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Hey-hey-hoo, fellow science nerds and blog-o-philes.

Today, unfortunately, will not be filled with the gooey sciencey goodness you are hoping for! I just made the long haul journey from Oklahoma to Baltimore and unfortunately will not have internet until Tuesday!  As such, I do not have the resources (though not for a lack of time) to create a informed, well-researched post about something good and magical! Starbucks internet, though glorious, has been put to use periodically these past few weeks answering emails and ensuring that everything in the adult folder of my life has been filed correctly.  (Adult as in money and mortgages, you naughty readers!)

I am SUPER proud of this analogy.

dsDNA denatured to ssDNA by the breaking of hydrogen bonding. There, you got some science today!

However, I did come across an excellent speech from Christopher Hitchens on the Catholic Church that I thought I should share.  In no way am I attempting to pass judgement on the Church or spout my opinion on religion in any sense.  But, what I do plan on doing is inspiring conversations about how religion and science are not separated by a solid black line, as many would like it to be.  That would be far too comfortable.  Instead, these two polar opposite systems of reality aren’t truly separated at all, but rather merge and flow with one another.  They are like the phosphodiester backbones of dsDNA–Apart from one another, and yet conjoined by the hydrogen bonding of the nitrogenous bases.  Sure, they can be separated and function well on their own, but without each other, they are not as stable and the message is not complete.

Unfortunately, as humankind is wont to do, we often forget how integrally important religion is to science.  Religion was the initial way in which we questioned and found answers to the world.  Astrology and alchemy have long since been outdated and forgotten as ‘primitive’ forms of interpretation, but they were, at one point, methods in which the philosopher in each human could formulate questions and find a subsequent response towards the inner machinations of the world.  The arts of astronomy and chemistry (and subsequently biology, physics, nasa etc…) evolved from these initial surveys of the world to form what we see today as “Science”.

Beware of templars!

The Vatican

Religion, like the Catholic Church, was created much like my examples above to be an answer to the things in life that we cannot explain.  The only real difference is that most religions do not change.  They aren’t stagnant, so to speak, but they do not follow a natural, Darwinian path of adaptation to the changing times.  And if they do, as some have, accept changes, they are slow to do so and even slower to enact them.  This, my readers, might be the crux of the issue.

H. sapiens, like most other higher evolutions of life, struggle to deal with changing situations.  We are not, by nature, open-minded to things that will affect how we live, work, strive and believe.  We prefer, in general, for things to be stagnant and slow, like a river in the heat of summer.  Earth, on the other hand, does not sit in a continual state of apathy and the environment in which we live is constantly flitting faster and faster.  It is because of this perpetual motion that religions have stayed the same.  They provide a sense of stability to our species as a whole.  They are always something that we can go back to and rely on.

It is this clash of evolution and rock-steady sameness that causes the inevitable arguments we see every day on TV.  Is it the universe or is it God?  Were we made out of randomness or was entropy not a factor in the least?  Curious arguments to say the least.  Perhaps, in this new age of twitter, facebook and the internet, where people are melding ideas faster than I can type, we might see, at long last, the melding of the stability of religion with the truth seeking of science.

Damn this substance! Cool image with the cream though.

Alas, the price for Internet...

Or I could be too hyped up on coffee.

Cheers,

Kat

I feel that I must write an entry on Star Trek—it is an obligation that my geeky innards require me to speak on.  It is hardly a secret that I am a huge gamer and sci-fi nerd, so I suppose it is almost my specialty to speak on sci-fi and fantasy in general.

Not exactly a god, but its got a damn computer that talks to you!The one particular thing I found interesting in my travels through the universe was that of the “god-like” figures that appear frequently in Star Trek.  Having watched every movie, seen part of the original tv series, most of The Next Generation, all of Voyager and a majority of Enterprise, I must say that these god-like figures can be found in every which direction and in every shape and size.  Each and every one of them is inherently flawed in some way.

For example, the Caretaker, a god-like entity who is the catalyst for the entire plot of Voyager, finds himself at the end of his life.  Granted, it is implied that his life has lasted millennia and shouldn’t be ending, he is, nevertheless, dying.  The reason?  His “life” partner had left him in some sort of relationship-trauma huff and never returned.  Unable to return to his home and unable to continue living, the Caretaker has been searching the galaxy for a means of power to keep his subjects alive.  Oh yes, did I mention that he created a race, placed them on the planet, and provided for their every whim?  Now that he is dying, the Caretaker belatedly realizes that his little race will soon die after him, since he had been their only source of sustenance.

