The Sea Slug Among Zebras – Religion and Politics

It can be reasonably argued that I was “born into the religion of” science.

As a child, my parents attended no religious events of the “normal sort.” Both considered themselves to be logical, reasonable people; and where he never said as much, as a young man, I’m pretty sure my father had come to the conclusion, all of what is standardly termed “religion” was so much hokum.

The result is, he—and to some degree, my mother as well—raised children who were sort of “by default,” scientific atheists.

I credit my parents with doing their level best to remain neutral in each of their children’s “internal argument or discussion” on what to believe. That’s not to say we didn’t come to some understanding of what they believed and how they positioned themselves. You can be sure that had some effect on each of us—different though it was.

I don’t know for sure (and really, I don’t suppose one ever can) what my father left this planet believing. I got the feeling he somewhat reconciled himself with the idea that there was some sort of “supreme being.” I’m not sure we (he and I) would’ve agreed on that being’s “properties.”

As for my mother, I don’t know if she did what she did early on to not be discordant in her relationship with my dad, or if she changed from being and unbeliever, “back to” one who accounted there to be a God (and particularly the One spoken of in the Christian Bible). Maybe she’s where she is now “for the sake of her children;” her husband having passed off the planet basically a decade hence.

All that said, as a child, you should know that I was “reared on science.”

We were taught to “question everything.” I found out later that my father—by intent or not—didn’t really mean “everything.” I say that based on a discussion we had pretty directly before I left my mother’s and father’s house for the last time.

I won’t go into the discussion, but basically, my dad argued that something was true, I asked how he knew that to be the case and he fell back on (paraphrasing), “It just is.” Further discussion was impossible. He “cut the conversation off,” and that, as they say, was that. I don’t know how well my father kept up with the assertion he made and how people viewed it (it was a commonly accepted premise at the time), but the fact is, it has been since called into question in terms of its definite veracity.

All of this is important because it meant I had a “grounding in” science that few get. My father counted himself a scientist through and through; he raised his children to think scientifically, to use reason, to be logical. If no other thing was taught us (and you may trust there was a great deal more), these things were.

As an adult, I came to understand that, for me and others, science was either “religion lite” or the full blown thing.

Many use science as a “replacement for” religious practice. I should point out that it’s possible to act scientifically, and still support a belief such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism or one of a number of other such seemingly irrational “cores.”

These days, I am a firm believer in the idea that there’s a place for the scientific process in life in general—even if I happen to have concluded there’s a pretty major way in which that “process” is “broken.” Without getting into detail, I believe perception is a major “stumbling block” for the scientific process—that people see things differently, and the result is, even supposedly objective observation is questionable at best. Peer review helps some, but really doesn’t “fix the problem.”

Here’s the where we (you may well be saying, “Finally”) come to the “meat of” the conversation.

The “prime directive” of science, according to a good many people is essentially “objectively observe and report your findings.”

One requirement for good observations is standards. That is to say, we must be able to say things like, “This thing has this property,” or “That thing has this function.” In so doing, we are able to categorize whatever we’re talking about.

As an example. “This substance tends to have atoms or molecules that are sufficiently spaced so as to make it possible to push solids through it with minimal resistance, as a result we can conclude the natural and normal state for this substance is gaseous.”

This type of external objective observation is virtually required to “practice science.”

No scientist would allow a substance to “tell” him or her into what state of matter it should fall except by his or her observing it objectively and making the appropriate categorization.

So if a zebra were to, by way of example, magically “find its voice” only to attempt to assert that it were a sea slug, by objective observation, the scientist would come to the conclusion the animal in question was very confused with regard to its identity.

He or she could poke and prod, test DNA, consider environment (steppes or savannah as opposed to the sea), in short, do all that the scientific method expects, but coming to the conclusion that the aforementioned was a zebra not a sea slug, would be the likely result.

The zebra could continue to vehemently contend that it was a sea creature, this would not change what the scientist’s observation made perfectly plain was actually the case.

In my mind, the same thing is true, for example, where men saying they “identify as” women and vice-versa, are concerned. Where one can make an argument that hermaphrodites have a legitimate claim to both being men and women, simple physical observation tells us this is not the case for most folks making such a claim.

There is an older “formerly transgender” gentleman who essentially said, “All I managed to do was to make myself look like that which I desired to be via chemistry and physical mutilation.” Remember, these are not my words. In the end, he was still what he was, and it made him feel no better to attempt to “camouflage himself” as what he desired to be.

It took him something like eight years to figure out that, not only did the changes not make him a woman, but that he didn’t feel better about himself either. By the way, this seems to happen quite a lot based on the numbers I’ve seen. And when he was “done,” and was suffering “buyer’s remorse” for his prior decisions, all he could do was realize his mistake and take what little possible remedial action was left to him. I urge you to not make the same mistake(s).

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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