extracted from an energy field that permeates space. Various methods involving a combination of magnetic and electric fields have been proposed and explored to accomplish this feat. Many so-called over unity devices have been created, but doubt remains about which demonstration is actually producing the claimed effect.

In spite of evidence being published showing the reality of unconventional energy sources, all of these methods have been actively ignored by conventional science and many governments. In general, the reason is based on the inability to explain the observed effects using conventional and accepted theory. In view of the disastrous consequences of using conventional carbon-based energy, the luxury of such intellectual arrogance is no longer justified. Even if some money is spent on studies that fail because the effect is not real, this loss is more than offset by unexpected discoveries that could solve our growing problems. After all, large amounts of money are routinely wasted on conventional studies that do not result in useful products. What have we got to loose by exploring unknown territory?