Flawed?  Totally.  Almost human?  Yep.  Are the writers of Star Trek attempting to make an underhanded comment?  Oh yeah.

What?  I have no idea.

Whether they are just reinforcing the idea that the God on earth is supreme or making a comment on evangelist Christianity is beyond me.  What is apparent is that flawed god-like figures has become a staple in Star Trek lore.

Another interesting point, while on the topic of flawed gods, is that of the deities in the popular role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.  Each and every one, like the Greek or Roman pantheon, has a specific realm of worshipers and jurisdiction.  They also have their stories about how they rose to god-hood.  Some fell through the depths of hell and emerged the glorious victor.  Others corrupted nations and defeated lich empires to steal the throne.  Each have their own story of failures and triumphs.

In fact, that’s the whole point of the “game” called D&D!  You, as a player, must conquer your enemies and your own personal issues in order to rise above and become whatever you (or your alignment, at least) are destined to be come.  A very fine example comes from the last campaign that I played with the guys.  In order to flesh out our DM’s homespun setting, we aspired to play fully in the “asian” empire, whose name I cannot spell for the life of me at the moment.  The entire game started out with the emperor slain at the feet of a once player character, Malek.  We then found ourselves running from the rather corrupt law and joining forces with the once-Shogun to take back what was our country.

After many battles and negotiations with other nations, we defeat Malek and his minions and take back the country that rightfully belongs to the people.  Kero Kuma, our silently designated leader, was then vocally promoted to the position of Emperor, after proving his worth as an apt and competent “Commander In Chief”.  It was perfect for a character that rose from nothing and became one of the most powerful men in the nation.

From what I've been told, this is how one of the guy's character became a saint.  Single handedly defeating a dragon.As it turns out, most of the deities in the current D&D pantheon weren’t even gods to begin with, but were raised to the title after their death (Even though Kuma-sama may never reach god-hood, we have several past player characters who have at least achieved sainthood.  My own character, Rosalynd, is quite on her way to being a god.  It all depends on who you become when you don the dice.).  Hence, one must redefine what they consider god/god-like.  If our flawed gods in Star Trek were placed in the D&D realms, would they have been given deity-hood?  I have to wonder.

My apologies for the rambling rant, I just wanted to examine the differences in god-like figures while waiting for my electrophoresis DNA run to be done.  And it is!

Cheers!

The Alchemist Kitten

As I was working on my History of Science and Religion project (The Evolution of Evolution) and having visited the Sam Noble museum, I suppose it is time for me to talk about creation.  How was the world created?  How did humans come to be?  Why are we here?

These questions are why both religion and science surfaced.

So, what of the big bang?  The LHC and other large physics centers have brought us within seconds of the creation of the universe.  I have to wonder what those men and women must think they will find when they close the gaps and reach the moment at the beginning of time as we know it.  Will we find what Christians call “God”?  Or will we find something more abstract—something more profound and deeply moving?

Is that why the fear of science has built in recent years from religion?  What happens if science finds a truth that once-and-for-all debunks the idea that a god could exist and create our world?  Would morality die?  I hardly think that humanity would go insane with the knowledge that “God is dead”, so to speak.  Still, the question remains, how will people react?

My best example of what might happen comes from a recent video game from Bethesda, Fallout 3.  Laugh if you may, but Fallout provides a fine example of a world in which God is non-existent.  An atomic war did a fine job of ridding the world of God–and subsequently many beings’ morality.  However, as the “Lone Wanderer”, you emerge into the Capitol Wasteland and encounter an almost primitive religion that worships the very atomic technology that tore the world to pieces in the first place.

In the little community of Megaton, built up around an active atomic bomb that had yet to detonate after about two-hundred years, the Lone Wanderer encounters a small faction of townspeople who worship the radiation from the bomb itself as a source of life and salvation.  The Sons of Atom can be found scattered throughout the wasteland, their features becoming more and more ghoulish due to their love of radiation.  Though I shan’t spoil any of the actual story for those of you who have yet to play (who hasn’t?), it must be mentioned that these Sons of Atom go so far as to irradiate pure water in order to gain enlightenment.

On an Earth where pure water is nigh extinct, this seems just a little ludicrous.  *heave sigh* This is dogma for you.

So, we find that despite the ruin of the world, people still find a need to worship.  That poses the question: If we find that God doesn’t exist, will people still need to worship an entity?  If so, what?  Will we have the “Apostles of the LHC”?

What will that do to humanity?

I shall leave you all to ponder that deep message.  As Three-Dog would say,

That’s all, Children!

TheAlchemicalKitten