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Science Versus Religions – What’s the Beef?

Section: Dude Simple  | Date: February 22nd, 2011

shomer shabbos By Rev. Ed Churchman

Dogs and cats. Liberals and conservatives. Scientists and priests. All natural enemies, you’d say? Under most circumstances, it would seem that way, but maybe we’re looking at this sort of animosity all wrong. We’ve all seen those video clips of cats and dogs getting along like best friends, and not to mention that when we first purloined our English word ‘cat’ from Latin, we took it from ‘catulus’, meaning young dog. Last year in the UK the liberals and conservatives managed to form a coalition government to oust the socialists. So, maybe it’s time we looked at this age-old clash between the factions of science and religion, and see if we can’t forge a bit of a reconciliation, shall we, dudes?

So, what are these things of which we speak? Let’s take a look at what divides religion and science as they both strive to unravel and the mysteries of the universe for our benefit. Here are a couple of brief overviews based on my own observations about what’s what.

religion and scienceReligion – The profound belief in the way things are, and the faith in that truth. Most religions of the world are based on spirituality in one form or another, either atheistic (without a god), monotheistic (of one god) or pantheistic (of many gods). Each religion has an explanation of life and the world, from its creation to its purpose, even if sometimes those explanations of purpose get a little fuzzy. Sometimes religions splinter into separate factions, and sometimes those factions become religions themselves. All signs point to, overall, the fact that it can be hard to keep the faith.

Science – The profound belief in the way things are, and the faith in that truth. Err, wait, that sounds familiar. Let me scroll up. Yeah, err, that’s kind of like religion. Science is a direct understanding of the universe through experimentation and logical progression and application of that knowledge to further that understanding. Science has its own explanation of life and the world, from its creation, but not its purpose (so no room for fuzziness there). Sometimes scientists disagree and set out to disprove the theories of others that have come before. All signs point to, overall, the fact that today’s truth is tomorrow’s bunkum.

science vs religionHmm, actually, I’m starting to see a connection here. Let’s zoom in a bit and take a look at some of the more day-to-day aspects of these two philosophical giants.

Priests – Those who study the teachings of holy texts and culminate the wisdom of their sect’s philosophy. They use this knowledge to aid the lay members of their community, to teach and to support and take care of their spiritual needs. When someone is less knowledgeable about the ways of deities or the spirit world they turn to a priest for guidance, and, with faith accept what is told to them.

jesus vs darwinScientists – Those who study the teachings of the scientific texts and culminate the knowledge of their scientific understanding. They use this knowledge to aid the laymen of the world, to inform and to nurture and heal of their physical needs. When someone is less knowledgeable about the ways of science and medicine they turn to a scientist or doctor for help, and, with faith accept what is told to them.

Wow, I did not see that one coming. But, hey, what does this mean? Could it be that science and religion are, in fact, pretty much the same thing?

dude-timeWell, there are those who would refute that claim. They might say things like "but science looks at the evidence and moves itself forwards". To which I would reply "but doesn’t religion also do this? Sure, most of the time it would appear they keep the faith and hold onto the facts as they understand them, but sometimes science does the same. There are plenty of examples of scientists and doctors who refuse to update their understanding of current scientific and medical practices because they believe the way they know it to be more than adequate an understanding. Conversely, Christianity is a splinter of Judaism, where they took new facts and moved on. The same with Islam, an even further extension of the Zionist faith, and then Rastafarianism, and the many splinter faiths within Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Not to mention the modernization of religions within society, retranslating the ancient words in their spirit to fit with the way things are now. Science can sometimes be stubborn and static, and religion can sometimes be open and progressive."

time magazine science and religionScience isn’t one solid continuum of knowledge, as it is often perceived. After all, if science was infallible and the proof presented was guaranteed truth, how comes phrenology is a debunked branch of medicine? Someone disproved it, and plenty of phrenologists kept the faith until the new trends in science took over and it died out (like so many religions of times gone by). And, if science is so unified and certain, what shape is the universe, and is it expanding or cyclular?

You can’t knock religion just because there’s no so-called proof in the philosophy, just the same as you can’t knock science just because it ignores the spiritual. Science IS a religion, because as much as we think we know it always seems to change. Is salt good bad for you this week? We take it as red that whatever is announced on the news as the latest scientific breakthrough is fact, just like people who accept the stories they’re told by priests.

So, science is a religion, which means the only difference between it and other religions is the spirituality. Where science looks for answers in the physical world all other religions are searching for answers in the spiritual world. Together, you might say, they form a yin-yang of existence, forming a complete harmony of the universe. Science is the understanding of the physical world, the tangible, quantifiable. Spirituality is the world beyond, the intangible, the immeasurable. You need to embrace both sides to find the true balance of infinity, the strikes and gutters of this eternal conundrum. We are all science and spirituality, we are body and mind. The human spirit is what you think and feel in your mind, and when twinned with the physical body’s feelings it creates a new state of being that we know and love. Life, man.

line-in-the-snad And, with a true hold on both science and spirituality you can find out a lot more than only looking at half the facts. For example, so many people in this world like to look at things from a more rigid standpoint, drawing lines in the sand and sticking to their side. The problem you get with that is that when someone has a medical problem they sometimes go to a spiritualist to fix it. If it’s a physical problem, see a physical man. Get thee to a doctor, sir! Conversely, many people have spiritual problems and turn to a doctor who jacks them up on pills that cause as many problems as they solve. If it’s a trouble on mind, consult a spiritual mind, like a fellow Dudeist priest or a trained psychiatrist to help guide your spirit back into a state of mellowness. Don’t go stickin’ unleaded in a diesel engine, Dudes.

Well, if science and spirituality are two sides of the same coin, doing the same thing but for each hemisphere of the universe, then maybe we’re stating to get some answers here. They’ve both been around a long time, for thousands upon thousands of years there has been philosophy to try and work out what it is that is. From primitives worshipping animal skulls and rubbing at sticks to making fire, to large spiritual institutions and well-funded science programs. And what have they all come up with? A hell of a lot of different answers, is the fact of the matter. Still waiting on those conclusive answers here, guys. Hmm, I’m starting to wonder if there is such a thing as a true answer.

