Facts & Narrative; Science & Faith; Heaven & Earth

Balance is a never-ending effort…

I find it fascinating that people of all stripes will consider a scientific fact indisputable only when it fits their agenda or belief system, but reject it out-of-hand as conjecture when it doesn’t.

This may get a little complicated, so stick with me. Then again, I could even lose track of my own narrative here. If that happens, it means that it’s time to start drinking. I have my tequila bottle right here.

What’s wrong with us? I know that we’re not necessarily a logical creature, a completely rational creature, but where did it all go wrong? Have we become so wrapped up in agendas that we are willing to sacrifice rationality and fact for the sake of our point of view ‘winning’ out?

Back in the early 1970’s, we were going through a cold spell. There was widespread panic and there were a lot of people who realized that they could benefit monetarily and politically by spreading that panic and keeping an edge on the population.

As it turns out, the ‘Global Freeze’ never happened; it looks as though that period was simply a natural occurrence in the cycle of how this amazing planet responds to outside stimuli (the sun and its cycles, gravitational effects, etc.) and internal stimuli (weather patterns, populations of respective species, tidal fluctuations, etc.).

We all breathed a sigh of relief and we moved on with our lives, though the event did impress upon the human race that we should be more conscious of how we treat our planet; that we should participate on support of the natural thermostat that is this planet and do what we can to reduce our footprint.

That’s a good thing. Not everyone enlisted in the cause, but that’s to be expected.

Then, as the sun was going through a raging bout of sunspot activity, we started to panic again. This time it started to get warm. Again those with less than a modicum of integrity realized they could use the natural changes and adaptations of the earth to enrich their coffers and their careers. They gathered ‘evidence’ and subsidized scientists and economists, they made movies and perpetuated another panic, this time it was Global Warming.

Which lasted about as long as the Global Freeze, with the same exact outcome; a move back to a baseline (Global temperatures have been steady or dropping for more than eighteen years and the polar ice caps are as deep and as strong as ever). But that didn’t stop, and still doesn’t stop, those who can benefit in any way from screaming lies everywhere they can. Phrases like ‘The science is settled’ and ‘global consensus’ became buzzwords that convinced people who didn’t care to actually do the research for themselves to panic again, and spread that panic. We never learned our lesson.

There is a balance that we need to strike, science is pretty clear about that. Can we afford to rely solely on non-renewable resources and continue to suck the planet dry? Of course not. That would be silly and short-sighted to think so, but it doesn’t mean that we should stop making the best of what we have.

Can we afford to invest completely in natural renewable resources, mostly at the tip of the government spear? No, of course not. The science just isn’t there yet. Though we do need to be real clear about alternate resources and stop suppressing research that could get us there quicker. It may not be widespread, but there are greedy people and greedy corporations who will do what they can to keep alternatives down, alternatives that will cost them money and profits in the long run. It would be foolish to think that doesn’t happen.

But while there are people in the middle like myself who can see and appreciate both sides of the issue, there seems to be a large and vocal contingent on each side who are more than happy to ignore scientific facts that disagree, as well as support only the studies that endorse, the narrative that will result in a more positive light on their side.

It’s a power struggle, a huge tug of war for egos that in the end results in nothing really getting done. And it results in over-the-top government waste and spending that gains us nothing, except providing a payoff. Meanwhile, the marker keeps moving back and forth over the center line.

And global climate change isn’t the only thing that is up for grabs.

Consider the fact that science keeps redefining the point at which life begins in the womb as viable. That point actually keeps getting redefined as closer to birth. But since each side sees it as an all-or-nothing struggle, each side refuses to give an inch. People who would endorse abortion are hesitant to give any ground for fear that they will lose what they have ‘gained’ all together. At the same time, pro-life people are hesitant to refer to the science because that might give the abortionists credence and therefore they might lose ground or credibility.

With actual lives in the balance, no one will cede for fear their faction will lose ground and/or power with regards to the issue.

And the examples don’t end there. Anywhere you look, any issue you look at, hold the same examples, the same seeds of rivalry and bids for power.

We like to think that we have evolved, but we still separate ourselves into tribal factions and fight like the dickens over everything! Even beyond the scope of the rationality of our own argument or even or position.

It might sound like I tend towards endorsing science as a baseline for answers, and to a certain extent I do. What science we have developed has given us answers through a process that we can follow, put the answer in our actual hands, so to speak. But I’m also very aware that science is not infallible. Science changes its stance on issues, even major and sometimes seemingly simple issues, every single day.

Moreover, science is every bit as fallible as the people who wield it.

Too often the ‘answers’ we arrive at through a scientific method are a direct result of where the funding comes from for that particular research. Man is an animal that is very wrapped up in self-preservation. If finding the ‘wrong’ answer or even arriving at a final conclusion means that you lose funding and your ability to feed your family, or even your ability to just feed your greed, a lot of scientists will find a way to keep that funding rolling in.

Or answers can even come from something as innocent as a preconceived bias. A fancy way of saying that we get the answers we are looking for. We’re only human, after all.

That being said, I don’t discount faith either, or the power of focused thought and meditation, also known as prayer. There is too much we don’t know about the universe. Too much that we would be foolish to discount as viable and effective. Just because we find an answer to something, doesn’t mean that another answer or method doesn’t exist. Like anything else, there’s a balance to strike, and it’s not easy to know where the balance point is.

One thing is clear to me. Locking one’s self into one point of view or the other, into one belief system or another and refusing to entertain outside thought is not the point of balance.

In the end, Shakespeare had a point. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.

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