• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Dreamers and thinkers

I've always liked John Lennon's "Imagine," in fact would rank it somewhere in the top 10 pop/rock songs of all time. Imagine there are no religions, countries, possessions to divide us into opposing camps, that we had to deal with each other strictly human being to human being, with only the consequences of those dealings motivating us. That is the essence of idealism, which is the heart of so much good music.

But that's not the same as thinking the things Lennon imagines are possible, or even desirable. Idealism is necessary to hold on to the human promise, but a little realism is necessary to deal with the human condition. This side of great divide, we must deal with human weakness as well as human potential, which requires a little government, religion and a respect for private property.

So here come 150 "scientists and intellectuals," who seem to be channeling Lennon:

People's fascination for religion and superstition will disappear within a few decades as television and the internet make it easier to get information, and scientists get closer to discovering a final theory of everything, leading thinkers argue today.

The web magazine Edge (www.edge.org) asked more than 150 scientists and intellectuals: "What are you optimistic about?" Answers included hope for an extended human life span, a bright future for autistic children, and an end to violent conflicts around the world.

Philosopher Daniel Denett believes that within 25 years religion will command little of the awe it seems to instill today. The spread of information through the Internet and mobile phones will "gently, irresistibly, undermine the mindsets requisite for religious fanaticism and intolerance".

No need for religion? Violence and intolerance will disappear? These people aren't making rational judgments. They are predicting profound change based on what they hope will happen. We could have wished -- imagined? -- that scientists and intellectuals would infuse their speculation with a little more objective evaluation of observable reality.

A little more on Daniel Denett. Here he is, explaining how we might chase away religion the way smoking has been demonized:

Recall that only fifty years ago smoking was a high status activity and it was considered rude to ask somebody to stop smoking in one's presence. Today  we've learned that we  shouldn't make the mistake of trying to prohibit smoking altogether, and so we still have plenty of cigarettes and smokers, but we have certainly contained the noxious aspects within quite acceptable boundaries.  Smoking is no longer cool, and the day will come when religion is, first, a take-it-or-leave-it choice, and later: no longer cool

Posted in: Current Affairs


Fri, 01/05/2007 - 3:21pm

I am not a scientist, I'm a home-based web developer with music as my main fountain of mysticism. I am non-believer, and to be brief, I think the idea of the abolition of the religion that is developing among modern thinkers lately is about a transformation of the religious thought.
It is not about not believing in anything, it is about SEEKING THE TRUTH.
This is an open door to fascination for nature, to fascination for ourselves, to respect to our ecosystem and to look more deeply into the skies.
Think about it, it IS about DREAMING, it is about opening our eyes and searching for the Real God, which is not human-like, God is the word that comprises THE ANSWER TO OUR EXISTENCE (the beginning, the cause, the limits of the universe and the End) and all scientists are looking for it with the best effort they have learned.
We are still religious, scientists are probably the most religious people on earth, they are doing the same thing our ancestors did from ancient times: LOOKING FOR ANSWERS.
It is just we have learned that the correct way to do it is observation, exchange of open information, perseverance and proven methodology.
Thanks to scientists we are CLOSER TO GOD, and they are not the wrong people, they are our best effort to get the answer to the incredible miracle of life, the phenomena which we are part of, the one that still remains away from our understanding... isn't that romantic, beautiful and breath-taking?

Someday we'll see. Meanwhile... enjoy life!

Bryant Hudson
Sat, 01/13/2007 - 10:49pm

At least I never heard Lennon sing, "Imagine quantum physics, it would make Einstein cry . . ."

You should study the history of science more closely - Einstein was a founder of quantum physics and received the noble prize for his quantum physics intrepretation of the photoelectric effect.