Article I: No One Knows?

Written by:
Jacob King

Joe Rogan​, the famous podcaster and comedian, discussed on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, the concept of believing in God: 

“The world is a better place if we live like God is real, but, ​honestly, no one knows​. Like, if you say, ‘I know there is a God,’ you’re not being honest; unless you know something I don’t. Unless you’ve died and experienced it... If you say, ‘there is no God,’ you don’t know what you're talking about either. You really don’t know if there’s no God, no one knows.​”

Rogan is right in that it is really hard, especially for us 21st century enlightened ape-descendants who see the world through our Darwinian-fashioned lenses, to know if God exists. Our lenses are also so mask-fogged by all the mudslinging on both sides claiming to know with certainty. Brian Cox, an English physicist and professor of particle physics and astronomy at the University of Manchester, is a rockstar-turned-scientist — turned scientific-rockstar. Cox is selling out massive arenas throughout England and the United States with his Universal Adventures in Space and Time live production. 

And he also happens to be one of my favorite teachers on all things astronomy, with his books like Why Does E=MC2? (And Why Does It Matter) and The Quantum Universe. Cox claims we can know, once and for all, that the soul and the spiritual realm (meaning God), do not exist:

“I would say we can rule the [soul] out actually… I’m damn sure [the mind] is physical. I’m damn sure that there’s nothing going on in my head other than what is allowed by the laws of nature as we understand them… If you can’t measure it, it’s not there… What more do you want? The ingredients in our bodies were assembled in the hearts of long dead stars over billions of years and have assembled themselves spontaneously into temporary structures that can think and feel and explore… so we exist in this little window when we can observe this magnificent universe. Why do you want any more?”

Brain Cox’s argument is damn convincing. Cox makes the persuasive point that if something can’t be proven true through the scientific method, how could you ever be sure it truly exists? Cox also has another interesting argument: “Why would you want any more,” anyway? He is asking, tongue-in-cheek: is there really nothing in this ninety-two billion light-years long observable universe that could possibly tickle your fancy? You really have to jump through a Nine and Three-Quarters Platform to seek ultimate fulfillment, you poor, greedy excuse for a recycled star?

Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and Oxford professor who shot to stardom with his book The God Delusion, said he is "6.9 out of 7" certain that God doesn’t exist. That means, according to Dawkins, you have an almost ninety-nine percent chance of being wrong if you're betting on God.  If those odds are correct, I’ll personally pass on trying to keep that halo clean for the golden ticket to the afterlife… I’ll just stick to buying Powerball lottery tickets to indulge my Hail Mary, one-chance-in-a-billion fantasies. 

The scientific baller and star of Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson, believes there is a good chance we are living in a “Multiverse”: an infinite amount of universes with no beginning and no end, and… no Big Banger. “If we have a multiverse, there’s an infinite number of universes [and] that means there’s an infinite combination of all things that have ever happened, ever; that there is another pair of us having this conversation in another universe…

But with all the certainty that “God,” “the soul,” and the possibility of the “spiritual” do not exist, all of these great and fascinating minds admit what science calls the “hard problem”: consciousness (or what religion calls the soul). Science can’t explain it. Neil deGrasse Tyson said in an interview: “We don’t understand consciousness enough to know what makes you, you and me, me. Why do I wake up as me everyday, and not as you? Or as anyone else? That’s consciousness… That's what keeps me up at night!” Brian Cox even admits of consciousness, what makes you, you and self aware, “The caveat is always ‘we don’t know’ — it's just not understood well…”

If not from “God,” what, or who, is this crazy thing from that's causing brilliant minds like Neil deGrasse Tyson to pop Ambiens like TicTacs? Aliens? Maybe our consciousness is from our Thetan that has lost its identity through reincarnation and needs the mediocre science fiction writer and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, to guide it back into enlightenment?

One explanation I was given in undergrad psychology was that while our ancestors were still highly evolved apes, one of them fell from a tree and hit it’s head on a branch, causing ‘consciousness’ to emerge… shazam! Someone might want to call Will Smith to investigate because it seems there could be some serious CTE in our ape ancestry…

Sir Roger Penrose, a professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford (and winner of the Wolf Prize for physics with Stephen Hawking for their joint contribution to our understanding of the universe), furthered the scientific community’s insomnia when he became an unlikely advocate for the belief that the power of consciousness originates from something that doesn’t “dwell” within the material universe; it's not beholden to any of its laws. Penrose authored the New York Times bestseller, Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness, and in this book, Penrose comes to the scientific conclusion that “consciousness” is not simply calculation; there’s something more to it. Penrose said in an interview:

“You can not formalize your understanding in a scheme that you can put on a computer. What’s going on in our head is not an algorithm. It’s not following rules, it’s something else. Thinking is a conscious thing; understanding is a conscious activity. Conscious activity, like playing music [and] falling in love, [is] not computations. There is something else going on. As scientists, we want to think what is going on in our heads is according to the law of physics; [that] the laws in our heads are the same as those laws…

But they’re not.

Well, what's a person to believe? Is there a “God?” Do we have a soul? Is there such a thing as a non-material, “spiritual” realm where “God” and our conscious “souls'' dwell? Or is science on its way to finally explaining away consciousness, the “spiritual,” and ultimately “God?” 

Ugh, check please... 

Not only is it hard to know which side is right, or even if someone can be right, but, let's be real, who has the time to go Nicolas Cage National Treasure style on this “God” question, anyway?

Life is already so demanding.

With how difficult the “God” question is, and the lack of time we have in our day-to-day lives to devote to it, the most common response we have for it is Rogan’s response: “I guess we’ll find out when we are dead.” But, you’re telling me, what is easily the most important question of our lives — the question of whether we are simply ape-descendants with a conscious, only-material brain roaming around aimlessly “on the surface of a rocky world orbiting an unremarkable middle-aged star,” just awaiting our inevitable slip back into nothingness or do we also have a conscious, spiritual soul that was created for an eternal destiny by the-one-and-the-only Being outside of spacetime — isn’t answerable until our bodies become tree fertilizer? Seriously? 

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