Reflections on Heartstrings #3

Stanford’s essay: Heartstrings #3.

Stanford in her most recent essay foresees the move by the US to set up a military base in South Korea raising tensions and leading to Korean bloodshed, and expresses her dislike of science in promoting in people disillusionment with spirituality.  Naturally, unseen aliens are involved in both.

The setting up of a US naval base in Jeju, South Korea, is seen as an extension of the agenda of NATO.  Apparently it will be a catalyst for conflict and cause tensions between a number of countries.  Locals in Korea are apparently being pressured into accepting the base proposal.  Portrayed by Stanford as evil powers overpowering the voice of a group of good citizens into accepting the base, it is not surprising that there is objection to the base given that much smaller civilian developments often draw objection from people.   As a larger project, military in nature, and belonging to another country even, objection would be expected to be considerably greater.  No doubt the base will bring about changes that will adversely affect some people.  But South Korean decision makers have also to consider the interest of their country as a whole.  The base will bring economic benefit.  But more importantly it will bring strategic defense benefit in the midst of the threats of North Korea and China.  Understandably then, South Korea has decided it is in the country’s best interest to support the base.  There is no need to see this as evil at work by humans or aliens as Stanford suggests.

To the issue of catalysing conflict in the Asia region, that is probably not what the US wants.  The US would be happy to see Asian countries develop economically and play a part in the world’s global economy, as peaceful industrialised countries, ideally sharing democratic ideals.  But the reality is, as Asia develops, some will seek to exert power – in particular China.  This is of potential threat to surrounding countries, as well as to the US directly, and to the West indirectly in potential economic instability in the event of conflict.  Who is going to ensure that countries in the region behave themselves?  As is often the case, this role has fallen upon the US as “global police”.  The US in a similar situation has been instrumental in preventing a Chinese takeover of Taiwan, which the Taiwanese are utterly opposed to, due to US military support in the form of nearby bases like that in Guam.  So, contrary to Stanford’s assertion, the purpose of the base is more than likely to provide stability, not to incite conflict.

Stanford then veers to a different subject altogether, that of the evils of science.  It is not surprising that science would be the subject of scorn, for it undermines Stanford’s beliefs and utterances of truth more than anything else does.  When threatened, the natural response is to either flee, or destroy or mitigate the threat.  Stanford takes the latter option.  Doing nothing is probably not a sustainable option.

The main problems Stanford has with science are:

  • Facts are blended with unproven theory
  • Mathematics on which it is based is flawed
  • Data is falsified by corrupt academics to promote certain views or interests
  • It robs people of intuition and natural instincts, turning us into robots.

There is little of substance here to diminish the merit of science as the best source of truth we have.  Stanford will have to live with the continuing challenge that science poses to her truth, and for that matter, to religion more generally.

Stanford criticizes scientific theory in calling it scientific fiction.  This does not do justice to the theories for which, though an absolute proof does not exist, a substantial body of evidence does exist. Eg Darwin’s theory of evolution.  To my knowledge Darwin’s theory has contributed vastly to our understanding of biology, perhaps even the universe, and so to label it as a mere fiction reveals an overt, small-minded bias.  Unless of course Stanford had an alternative backed with solid argument that could be accepted by experts around the world.  But she does not.   Scientific theories are based on evidence and sound reasoning, they are essential to the progress of science, and they amount to much more than the mere fiction that Stanford ascribes them.  Further, it is hypocritical of Stanford to label theory as fiction because it lacks proof, when virtually nothing of what Stanford says is substantiated with reason, let alone evidence.  Science at least has the integrity to label what they cannot prove absolutely, as theory.  If only the same could be said for Stanford.

Stanford’s further issue with theories is that they are blended with fact.  This is natural however, perhaps not for the religious, who prefer the simplicity in life in which everything comes down to either truth or untruth.  In science, this pretension does not exist.  It is recognized that we are not in a position to know everything categorically as being correct or incorrect.  It is a process of discovery, of proposing ideas, which over time as knowledge increases or more evidence comes to hand, are accepted or refuted.  In effect there are shades of grey of truth during the process of discovery.  It is understandable then, why Stanford as a religious person would reject this complexity and prefer instead the comforting simplicity of her own alternative “divined” system of truth.

Mathematics may have limitations and shortcomings, but it has proven an invaluable and indispensible tool with which to understand and reason about the universe and with which our world has made incredible advances.   It would probably be fair to say that just about anything non-natural around us has benefited from the application of mathematics in one way or another.  Attempting to trash mathematics with the argument that unseen aliens do it better might be fair to the extent that aliens would likely be more advanced than humans – but that’s obvious.   Perhaps then Stanford criticises mathematics to belittle human achievement and to remind us that aliens are great.

As for unscrupulous academics and falsified data, there are such people in every walk of life.  Religious sayers such as Stanford and Chiappalone included.  But surely, if only due to the practice of peer review, in which scientific work is scrutinised by other experts in the same field, standards in accuracy of information would be higher than just about any other area we have.  This includes prediction.  Would Stanford welcome peer review by experts around the world of her own self-published material?  The answer to that probably lies in the degree to which she has appeared in public.  But hardly anyone would bother to scrutinise her work as few self-respecting scientists, or anyone for that matter, would concern themselves with such a slurry of irrational ideas.

Stanford claims in the last point that science robs people of intuition and natural instincts, and a natural link with the creator.  This could be sightly true, but in the interests of scientific endeavour, it is but a small price to pay.   The world could easily afford to have more rational thinkers to counter the imbalance in rational thinking that religions like Stanford’s are partly to blame for.  Rational thinking and engagement of the mind in knowledge and ideas, would in fact lead to a more accurate, more refined intuition and instincts.  Some of the more basic intuitions to which Stanford refers might be misleading – like those that relate to religion.  Not having a link with a creator is a positive in that the link could not bias or undermine scientific thinking and endeavour. It would seem unscientific to assume the theory of the existence of a god, when according to Stanford, as a theory, it is only an unproven fiction.

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