"What science finds to be nonexistent, a Buddhist must necessarily accept, but what science merely does not find is a completely different matter. It is quite clear that there are many, many mysterious things." The Dalai Lama
This essay is in response to some email skeptics that have challenged my faith recently. Rather than respond to any individual I chose to write this essay.
If something is not yet discovered to be true, does that mean it does not exist?
No one believed prior to discovering the Americas that there was a whole vast continent of land in between Europe and Asia if you traveled to the west. Columbus may not have found what he wanted, but he found so much more. A land thriving with indigenous people, flora and fauna. The world as it was known then, was to never be the same.
In 1915 a man named Alfred Wegener wrote a book outlining his theory that the earth's continents were not fixed but were drifting atop molten rock. He was vilified by everyone in the scientific community of the day, and the book was called "Utter, damned rot". The pre-eminent geologist of the day Thomas Chamberlain said, "Anyone who valued his reputation for scientific sanity would never dare support such a theory."
Then, in early 1970's armed with facts from the advances in the abilities to measure the earth, the geologist Tuzo Wilson introduced us to continental drift and plate tectonics. The way geologists study the earth was forever changed. Wegener's theories were confirmed, and now his formerly ridiculous book is hailed as full of genius and foresight.
The first sub-atomic particles smaller than electrons, protons and neutrons were first postulated in 1934 by Enrico Fermi. They were not "proven" as inmeasured and seen, until the 1950's when the first particle accelerators were used to smash the atom for observational purposes. So, was the neutrino and the quark non-existent then? Were they any less real? Were those who believed and had faith in their existence right to do so when there was no proof?
Yes, the skeptic would say, because it has proven to be fact.
Yes, in all these cases the wild, outlandish theories turned out to be irrefutable scientific fact. Bless those dreamers, those far reaching men of genius who dared to think well out of normal confines of their comtemporaries.
Do you, or I, or anyone know what the discoveries of the next century will be?
One hundred years ago, in 1905, you would have been laughed out of the scientific community if you mentioned subatomic particles at a meeting of the Royal Society in London.
I am not willing to even try to guess what amazing discoveries are in store for mankind in the future. I think anyone who does is full of the kind of hubris that may drive humanity to extinction someday, or at least to the edge of it.
Why not have the same openness for faith in God, or the belief in the ability to contact those who have crossed over? Is it really so much more far fetched? I do not think so.
However, I am not a skeptic. I choose to be open to all possibilities in the world.
If something has been proven not to exist, as the Dalai Lama says above, then I will certainly concede to that fact.
For as much as anything is fact, in this ever changing world.
Albert Einstein has said, "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are not certain, they do not refer to reality."
A great man, who understood intrinsically the limits of science and the problem of trying to define much of what is undefinable in this universe.
I am proud of my open mind, that I have been told is just naivete. I am proud that to me the future can hold all kinds of magic and wonder. And, I am proud that in that undefinable universe I see God.
<<this was not directed at Paul, Rebecca or Jodi, but to some unwanted emailers, and just to everyone as a good essay I think>>