Science and liberalism as a
substitute for religion.

An extract from Dr Greg Turek's book: "A Seeker's Journey"

A book published by Knowledge of Reality Publishing RRP. $16.95

I have many friends who firmly believe that science has, or will eventually have all the answers to all the questions. They believe that human beings can discard all childish religious traditions and rely entirely on the abilities of the rational mind and science. I personally believe that these friends of mine have been almost literally 'blinded by science'. Science, in my friends' opinion, shows that there is no right or wrong, no heaven or hell, that religion is totally an invention of mankind to keep society in control. I must agree with them that most religious institutions are man made and have been structured expressly for the purpose of manipulating and controlling populations. However, I also feel that the essences upon which these religions were founded come from a source beyond the rational mind of man. That is, absolutes do exist in the world around us, for reasons which will become apparent as we proceed further into this book.

All physical matter functions according to very orderly mechanisms. We can see in physics and chemistry how properties of mass and energy follow these orderly mechanisms. The properties are 'built in'. The basic building blocks of nature, atoms, have a valency which you could, with a little imagination, see as a kind of 'coefficient' of how that atom can 'behave'. In a similar way, humans also seem to have a valency or 'coefficient of behaviour' built in. This valency sets the parameters and boundaries, or you could say it establishes the absolutes. So let's now look a little down the pathway of science and liberalism.

Science seems to be the most successful and effective form of human knowledge. For this reason we use science to guide us in most things we do. We also form attitudes and opinions based on our scientific discoveries. This is dangerous because science itself has no morality or conscience, it does not explain meaning or significance. People often seem to think that science must always be right, everything can be 'explained scientifically'. Many books have been written encouraging people to believe only in the way of science. I feel that society must resist this tendency to allow scientific determinism to rule all actions and attitudes. We have to use science as a tool for the benefit of mankind, and not to allow science to rule over us.

The computer technology wave has swept over scientific man with incredible speed. But is this wave carrying mankind on its crest to bigger and better things, or is it set to dump us all on the beach with a painful thud? Are computer resources being used to make life on the planet more harmonious and in balance? A vast amount of effort is going into superficial and escapist pursuits. Huge technological theme parks and virtual reality machines will take us further along the pathway of the 'quick fix'. These high tech illusions propel us further away from our inner selves.

Tolerance is of course a desirable trait in human society, but tolerance without deeper guiding principles is like a moving vehicle without a driver. Liberal and scientific man has discovered how arbitrary his life has become. It is very difficult to establish any kind of basic assumption or position, because total mutual tolerance is required in a liberal society. There are no absolutes, everything is relative, (arbitrariness), `we agree to differ' is the way all conflicts are approached. If our two disputing parties have extremely divergent view points, we find the middle ground, because after all we are a liberal society and science has taught us that everything is relative.

For example if one side had the view that all handicapped people should be killed, and the other side had the view that handicapped people should be accepted and helped, a middle ground liberal compromise might be to only kill certain types of handicapped people. Perhaps scientific studies could also be undertaken to determine which handicapped types were most in need of elimination. How does science cope with love and compassion? It doesn't. So you can see that without an underlying tradition of morality or absolutes, science and liberal man can become an out of control monster. Without a foundation of absolutes, liberal man lapses into a type of spiritual fatigue. A state of apathy, in which the search for higher meaning or purpose are of no point. Modern art and literature are full of this apathy, seen in images of anguish and despair. There is no meaning or point to anything. The recent dramatic rise in teenage suicides and fads such as self mutilation (body piercing), further illustrate the confusion, futility and self destruction of the liberal scientific society.

Tolerance becomes apathy because tolerance in itself does not represent a positive virtue or goal. So a tolerant liberal society can easily decline into a society that cares nothing for its sustenance or purpose. At the basis of this confusion which we have in western society, is the lack of 'sense of inner self'. Just as scientific liberalism holds back the moral or transcendent, so it also holds back from providing the individual with an awareness of his place in the world.

In the calculations and discoveries of science, we find everything except ourselves. Scientific man has been cut off from his foundations or detached from his roots. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, 'We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched.'

Dr Greg Turek

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