We here, at the Church of the Latter Day Dude, like to take science and spirituality in each hand, grasping the whole, not just the yin or the yang separately. We’ve got a triangle of hand-holding going on here, science and spirituality coming together in one balanced religion, willing to help reconcile these two warring enemies for the sake of true progress. But that’s just the thing. Where do we go to progress? Where do we find answers to the big questions within science and spirituality that haven’t so far been forthcoming?

Let me try and answer using the wisdom of the Coen Brothers, through their brilliant movie, A Serious Man. A movie about Larry, a Jewish physics professor looking for answers. All day, in his job, he’s trying to teach his students about Schrödinger’s Cat and the conundrum of the cat’s uncertain state, somewhat unsuccessfully, leaving him with a waning faith in science itself and leaving the truth of physics to pure mathematics. The only other time we see him in a class room is during a dream when he’s trying to explain Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, concluding to his pupils that "it proves that we can’t every really know what’s going on".

a serious manAs science throws new levels of doubt at him, his personal life also begins to suffer forcing him to seek guidance from his local rabbis who cannot seem to offer him a concrete answer. One himself seems to be looking for answers in the most unlikely places, clutching at spiritual straws. One spends a long time telling him an irrelevant story that has no real point and only creates more questions, shrugging them off by telling Larry "We can’t know everything". The only rabbi who seems to hold any understanding about the universe won’t talk to him, as he spends all his time in quiet contemplation between meeting with Bar Mitzvah boys to impart his own simple brand of Zen-like wisdom. The most we get out of him being offered to Larry’s son near the end of the movie, imparting back some stolen wisdom from the boy’s favorite song "When the truth is found, to be lies…" and the quiet, earnest nugget of "be a good boy". The film itself even begins with a quote from the medieval French rabbi known as Rashi "Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you". This becomes the mantra of the movie that the cast of characters seem to all be lacking knowledge of, apart from the sagely senior rabbi.

don't panicAnd what are the Coens trying to tell us? Is it the same thing that English dude, Douglas Adams, tried to tell us back in 1980 when Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy first aired on our radio waves and was born to the world? Is it that, we just can’t possibly know? No matter how much we delve into science or spirituality, we can’t know everything, and not everything is meant to be known. In HHGTTG Adams proposes to us that when one wants to know the answer to life, the universe and everything, you’re not going to get the right answer, because you’ve not understood and asked the right question to begin with. And to go back to the Coens and to quote again from A Serious Man, when Larry is given a supposedly illogical and impossible legal quandary that he can’t get his head around, he’s simply told to "accept the mystery" and is left gasping for another answer he’ll never get.

dudeism-totemSo, the universe is a mystery we just have to accept, do you not think? The best way forwards is to reconcile the differences between science and spirituality under the umbrella of religion and take comfort in that. Worrying about things we cannot possibly know, and probably don’t need to know leads to all kinds of stresspasses that we Dudes can well do without. Even when we do ask questions, we shrug it off if the answer isn’t forthcoming, and isn’t that a great way to be? Maybe our newest slogan should be: "Dudeism, accepting the mystery since [2004]". After all, as The Big Lebowski’s own personal assistant (and those guys are paid to know) tells us: "Well, Dude, we just don’t know." But, I bet you already knew that…

Some other recent posts from this category: Dude Simple


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59 Responses to “Science Versus Religions – What’s the Beef?”

  1. Lena on February 22nd, 2011 5:33 am

    Factual error in paragraph three: pantheism is not a belief in many gods but a belief that God is everywhere in the universe (nature, us, etc. — very dudular actually.) Polytheism is the correct term for belief in many gods.

  2. Bock the Robber on February 22nd, 2011 5:41 am

    The difference between science and religion?

    Religion knows it has all the answers.

    Science thinks it might be getting close to some of them.

  3. Rev. Ed C on February 22nd, 2011 6:06 am

    Well, Lena, you got your story… I guess if we’re being technical, but religions who have multiple gods are said to have a Pantheon, such as the norse, the ancient greeks, the indians and, of course, my own people, the dwarves :)

    And to Brock, I’d appreciate a re-read from you, as we had a little blip on our unblesmished publishing record here at the DP, and the version you read was the much compramised 1st draft. We had it sorted by the time I posted this here ramble. Thanks kindly.

  4. Bock the Robber on February 22nd, 2011 6:20 am

    It’s Bock.

    I’ll take another look. Thanks.

  5. Rev. Ed C on February 22nd, 2011 6:24 am

    Sorry Bock, eyes and fingers are a little off this afternoon. Too many long hours at work this weekend! That monkey is too darned hungry!

  6. Mentalgroundzero on February 22nd, 2011 7:12 am

    That’s fucking interesting man. I have a question for you: what aircraft would you take if given the choice:
    The one build by the priest who tells you that it will fly fine because it was constructed based on his indestructible faith in God and the knowledge from the religious books derived from similar strong faith over the centuries, or the aircraft build by the scientist who constructed it based on knowledge derived from applying the scientific method during centuries of experiments and a scientific way of deducting knowledge?

    After reading your article I would stay home and have another caucasian.

  7. Rev. Ed C on February 22nd, 2011 7:21 am

    Mentalgroundzero, dude, you’ve missed the point, I think, glossed over the actual message.

    A priest shouldn’t be messing around with science, and a scientist shouldn’t be messing around with spirituality. If you’ve asked your local rabbi to build you an aeroplane you’re gonna be sorely dissapoined.

    At no point does this article defer to the idea that science or spirituality are superior to one another, it defers to the ideal of them being two halves of a whole. Planes fly in the physical world, so go see an aeronautic engineer, man :)

  8. Bock the Robber on February 22nd, 2011 7:25 am

    Science doesn’t hold profound beliefs in anything, although some people who practise science might fall into that trap occasionally. In fact, the whole point of science is to keep questioning its position and modifying it in the light of new observations.

    Theories, by the way, are not some sort of speculation, like a conjecture. A theory is the state of the art on a topic, and represents the best knowledge currently available.

    Creationists often misuse the word to undermine evolution by dismissing it as “only a theory”, but of course, they use the word in its colloquial, and incorrect, sense.

  9. Bock the Robber on February 22nd, 2011 7:27 am

    I missed your reply to Mentalgroundzero. It’s completely spurious to suggest that religion and science are two halves of anything. They’re not. Science is about clear thinking. Religion is about mindless belief in magic.

