In a new book called “Endless Universe, Beyond the Big Bang” by Theoretical Physicists Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turock published in 2007, they use the String Theory of matter/energy to put forward a new theory of the origins of the Universe. It still uses the concept of a big bang but says that there is an endless cycle of expansions, contractions, and bangs and that the universe recycles matter/energy every trillion earth years or so. I have just finished reading this book and I am fascinated by this. I am fascinated by the concepts of matter/anti-matter, “Dark Matter,” and “Dark Energy,” and the role these things might play in the Universe to recycle matter/energy. Do they really exist or are they just theoretical constructs to explain what we see when we look up in the night sky?
In a way I feel pity for those in our society who would look up in the night sky and not be curious about Nature. Knowledge is power, so why would someone simply deny the accumulated knowledge of humanity because it doesn’t fit their religious belief? So is denying the accumulated knowledge of humanity, ignorance? Apparently not, according to Christian fundamentalists who will say it is the irreligious who are ignorant. But knowledge based on a theistic belief, is not knowledge, it’s dogma. So if knowledge is power, is ignorance bliss? Of course it’s not. It’s an emotional weakness based on 5,000 years of brainwashing.
We need to return to a time before the concept of God or Gods entered our vocabulary. Did the concept of God or Gods enter our vocabulary when we gradually stopped being nomadic Hunter-gatherers and we became agriculturalists? It seems likely to me. Hunter-gatherers did not see themselves in competition with Nature. They saw themselves as part of Nature and their survival depended on Nature. Agriculturalists see Nature as a competitor that must be placated or battled if they are to survive.
I was born to secular Jewish parents, however, my beliefs have evolved to what atheists would call Naturalistic Pantheism ( http://www.pantheism.net/ ). My own opinion on atheism is that if one does not believe that a hairy old man lives in the sky and watches over our lives, then one is an atheist, end of story. Beyond that, anything goes. So if I want to believe that we are sitting on this ball of matter we call Earth, for some higher purpose than just surviving or existing, I can. After all, knowledge is power and ignorance is emotional weakness. My sincerest hope is that the higher purpose of our evolution and the evolution of the Universe is altruistic and is based on a society that does not abandon or victimize its vulnerable members. And I can believe that there is a transcendent reality that permeates the Universe. And I don’t care if hard core atheists say I’m not an atheist, because I believe in a transcendent reality.