I am 100% Scientist and 20% Believer

What does that even mean!? Am I saying that I am 120% human being?

I cannot call myself an atheist, as I do believe in some kind of higher intelligence, but please do not jump to any conclusion before you read text to the end.

If you ask me whether I am a scientist or a religious person I would say that I am 100% scientist and 100% believer. Now, that can be very confusing, as, just a few lines above, I said that I am 20% believer.

Original photo source: "Shadows" by fodt 

Let me give you an example so you could understand me:

Imagine me, as I am standing at 10a.m., in the morning sun. I am a 100% real person; I occupy space and time, and both space and time are there at once. But, also, I have my shadow; my shadow is, in some sense, an abstraction of me. It is an imprint of me in space, while light is shining on me. My shadow is 100% shadow; it is not less or more; it is shadow and represents what it is.

However, the shadow is just a small part of my existence; if I would draw a picture of myself with my shadow, I could say, “OK, this is how my physical form looks with some details, and my shadow is just a silhouette, with around 20% of the characteristics of what would be included in the drawing of me.

When the sun shines, while I am lost in woods, mountains, valleys, or deserts, I could use my shadow and follow it, in order to find my way out. Imagine, in this instance, that I do not have the knowledge that a shadow can give me precise information about time and direction; instead, unknowingly, I am using a primitive belief system, in which I regard my shadow as some kind of helping ghost or spirit, and that belief says that, when I am lost, I should follow my spirit. That shadow will give me intuitive (random) guidance that could help me to find my way out in circumstances where all my knowledge and creativity were not enough to do the same.

Equally, the same belief system could kill me, but, also, being lost in the wild without elementary survival skills would mean, depending on circumstances, a certain death. Staying dormant would certainly kill that person, as well as trying the wrong things. There, on the edge of probability, by the law of random luck, it is possible that some actions would save you, just if you make a move. Also, for those same people, the belief that they are being “guided” could help them to cope with fear, panic, and depression and could engage their faster subconscious mind, helping them find a way to get out of trouble.

Now, what is more important: hard knowledge or random luck bonded with belief?

Well, they are both important. Often, when people concentrate too hard on the shadow while getting out of the wild, they miss the realisation that they were already out. They will ignore other people already around them. Equally, concentrating only on what we know, we can be stuck, failing to realise that what we know may be wrong or is not enough.

Furthermore, if everyone concentrates all the time only on his or her own shadow, they will occasionally bump into each other, and, when they do that, they can even start fighting over whose shadow points in the right direction, as some may follow the direction that points the shadow of their hands instead the one of their head. Others may even die of thirst, not realising that they found the way out of the desert a long time ago.

Faith and imagination are there to lead us and to give us strength and energy to overcome issues, especially in times when nothing is going as planned — in times when Murphy's laws are working at their finest. They are not there to remove our problems or to teach us how to get used to suffering and accept it. Faith is there to teach us how to be strong enough to get up when we fall, in order to overcome and continue after we fall. They are there to urge us to seek knowledge, not by dwelling on the metaphors and always inventing a new interpretation, but by going out there in nature and exploring the world. Faith should be there to tell us that we are the ones who need to invent ways to resolve our own problems.

By using imagination in a directed/guided way, combined with knowledge, people can find inventions and solutions to real-world problems more easily. Although many may assign the source of imagination to divine powers, imagination does not require them, in order to exist. Imagination and creativity are key abilities for any artist (writers, painters, game makers, programmers, engineers, etc.), and, although it can look like they can do their art only with talent, they still need a lot of knowledge, a lot of practice, and effort, in order to perfect their skills. As Thomas Edison many times said, success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

Original photo source: "peppermint candies" by Janet Beasley 

Religion stories are like sweets: they are nice from time to time, but, if you over consume it, there is a good chance you will become fat and lazy, dying of diabetes or heart attack. Spending too much time in those imaginary worlds, just like staying too long in fiction books, without learning or making actions in the real world, could fixate one’s existence in a dream state without the ability to find his way back.

Although it can be fun and easier to live in those imaginary worlds, and it does not really require significant effort, in long run, it does us ill favour, distancing us from real people and the real world. Procrastinating on religious beliefs for too long could make our minds weak and feeble.

In contrast, the will to sacrifice our time perfecting our skills and endurance, while practicing those skills, in order to make them better, even when there is no apparent progress, is what makes us who we are.

In ancient times, people watched natural forces that they could not explain, so they explained everything by attaching godly powers to it; each object or living being had its own god. With the development of the brain, thoughts became more complex, and the language necessary to explain those concepts and ideas became richer. One religious belief fought the other; so, in the end, the majority of the world ended up having monotheistic, reincarnationistic, and folk religions, with the exception of atheism and those who believe that they do not belong to any of those.

Those first books hold knowledge of the first human understandings of the world, morals, ethics, and even about some historical events. As writing systems were primitive at the time, most of those scriptures were copied by hand, often accompanied with military doctrine surrounding the entire process — all that, in order to avoid errors and mistakes.

Nowadays, there are theories that we live in a multiverse with an infinite number of parallel universes. Other theories say that this world, and everything in it, is just a simulation, like in a video game, leaving wide open the question, “Who is simulating all this, and to what end?”

Talking about an overseer, we can theorise that the world is like a fractal, where what we see as a universe and galaxy clusters and super cluster are just brain cells of one larger, thinking brain.

Also, there is the question of whether our understanding of information and consciousness is just lacking. What if consciousness exists in the same time as information? In the same way as an atom cannot exist without interacting with space, and can crate complex molecules with other atoms, in the same way, information, intelligence, and consciousness are inseparable and intrinsic properties of matter.

In that way, the smallest amount of energy or matter, just because of the ability to interact with others in a specific way, in some sense, we could say that it has some kind of intelligence.

And that is it. Once we have theories, in order to discover how our own world works, we need to learn how to turn them into knowledge. By imagining a relatively feasible fictional story, we have created a loadstar worth following. Finding the truth behind it requires brave explorers who will seek knowledge by finding ways to prove the hypothesis we have set in the beginning, and then our beliefs will become science.

Maybe one of those lost 5 commandments crushed by Mel Brooks in the History of the World: Part I (parody of the Old Testament) was “Seek knowledge,” and, if not, most certainly, it should be, as, if supreme intelligence really exists, I personally feel such a commandment would be something worthwhile.