  10. Heather on February 22nd, 2011 7:28 am

    /deploy English degree

    The words, man, they’re so close together. I could be wrong, but I understand that the usage in the article is correct. Pantheistic religions usually refer to religions of more than one god. Pantheism is the belief that God is just, y’know, everywhere, and can be an acceptance of several religions at the same time. Panentheism is the belief that God IS, and that His IS-ness means He IS everything.

    I kinda dig that. God just IS, man.

    /chuck English degree back in musty corner

  11. Rev. Ed C on February 22nd, 2011 7:37 am

    Thanks heather, I defer to your expertise in the matter, thanks for the clarification :)

    @Bock. I’ve not stated that science and religon are two halves, it’s science and spirituality that are the two halves. Relgions like Buddhism, Taoism and we here in the Dudeism camp reconcile the scientific and the spiritual into a relgion.

    The point of the article is that science and relgion may seem at odds, but when you get down to it, we, as a relgion here, as with others, embrace science, so the argument between science and relgion in general is moot, only science and specific relgions. The focus, as I put it, shifts to science and spirituality, which are two sides of that same universal yin-yang.

    Spirituality isn’t about Gods, it’s about the intangible, from human thought to what might lie outside the realms of the physical world.

    As a religion, Dudeism gives no biast to eitehr side of the science/spiritualism coin. We don’t flip it and just look at one side, we press it between out hands and embrace the coin as a whole. WE, like our eastern brothers mentioned above, don’t take sides, we take reason and open-mindedness into our hearts and don’t fly off the handle in such arguments. No line-crossers are we, but line-huggers :)

    But I dig your enthuiasm, and this is getting the ball of discussion rolling nicely. Kudos, guys!

  12. The Dudespaper on February 22nd, 2011 8:21 am
  13. Bock the Robber on February 22nd, 2011 9:57 am

    You’re losing me dude when you mention open-mindedness . Why would something supported by strong evidence be the obverse of something for which there’s no evidence whatever?

    You might find this video on open-mindedness interesting.

  14. Rev. Ed C on February 22nd, 2011 11:14 am

    That is a great video, Bock, and works in great spirit with the article. Nice find!

    However, by showing it to me, I get the feeling that you think I’m some nut who thinks he can talk to ghosts. I’d like to state that I’m not. I’m a firm agnostic who takes stock in evidence but doesn’t automatically discount anything just because there’s no evidence to support it, unless there’s evidence against it.

    Another key point to the article is that we just don’t know. Scientists like Heisenberg and Schrödinger knew that, it’s uncertainty that’s one of the biggest factors in this universe of ours, from lack of true knowledge to the power of entropy. Because we don’t know, we can’t say one way or the other, so we don’t take sides here. There cannot be scientific evidence to refudiate spirituality, because spirituality is outside the realm of science, just as science is outside the realm of spirituality. The argument of the aeroplane as made above is a prime example of that.

    We Dudeists are open-minded and reasonable, which is key. Being closed-minded and unreasonable never got anybody anywhere. From that video of yours we see that unreasonable, closed-minded people are usually the first to take up any old explination and then call someone-else closed-minded.

    Afterall, if Darwin himself had been the bastion of science, spirituality be damned, then how comes he wasn’t actually educated as a scientist, and was actually educated at a religious institution? His theory of evolution (which was not the only one before or even at the time) was made in unision with his religious beleifs, one of the true Dudes in history, he took the natural, physical world to heart with open-minded reasoning without turning his back on his spiritual beliefs.

    I’d also like to add, that the closing image of the video is actually a dipiction of an out-dated and debunked belief in what electrons and neutrons look and act like. Once again, science moves on, but some people are still left behind clutching at the old straws. Yesterday’s fact is tomorrow’s bunkam :)

  15. Bock the Robber on February 22nd, 2011 12:39 pm

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with you. To my mind, the only thing outside the realm of science is magic. In other words, stuff somebody made up. I see no reason to be open-minded about something somebody dreamed up with no evidence.

  16. Rev. Ed C on February 22nd, 2011 2:08 pm

    Well, then I guess we’re at an impass on this, Bock. I’ll agree to disagree with you.

    I suppose, in that case, Black Holes are magic, because they are only a theoretical invention of science with no factual supportive evidence. Part of the religion of science. To progress, you have to have room for something new that was not in your pool of evidence before. Maybe there’s nothing on the other side of a black hole, if it even exists. Maybe there’s a new type of existance on the othere side, be it a new universe tied to our laws of physics or some incorporeal world. Who knows? Well dude, we just don’t know.

    I’d hoped to have opened the realm of possibilities, even if I have no actual facts to give you, it’s all about what is possible, and the fact that we don’t need the answers (not that we don’t need to go looking). Too many people take a stance that is rigid, be they The Pope or Richard Dawkins. I just find it hard, as an agnostic and a now a Dudeist to think of something that has potential (like black holes, anti-matter, the big bang, etc) must not be true, merely because there is no evidence. I’m willing to have some faith in science and say ok, I’m down with these things, in potentia, in the same way I’m down with the potential for things in the spiritual realm of which I do not understand, like human consciousness. Our word for our own brand of life is animal, from anima, or spirit. The same word that gives us animation, or animism.

    So yeah, black holes are someone’s magic dream. Doesn’t make them not so. Are they out there, or are they all up here? *taps brain* We can’t know, and that, my friend, was the point.

    Sorry to have wasted your time, but thanks for having the discussion, it’s certainly given me food for thought and I’ll definately be sharing your great link to openmindedness around. In that message, I can abide :)

  17. Bock the Robber on February 22nd, 2011 2:16 pm

    Sorry now, but while black holes have by no means been thoroughly investigated, there is evidence for their existence. But let;’s not get bogged down in one example.

    Instead, let me ask you for advice.

    When presented with a number of invented concepts, each without supporting evidence, , can you advise me how I should select which to have an open mind about and which to dismiss as nonsense?

    What method do you use to decide?

  18. Reverend Dog on February 22nd, 2011 3:17 pm
  19. Bock the Robber on February 22nd, 2011 3:26 pm


    Now, let’s get back to your position and try to find some common ground so that we can move forward.

    Do we agree that not every idea people suggest makes sense?

  20. Rev. Ed C on February 22nd, 2011 5:14 pm

    Rev. Dog, that is indeed a wonderful piece! A great 76min of enlightenment and laughter. I recommend it thoroughly to anyone who’s showing an interest in this topic here.

