The universe presents us with reality; tangible things and observable phenomena. We try to make meaning of them. The meaning we make, i.e. our theories, are not real, tangible or observable. In this case, the geological and fossil records and observed biology are “real”. Our babble about these facts is just junk we make up.
I see no qualitative difference between human beings including myself, and my dogs, or dolphins and whales, chimps, wolves, or many other animals. I happen to be good at language and abstract symbols, but my strength and sense of smell are pathetic, and I’m a poor swimmer. I’m good at making and using tools, but chimps do that, too, just not as well. I can create intricate poems and songs. Dolphins and whales may do that, too, but I don’t know because I can’t figure out their language. So any theory, idea, or belief that insists on a qualitative difference between humans and other animals is worthless at best.
I don’t understand the scope or nature of the universe, of reality in total. I have a hope—a faith, if you will—that the struggle and suffering of life has some point and isn’t blind and pointless. To believe this is definitely a matter of faith, because there is absolutely no evidence for it. I just want it to be true, and focus on the possibility that it might be.
But there’s another kind of “faith” that is characterized by magical thinking, denial of reality, and obsession with imaginary friends and supernatural beings. Personally, I think this is the Dark Side of our skills at language, symbol, and poetry. It’s our way of using these skills to feel less afraid and alone in the universe. And this sort of “faith” will always be at war with science, which is merely the quest for more reality and for non-magical explanations.
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