Stephen's blog

What's wrong with science, religion & new-age

In the midst of the 'swine-flu' scare a while back it struck me ... how science, religion and various new-age philosophies are very similar.

The swine-flu scare has gained considerable media coverage, despite 30+ years of research confirming that physical things (bugs, bad genes, obesity, bad diet) account for a minority of the cause of disease, disability and premature death. We now know it is poor 'psycho-social eco-systems' that are the majority cause of early death and illness. But still the panic, or at least the media hype.

It's clear ... they each (in a strikingly similar manner) place the 'cause' of life 'out there' -- with religion it's God, with science it's 'chance' and new-age it's the planets, or some set of numbers or some reclusive soul that never seems to show up when it counts.

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Psychic abilities and skeptics

Being sceptical is perhaps one of the easiest means by which to protect ourselves from silliness, naivety and from being enlisted into the ranks of 'space cadets'.

Scepticism (or skepticism) naturally motivates one to question, to devise experiments, or thought-experiments to test the credibility of ideas. And asking questions is, in my opinion, one of the most noble, useful and valuable tools anyone can possess. It could be argued that a healthy scepticism amongst the populace and judiciary would have seen off some of the more pernicious superstitions and crowd behaviours in times past, such as the executions of those suspected of being witches during the Salem witch trials.

But from my experience the not-so-good side to being sceptical far outweighs the benefits. Being quick to dismiss claims of religious, spiritual, or psychic experience leaves one closed to possibility, and closed to finding deeper congruent frameworks of belief. As I have found, that closed-mindedness can result in quite debilitating health issues. 

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In the presence of passion

I was recently having coffee with a friend when she explained how much she enjoyed doing her numerology workshops. Her energy, passion and excitement was obvious.

As I sat there, her grin and body language got me thinking about belief-systems and new-age practices such as astrology, numerology and other 'ologies'.

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Intelligent Co-Design

I've recently watched the documentary on the court case in the USA over the teaching of Intelligent Design in the science curriculum ("Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial").

It seems few who engage in this argument appreciate that science and religion are "sister belief systems" – both objectify the causal agent for the evolution of biological systems, as being 'random mutations' and 'God', resp.

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