    @Bock – Well, man, if all those concepts are invented, they’re all “magic”. The idea is that all things are possible outside of what we know to be inpossible.

    I guess you’ve never heard of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Invisible Pink Unicorn. The fact that you’re asking me to pick hypertheticals and try and convince you there’s truth in them is again, missing the point. We don’t know. We don’t know what happens after death, we don’t know if there’s life outside of our galaxy, and we don’t know if black holes are real. It’s philosophy, until you belive in it, whereby it becomes religion. You believe in science, and that’s your religion. I know people who believe in “God” and “Gods” and Chaos and Reincarnation… And we here at the Church of the Latter Day Dude believe in not worrying about what we don’t know (which is almost everything).

    The idea that ideas have to make sense is as spurious as the one you thought I was making about science and religion being two halves of a whole. The religion is not the issue here, Dude. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but apparently, and this is a good one, ha, but the Earth, oh man, the Earth revolves around the sun, who ludicrous! You know, some people never heard such nonsense in all their lives! And now we’re here and no one’s laughing (apart from those Flat Earthers, now those guys are closed-minded!).

    The idea doesn’t need to make sense, it just needs to be true. And how do we know it’s true? Hmm, well… we may never. But, just because we don’t know it’s true, doesn’t make it untrue.

    Infinity, my friend, is an awfully big place to curl up into the fetal position in. I like to think if I stretch my arms out a bit I might hit something new, like, say… the next galaxy, or, an invisible pink unicorn :)

  21. c.c. keiser on February 22nd, 2011 7:09 pm

    I try to keep an open mind, but my brains keep falling out. – Elmer Fudd.

    Yeah, well…ah fuck it dudes, lets go bowling. 8)

  22. c.c. keiser on February 22nd, 2011 7:49 pm

    Ok dudes, against my better judgement:
    There are no answers, there are only choices.

  23. The Archdudeship on February 22nd, 2011 8:21 pm

    Excellent article, Rev. Ed.

    It’s obviously a highly charged topic, one in which I’ve had my fair share of verbal sparring in other Internet forums.

    I don’t know…I can’t wrap it all up right now, so I’ll just give a couple impressions while I mull it over.

    Personally, I can read religious scriptures (Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, shamanistic, what-have-you) and be awed by their profound metaphorical insights into human existence. There is a reason why these scriptures have endured for so long and it has nothing to do magical, superstitious thinking. It’s their enduring, metaphorical truths. I don’t have to have magical thinking in order to appreciate the depth of insight the Book of Job provides into the meaning of suffering or the Upanishads give into the nature of consciousness or Sufi parables offer into the nature of God.

    I can also read the latest revelations of science and experience that same profound awe. Just recently, I read that there possibly billions of planets (BILLIONS!) in our galaxy alone, with 500 million of them probably conducive to life. I don’t know what blows me away more: the possibility of billions of planets in our galaxy (and how small that makes us on Earth) or the prospect of various galactic lifeforms and civilizations evolving on 500 million of those planets (and how connected we are to them). There’re even scientists saying that our universe (as inconceivably humongous as it is) is only one among many other universes.

    Our entire existence is essentially a mystery. Science, religion, art, poetry, music, what-have-you, are among the various ways our conscious minds attempts to make some kind of sense of that mystery. We have to remember that all of these attempts are, as the Buddhists say, fingers pointing at the moon. The trick is to not get hung up on the finger but focus on the larger reality it’s pointing to.

    So, imo, we Dudeists are all about: Stop giving me the finger, man…just gimmer some truth, as Lennon said.

  24. The Dudespaper on February 22nd, 2011 8:31 pm

    far out AD. love the zen “finger pointing at the moon” and “giving the finger” comparison. that had not occurred to us, dude!

  25. Bock the Robber on February 23rd, 2011 12:18 am

    Dude — I’m not asking you to convince me of anything. I’m just asking you how you filter out the things that you consider to be clear nonsense. That’s, of course, presuming that you do filter nonsense. Perhaps you keep an open mind on everything. I don’t know.

    One small correction. I don’t “believe” in science, Science is not a thing. It’s just another name for clear thinking, and who could be against that?

  26. Rev. Ed C on February 23rd, 2011 2:04 am

    @Bock – Hmm, clear nonsense, if only there was such a way! I don’t say that personally I keep a fully open mind, such as I remove my reason filter, but I do not close out the possibilites of existance. That’s the thing, openmindedness + reasoning = Dudeism.

    I hear what you’re saying about science, and let me assure you, no one here is against such clear thinking, in that we can all agree, man. Fuckin’ A!

    @AD – Thanks for the notes man! Yeah, all religious texts are a great snapshot of not only the culture of the time, but the history that inspired that time and indeed the core philosophy of the human society as it then stood. There is a true poetic majesty in all religious texts, as long as you’re not looking with such a critical eye that instead of embracing the blurred message and the true sentiment, you take a sharp message and blur the sentiment (which is sadly all too common, hence The Beef).

    And as for truth… I’ll look forward to you coming back for my next article, which is about said Truth :)

  27. Bock the Robber on February 23rd, 2011 2:18 am

    Ok. That’s fair enough.

    Let me take two examples of things whose existence you might npt accept — the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. If you happen to believe in Santa, obviously you’ll correct this working assumption, but for the moment, let’s go with them.

    If you have made your mind up that Santa or the Tooth Fairy or both don’t exist, what process did you use to reach that position?

  28. Arch Dude Of York on February 23rd, 2011 2:25 am

    Lot’s of in depth discussion arising from this particular story so I’ll just say:

    “Far fucking out brother!”

  29. Rev. Christopher Fraser on February 23rd, 2011 3:35 am

    A lot of stuff’s been said, and most of my two cents was going to be in the comments above, but I’ll add a couple of addendums if I may:

    – I think it’s very easy, especially with our metaphorical, laid-back, open nature, to conflate the idea of religion with spirituality. I believe Rev Ed C highlighted above the fact that “the argument between science and relgion in general is moot, only science and specific relgions.” Accepting that it’s extremely difficult to get a good grasp on the relationship between science and whatever “universal religion” might be means that the statement above is one step along on a sequence of definitions we haven’t yet confronted; anyone can agree that the more militant breeds of the Abrahamic faiths are a far cry from Dudeism, so maybe the attempt to define religion in the first place is a fairly flawed pursuit.

    – Science accepts that we don’t know all the answers up front, and never posits a “God of the gaps”. Adding to that, it’ll always be the answers closest to truth that are exalted in the scientific community – while you have people who don’t know the answers but pretend they do, they’re rarely promoted amongst scientists. When you see something in the Daily Mail telling you that chocolate causes cancer, that’s not a sign that something’s scientifically respected. In fact, it’s probably a sign that it isn’t. With religion, on the other hand, some of the worst breeds are the most fervently admired. You just need to look at the widespread homophobia in the US, open anti-Semitism in most Islamic theocracies and the conflict in Israel and Palestine to acknowledge this. Again: it’s easy to get lost in this, because we’re fairly easy-going guys and girls, but we need to be careful about how we use the word “religion” if we’re going to qualify it.

    – I’m also a bit at odds with the idea of “spirituality”, which might seem a bit odd as a fellow Rev… I think the idea of the spiritual posits something tangible outside ourselves, and as an empiricist I find it hard to reconcile my philosophical background with claims to spirituality. I personally use Dudeism to get a fuller understanding of *what’s already there* – how best I can live my life in a way that makes me and the people around me feel better, more at ease… and so on. You don’t need to appeal to some higher external authority to be a Dudeist. At least, I don’t think so.

    I’d welcome responses :D

  30. Rev. Ed C on February 23rd, 2011 4:18 am

    @ Rev Chris – You’re damned straight, Rev :) Of course, one argument against religion is that it drives people to do things that are ‘not good’ or ‘not moral’. Although this may be true in some cases, it’s a constantly flawed argument of Richard Dawkins, that religion can cause a good man to do bad things. Religion itself, in general terms, promotes ‘good’ in people, but is often corrupted by politics. It is in fact, I believe, the politics that religion masks that is bad, and is used by the unscrupulous figureheads to manipulate people to their own agenda. That’s not the fault of the religion, that’s at the expense of the beautiful tradion itself.

    As to spirituality, hell yeah, it’s not a Dudeist thing to make claims on it. We’re 100% right that we’re about the here and now, and that’s why my ultimate message in the article is that we just don’t know, so it doesn’t bother us. That being said, most of us are spiritual people, having studied the ways of Buddhism, Taoism and many other hodge-podge culminations of world-wide religious/philosophical ethoses. As such, our eyes are open to a possibility that is beyond science, without getting bogged down in the superstition of believing it without reason. And that is key. Being open to the possibility without the chains of superstition clouding your reason.

    For example, the wonderful article by my good friend and respected compeer, the Rev Andrea Favro http://dudespaper.com/im-picking-up-dude-vibrations.html/ is a sensible and down to earth peice which talks about the spiritualism of being at one with the universe. There’s nothing supernatural about it, but it is spiritual. He’s done several great articles along the same sort of lines that do not bow to some otherworldly ‘magic’ (to use Bock’s concise term :) but does not to some things that are not beholden to science.

    In Rev. Dog’s wonderful 74min video, linked above, author and neuroscientist David Eagleman talks about thought and the brain from a scientific standpoint, but also, along with compeer Will Self, discusses that human consciousness is still a bit of a mystery. Along with the Buddhist concept that each person’s perception of what is, is unique to them and we can never know how we each view the world. It is this that gives me the sense that thought is part of the ‘spirit’ because it is intangible, it is not earthbound, apart from within the confines of our bodies, bounding around our synapses, controlling our mouths and hands and whathaveyou. Of course, that’s not proven, but it’s not disproven either, so it stands as another mystery to accept :)

    So yeah, nice points Rev. Chris, dudos!

  31. Rev. Ed C on February 23rd, 2011 4:27 am

    @ GODOY – Thanks man, blazing a trail as ever, lol

    @ Bock – Yeah, ok, fairy tales are a different kettle of fish, because they are, generally speaking, known inventions, and a deliberate fiction. Of course, I will feel silly if one day I find out that the Verruca Gnome is real, but no, I accept such human-created silliness is hard to accept off the bat :)

    I take your point that some ideas are hard to swallow, and some are seemingly impossible to do so, but I defer to my comment about the Earth going around the sun. The people of the time used reason and logic in what they saw to determine that was. When someone came up with the radical idea it was all backwards, it was unthinkable, such as if suddenly new shit came to light and we found out that actually gravity was not the attraction of two objects based on mass, but a repulsion of space (aka, the massless). Science may prove based on current thinking and the best evidence of the time, but as with the idea that electrons rotated around a neutron it was debunked later by new evidence that electrons are a fuzzy field that fit snugly around the nutron (hence why the end image of your video was actually old science and based on false evidence).

    We are Dudeists, the limber-minded thinkers. We need to bend like the reed with the possibilities, not get stuck in the rut of rigidity, or get bogged down in the mire of a soggy mind. I’m not saying there should not be reasonable doubt, but there shouldn’t be such thing as abject dismissal either.

  32. Bock the Robber on February 23rd, 2011 4:58 am

    Rev — Let’s just deal with the issue of the electrons first. The author of the video isn’t suggesting that atoms are constructed in that way. He’s simply using it as an illustration. In any case, for certain purposes, the orbital model serves reasonably well, because that’s all it is: a model. As lonmg as we always remember that our models are artificial and have limitations, we’re free to use them in any way we find useful.

    Now,to get back to the main question, when you describe fairy-tales as inventions, could you clarify what that means? I’m curious to know what you understand by the term “inventions”.

  33. Rev. Ed C on February 24th, 2011 9:41 am

    @ Bock – Ok, the model is just a model, but it’s still an illustration of how yesterday’s cold-hard-solid fact is now today’s ‘magic of yesteryear’

    You’ll have to give that my own brand of humour almost told you to try looking the word ‘invention’ up in a dictionary (or should that be a Johnson?).

    Ok, so you’re intent on ignoring all other other great stuff that’s going on in this discussion and focus on pinning me down on issues that are kind of outside the spirit of the article (as in, there’s not a whole lot of reconciling going on here, man, just put the beef down and step away from the vedic scriptures! :). But, I’ll carry on trying to satisfy your need to seek something tangible in a discussion that talks about mysteries of the intangible and how they don’t really matter.

    Let’s look at the above mentioned Santa Claus. Now, we all know the stories we tell children are a fiction. They’re invented, we made them up. But, yet, it’s not a true work of fiction in that it’s based on something that is supposedly fact. That makes it more of a mythology. The real turkish clergyman, now known as Saint Nicholas, was renowned and sainted for his acts of generosity, involving a family in need and some gold coins (sadly lacking the chocolate we use nowadays). The rest is evolution that can be tracked by stories and folklore and marketing ploys up until some joly fat fucker comes down the chimney you don’t have and steal the mincepies you were going to eat in the morning before the children got up.

    I know St. Nick’s been dead for centuries, I know he’s not prancing around on my roof with a sack. And yet, his spirit isn’t gone, because, lo’ and behold, we’re still giving in his name each year. He’s like a meme, an idea that passes itself around, achieving that intangible presence that’s tantamount to immortality. Do I think he’s a manifesting ghost that does magic? Err, no. But he is still with us all in that spirit, in that meme, in that untouchable quality.

    Of course, with memes, I’m also getting ahead of myself for a future acticle, so let’s leave that on for later, shall we? :)

    And, if that doesn’t help, the Johnson still have a pretty mean definition of the word invention, so I’m told.

  34. Bock the Robber on February 24th, 2011 9:55 am

    I’m not trying to pin you down. Just trying to untangle some of the knots, but come on now. I’m not trying to satisfy a need, just debating. That’s a bit unfair of you.

  35. Rev. Ed C on February 24th, 2011 10:12 am

    Well, Bock, if you think that’s unfair, I apologise, I’m not out to cause offense, but you’re not giving me much to go on, and you’re not really involved in THE debate, this seems to be a personal thing between the two of us that’s it’s been beaten so far off the track, I’m not sure where it’s supposed to going.

    I get the sense that you’re not really looking to find answers, just drum up more questions, or, in the case of your last reply, you’ve skimmed the issue entirely. You seem to be expecting a lot out of me without giving me much to go on :) I’m trying the best I can but you don’t seem so much involved as simply contrary, if you don’t mind me opinionating on the matter.

    I do wonder what draws you to Dudeism, if you’re already stuck on one side of a very prickly fence, and considering your website is “now 20% more offensive”. If you’re looking to dig our ethos, you seem to be putting up a lot of resistance. You’re enitled to your opinion on it, but if you’re not of the Dudeist mindset, I’m not sure what you’re going to get out us here but more magic :)

    As it stands, the view you’ve given me is that you don’t accept potential. Now, without potential, the modern theories of scicence say, we’d not be here. Life was all about potential and so was the universe itself. If everything is a definate then maybe the story about the bearded guy with the 6-day work plan is a more accurate way to think of creation. I, for one, am not of that school, but I can see ways of meshing some of it with what we do know (as with the AD’s talk above on taking the spirit of religious texts, not the supposed facts).

    So, what do you think? What knots are there you could do with us untying for you that we haven’t all already picked at so far, man?

  36. Bock the Robber on February 24th, 2011 10:29 am

    Chill man. Too much energy going into that response. I come with a different view of what potential is, but I’m not here to annoy you so I’ll wish you the best and move on.

    I must admit, I also get a bit tetchy with commenters sometimes, but I often cringe when I read back over the things I’ve said to them after they questioned my views. I understand where you’re coming from.

    Peace to you.

  37. Rev. Ed C on February 24th, 2011 10:41 am

    Like I said man, no offense here. In fact now with 20% less offense :)

    If you see a smiley, it lets you know my enternal humour is still intact and like some kind of laughing buddha I’m still good natured. I’m sorry if you ever thought I was over the line, but I always tried to keep my toe as far back as possible. I call it 8, you call it 0, and that’s the way things go sometimes, no harm done :)

    Nice to get a differing view on the subject though, it’s good to take all the peices and try and mesh them into one, like the science/spirit yin-yang alagory.

    But, as I said somewhere further up the page “Well, then I guess we’re at an impass on this, Bock. I’ll agree to disagree with you.” You say tomato, I say red squishy thing.

    Yours abidingly,

  38. Doctor Joe on February 24th, 2011 11:29 am

    Hey Fellow Dudes:
    First of all I must say this was a GREAT article. Religion and Science, a debate that will continue as long as mankind exists.
    I liked the commentary, although stimulating at first, Bock seemed to dig in his heals a little. I smelled defensiveness, just good banter both ways.
    Working in the medical field, I use science and proven concepts daily.Just about have to to keep your license, yet I’ve also seen things that just cannot be explained, the “Spiritual” side of medicine. I’ve seen patients who aren’t recovering try Eastern medicine methods (various) with tremendous results. To dismiss this healing potential is, I believe, unethical. Others dont share my view. I individualize treatments, so what works for one,may not work for another. Just be open to new ideas and concepts, even unproven. Just look at most mechanism of actions for drugs in the PDR. You’ll find a vast majority with the comment “exact mechanism of action is unknown”.
    There is a difference between religion and spirituaity. People who go to church weekly call that religion, but are not necessarily religious people. It is the practice of religion and spirituality that sets each apart. Many talk the talk, few walk the walk.
    I’d like to continue this discussion as many interesting concepts were brought up, but unfortunately I gotta go feed the monkey.
    Best wishes to you all.

  39. Bock the Robber on February 24th, 2011 11:55 am

    Rev — It’s good to have our views challenged. Otherwise we get lazy, or else we start to think we’re infallible. I know I need to be questioned on my opinions all the time in case I start to get ideas above myself.

    Doctor Joe — I’m sure you’ll know this old chestnut, but here goes anyway. What do you call alternative medicine that works?

  40. Doctor Joe on February 24th, 2011 12:00 pm

    You got me. Cure?

  41. Bock the Robber on February 24th, 2011 12:04 pm


  42. Serf on March 3rd, 2011 1:54 pm

    @Rev Ed, great article man. Wow though, at no point did I think it would get this much harassment…but don’t take it personal…Bock is a known blogger/antagonist that may have no interest in Dudeism other than to troll just this topic for a few hits on his(her?) homepage. Bock does a lot of stuff for Digg and I have seen the name on other blogs always linked to the homepage. She’s gotta feed the monkey right?

    Anyway, the message is obvious and well written. I get it. And I know a lot of Dudes will get it and like it. Keep rollin man.

    Ordained July 2009

  43. Bock the Robber on March 3rd, 2011 2:00 pm

    Serf — A small bit of respect wouldn’t go astray. Unless you’re a mindreader, you have no idea what my motivations are. I happen to think that the topic raised by Rev Ed is an important and relevant one and while I might be coming on strong in challenging his position I do so respectfuly.

    I’d ask you to show the same respect, rather than ascribing ulterior motivations when you don’t have sufficient information to draw those conclusions.

    Rev, apologies for responding strongly, but my good name is important to me.

  44. Rev. Ed C on March 3rd, 2011 5:30 pm

    @ Doctor Joe – Thanks for the words of support, man. Nice to see you think along the same lines as I do. Look forward to a good discussion once that monkey’s all bloated on chow someday :)

    @ Serf – Also, thanks for the support, good to know I’m flowing in tune with other Dudeists. Afterall, that is the aim of this here public-ation!

    @ Serf & Bock – Steady there fellas. I think we all learned something from the discussion, and that’s what it’s there for. Knowledge comes from an exchange of ideas and that can only inrich us all. There might have seemed to be clashes here and there, but that’s life, and there was nothing violent going on. No harm done, only good.

    ps, when I type, I wear my Bracers of Troll Warding, so I wouldn’t need to worry even if someone was looking to chew my bones over this. Matches my Cowl of Geekery +4 quite nicely, as it goes :)

  45. Rev. Adam Whistler on March 15th, 2011 5:22 pm

    I was positing the other day that the only perceivable difference between science and religion is how currently dominant the paradigm is….in others words today’s religion is yesterdays science…knowledge of how to make, use and maintain fire has to have been one of our earliest technologies…seeking to understand the mysteries behind it, our ancestors naturally ascribed human motivations to it and anthropomorphically deified it…but as our understanding grows and our depth of knowledge increases, new perspectives take the place of the old…now…where science then becomes religion is when there are people who continue to uphold the rules of the outdated paradigm and offer blood, prayers etc. or ascribe magical abilities to the object or phenomena that was so powerful they had to deify it….circumcision is an excellent example of this phenomena, not to mention that our current science, while not repudiating Newtonian physics, has certainly moved so far beyond it that it’s scarcely recognizable…but most people still posses that mechanistic viewpoint, despite the fact that it’s been destroyed by Heisenberg, Einstein, Schrodinger etc….people do still practice phrenology, astrology, alchemy and sound healing….most of us our circumcised.. western science, a hundred years ago, believed masturbation caused madness… so they institutionalized circumcision thinking that would reduce peoples masturbatory compulsion…sooo, in my mind what makes something a religious belief or practice is when it is still in play despite the body of human knowledge having moved past (and often having empirically disproven) it’s objective reality or the context it depends upon….religion is ancient science modern people are still trying to make work

  46. Rev. Ed C on March 17th, 2011 4:23 am

    That’s fuckin’ inner-estin’, Rev. Adam. I think to add to your points there, Religion has certainly backed a lot of scientific movement in the past. You might even attribute some of the scientific revelations in Europe to the funding of the richest institution around, aka, the church. At the same time, plenty of other, less religious cultures, merely toiled and failed to progress.

    The analogy of science and religion being both full of zealots certainly matches up in my books :) Who else can get hurry forwards better than a fanatic?

    But yeah, in the olden days, religion WAS science, and it’s only the spiritual aspect that seperates them. Seeking answers, philosophising… that’s the both of them, all right.

  47. chalupa on March 17th, 2011 9:06 pm

    I dig your style, dude, and the connections you’ve drawn. It’s nice to see someone acknowledge atheism as a religion. So many times I hear people talk about it as if it’s the opposite of religion. Everyone believes in something, even if hat something is their own self.

  48. Rev. Ed C on March 18th, 2011 4:50 am

    Thanks, Chalupa, I dig your style too :)

    Religion, as I awlays say, is the fundemental belief in the way things are. Doesn’t matter what you believe, in God, Gods, no God, science (with or without the aforemention) or whatnot, that’s your faith.

    Religion and organised religious institutions are not the same thing when you get down to it. Religion is personal until you start mixing it with a socio/political structure of such institutions.

    Most of us here in the Dudeism fold are people with a hodge-podge of philosophical/spiritual/scientific beliefs and we merge in certain respects when it comes to the Dudely worldview we share. We are somewhere between a loosely associated group of people who believe roughly the same thing (like Atheiests) and one of those organised institutions. We’re like a half church, half philosophical tag, merged into a social club. Ain’t that great? :)

  49. J.J. Vicars on April 28th, 2011 8:53 pm

    Joseph Campbell wrote that all religion is true when interpreted as mythology, that is, as metaphor. It is not supposed to be historical fact. Poetry not prose. In the West religion became a political tool to control the masses- there’s an invisible man in the sky watching you all the time with a list of 10 things he doesn’t want you to do and if you do any of ’em you’re gonna burn, baby! Get people to swallow that shit and they’ll stay in line.

    Eastern religions like Buddhism, Taoism and Zen seriously differ from Western religions in that they’re basically a philosophy of how things work. Read any of the literature and you’ll notice it basically says “if you do this, you’ll get this result.” It never says what you should or shouldn’t do. You know fire is hot, whether you choose to cook food or burn books is your choice.

    The big split between science and religion is a Western thing, doesn’t happen over here in the Orient. Because when you use an invisible avenger to keep people in line sooner or later an intelligent person is gonna call bullshit, and rightly so. The gods of indigenous peoples were personifications, for the ease of reference so to speak, of the energies of life. Again, poetry not prose. India was great when I was there, so many different religions and none of them in conflict with each other. Why? Because they understood the metaphor. Whatever metaphor works for you on the road of your life is the correct one for you. For those of us on this thread Dudeism is a metaphor that works at least 50% of the time and up to 100%.

    In the West each side has taken it to extremes; religion has surpressed people with its dogma and science has claimed that life is a meaningless accident, thus furthering the divide. But the divide is unnecessary. Yin and Yang, two sides of the same whole. One of most important steps on the Hero’s Journey (Joseph Campbell) is the eventual realization that the hero and his enemy are of the same stuff. The yin and yang of the human mind; we have both intellect and intuition. One over the other? I don’t believe so. Each working with the other for the greater good of the overall person.

    Earlier in this thread, to the best of my knowledge Heather is correct in the use of the word “pantheism” and that’s the definition I’m going with here. All That Is, The Big Mystery, insert-whatever-name-you-prefer comes to know itself by experiencing itself in all its manifestations. When you ascribe to this view ALL life becomes sacred and holy. The Archdudeship pointed it out earlier in this thread, billions of stars upon billions of galaxies, alternate universes, it’s too big for us to ever fully understand. Or as Keith would say to Mick about the Stones, “It’s bigger than both of us, baby!”

    Some people speak of “the meaning of life”. I don’t believe there is one but rather an EXPERIENCE of life. Ascribing to the pantheistic view, All That Is comes to know itself through experiencing its many manifestations. That includes us. Our purpose is to experience this world right here and now. That was what the Zen Dudes were all about, direct intuitive knowing. Zen koans like “what is the sound of one hand clapping” were designed to transcend logical, rational thought. Not abandon it, transcend it. Very important difference.

    The way out of the unnecessary divide between science and religion is to understand what’s poetry and what’s prose. Poetry and art (music, painting, et al) are our species’ way of glimpsing the mysterious source that ultimately too vast for us to comprehend. Whatever metaphor works for you is a good one.

  50. Doctor Joe on May 13th, 2011 5:41 pm

    JJ Vicars:
    Great thoughts. My sentiments exactly. Religion is personal and individual at the same time, or at different times, just depends on what your mind is doing at the time (or tmes). There is too much unknown out there to get all wrapped around the proverbial axle. Life is an adventure meant to be enjoyed until the end…then who knows what lies in the shadows???

  51. Boston Rockbury on June 25th, 2011 7:59 am

    Seems to me that scienceologists can get a little uptight when they realise there’s a whole bunch of stuff out there that works real good which wasn’t cooked up in a lab’ – like say herbal medicine or meditation or yoga or jerking off manually. Science is okay at inventing shit actually it’s pretty fucking good at inventing shit. Problem is a lot of that shit is – well – shit. I don’t see religion causing a whole lot of pollution or global warming. Science is okay but it’s kinda over-reaching itself dude.

  52. Josh on July 12th, 2011 2:38 pm

    There are many roads leading to the top of a mountain. The only Dude who doesn’t get there is the one going round the bottom telling people they’re going the wrong way.

    You can call your way anything you want, science or religion, but everyone gets where they’re going.

  53. Boston Rockbury on July 13th, 2011 1:38 am

    I dig your point Josh.

    I believe it was Carlos Casteneda who wrote:

    “Any path is just a path, so choose a path which has a heart”

  54. Blue$ on November 21st, 2011 10:03 am

    There’s a stark difference between science and religion that seems to be glossed over in this article: the true application of science calls for practitioners to actively look for problems or weak spots in theories, so that they may be corrected and re-worked as new information and research comes to light, whereas religion encourages followers to accept what their preachers/priests/reverends/what-have-you tell them simply because they have authority to do so (authority granted by that same church, i might add. The beautiful thing about science is that even a 12 year old kid can introduce a new theory or disprove one; as long as the claim is scientifically verifiable and reproducible under laboratory conditions, it will stand. Science is an ongoing process of discovery: we come up with a theory that best explains the information available at a given time, and revise it as our understanding of the topic becomes more refined; anyone who tells you that science has ‘proven’ something either does not understand how science works, or is lying to you. Religion, on the other hand, has no standards of reproducibility or peer-review, in fact, entire doctrines have been written on the basis of a chance encounter with an angelic messenger or deity that cannot be verified or reproduced; one simply has to take the word of whoever experienced it. Shit, Mormonism is based completely on one dude’s visions that, according to their doctrine (which he wrote…) were only visible to him because he was ‘chosen’. As for religion changing with the times by branching off into different sects and such, and scientists who still refer to older ways of thinking even when they’ve been dismissed by the scientific community at large, that IS an example of where science and religion share common ground, but only in the sense that it’s people practicing these things, and people hate to be wrong. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man

  55. Rev. Ed C on November 21st, 2011 11:53 am

    @ Blue$ I dig your contribution, man :D

    One of the best things about writing for the DP is that my final word in the article is not the final word on the subject. Where I leave off I always enjoy where others continue. As such, my hat goes off to you for your opinion and the willingness to share it. For with only my opinion, it’s a rather stale subject with my limited scope, but as a jumping point for discussion and addition it enrichens the whole thing nicely :)

    I can only apologise for glossing over the point you’ve made, but my articles are often deemed long enough as they are (and confusing enough, for that matter… Dude Simple serves as a pun and an irony in one!). My points were focused on the similarities and bringing the two disciplines of science and spirituality closer, but that doesn’t rule our their many differences. They’re not the same, but they are kindred in my opinion, and that was my ultimate message in the article. Don’t ignore one and hug the other, shake hands with them both :)

    So yes, I wholeheartedly argee with you on your points. Science is definately the black sheep of the faiths in many, many regards, and more people approach it with rational and sceptisism than people follow it blindly. But then you can say the same about other faiths, that more follow it blindly, but some seek reason and are careful about what conclusions they make and profess.

    We Dudeists are of the gentle opinion that goes along the lines of “we just don’t know”, so don’t like to place bets but do give the odds a good going over out of interest. So we’re pretty good on both science and spirituality. One does not, should not and cannot prove or disprove the other. They are the yin and the yang. And as similar as the yin and yang are, they are also opposites. If’n ya catch my drift :)

  56. Boston Rockbury on November 23rd, 2011 12:53 pm

    yeah baby. Like science is good if you want your kettle to boil faster but don’t look to it if you’re feeling low on love. There is a kind of natural up-tightness thing going on with science. Just relax and let the kettle take its time dude!

  57. Rod on March 15th, 2012 10:28 pm

    Most of modern physics and science are based on imagined thought experiments and imaginary numbers like the square root of negative one. Advanced math is based on concepts that cannot be seen or measured just like god, so don’t negate spirituality based on the inability to perceive or measure it. (all Credit to Ken Wilber)

  58. Greydude on September 11th, 2012 5:42 pm

    Sorry but hating religion is very undude. Some of your first scientist were priests or monks. In fact the standard model based on the big bang theory was first theorized by a Catholic priest who approached Hubble ad Einstein who rejected his theory at first but later accepted his theory and this is the theory we have in place right now.The standard model was created by a Catholic priest. The God Particle knows.

  59. The Arch Dudeship on September 11th, 2012 7:41 pm

    Here’s an inneresting look at the science of awe…might help us see what condition our condition is in.


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