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Religion and Science joining together

Apocalypse Now

The battle between science and religion has been going on for thousands of years and even today there is no conclusion in sight. In his letter to an imaginary pastor Professor Edward O. Wilson pleads with the Pastor to find a way to bring Science and religion together to save the earth because it is in trouble. Wilson argues that there is no real difference between the men and that they are simple beings on the planet who must work together and join forces for a greater cause no matter what their ideology is.

Wilson’s thesis as well as qualifiers can be found in the sentence, “An alliance between science and religion, forged in an atmosphere of mutual respect may be the only way to protect life on earth, including, in the end, our own.” He believes that scientists and religious leaders need to put aside their differences and respect one another’s beliefs in order to save life on earth.

Though he takes the side of science he supports his warrants for the joint effort with religion by stating,                “… all mainstream religious beliefs whether fundamentalist or liberal, is predicated upon the assumption that humanity is not alone, and we are here for life and purpose beyond our earthly existence. Science says that, as far as verifiable evidence tells, we are alone, and what significance we have is therefore of our own making.” Wilson is supporting his side while being open to what the religious beliefs may be and that we are all a part of something larger than ourselves.  “The Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — believe that the universe was constructed to be relevant to Humanity. The discoveries of science were, in unintended opposition, have reduced earth to an infinitesimal speck within an immensity of space unrelated to human destiny.” To which he means that there are different backgrounds to the ways the science and religion work, as one (religion) is supposed to keep the human people faithful and happy whereas the other (science) is more concerned about advances in the earth as a whole without thinking about the well- being of the future which is why the two need to team together to focus on the same thing for the greater good of humanity.

Wilson backs up his warrants by stating, “The spirituality reach of Evangelical Christianity is nowadays increasingly extended to the environment.” By religion becoming more involved with the environment there is a stronger appeal to how the environment is changing and the views of how science has changed things.  In addition, Wilson says, “For decades, conservatives have defined environmentalism as a movement bent on strangling the United States with regulations and bureaucratic.” The way the people in control of the United States have been hiding what is really going on with the environment saying that it is another thing that will ruin the economy is another reason why there was a gap between religion and science. The intended audience is supposed to be anyone who sees the differences in science and religion as never ending and it is supposed to get people to change their views and work together for the greater good of the world.

The way that Wilson tries to get the religious world to work together with the scientific for the greater good of humanity is similar to the Le Vaux article in which he reports of the school in New Orleans with young adults working together to grow produce and compost to gain money for the local economy to build things up again after Katrina. In bringing very different aspects of society together — which may have an ongoing battle of what is correct –   should be the goal in order to improve things on earth for the people now and for the future. Everyone can play a part in saving the environment, everyone needs to be respectful of others opinions and work together for the greater good.

 

 


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Cyberspace

The name says it all:  Identity (meaning the condition of being one’s self) plus Tourism (the act of touring, or travelling from place to place), which equals the act of touring through the wondrous world of one’s self.  And by “the wondrous world of one’s self,” it actually means the Internet.  The title is a reflection of taking another identity (involving race/gender) from the internet, which can translate to other media forms.  To be able to tour the internet with a mask on depicts a creation of a new world, a new (Utopian) reality.  All in the comfort of one’s chair.

Nakamura is depicting a sub-figment of reality, and how it creates and loses identity.  Within this sub-figment comes the birth of someone new, a copy of one’s self with desired traits.  However, one can become engulfed within the Internet and can often lose a sense of reality.  This raises the subtle question within her essay:  What is reality?  What seems like a relatively positive outlook on Cyberspace quickly turns into how it corrupts us as humans, as if cyberspace is like a virus deployed into the “real” reality.  That is just the point of the argument.

Often a claim within a piece is presented at the beginning, like the first chapter of a book.  But Nakamura places her claim towards the end by stating “Performing alternative versions of self and race jams the ideology-machine, and facilitates a desirable opening up of what Judith Butler calls ‘the difficult future terrain of community’ (242) in cyberspace.”  The point?  Putting on a mask over the Internet halts a sense of reality.  Furthermore, because the mask acts as concealed identity, there would be a paradox of falsity and truth behind every word and sentence being murmured, or typed for the matter.  This creates the “difficult future terrain” of Cyberspace as Nakamura has stated.

Such qualifiers that support this claim include LambdaMOO/MUD, and Utopia.  LambdaMOO and MUD are role-playing sites that allow you to choose a (new) identity, specifically a new race/gender.  These type of sites are the epiphany of why “citizens” join cyberspace.  You are allowed to become a new person, with whatever kind of characteristics you want.  You can choose to be a “troll,” (a person who intently causes drama).  Or you can go the route of hacking, observing, or just socializing.  It doesn’t matter, the Internet is your Utopian world, another one of Nakamura’s premises.  Utopia, or a perfect world, is only as perfect as one makes it.  You can only go so far into your new identity before clashing into other “new” identities, where the paradox of falsity and truth finally plays into perspective.  This raises another question within Nakamura’s piece:  Is the Internet a Utopia after all?

Nakamura’s two major premises were:  Utopia and role-playing websites.  Such warrants for a Utopian world of Cyberspace include:  the creation of a new identity, doing (almost) whatever you want without penalty, and making what you feel is perfect, a reality.  There are also negative warrants that stray the idea of Utopia far from Cyberspace, including:  the cloud of mystery behind everything that anybody says (which creates a “scary” new world of distrust), any new laws over the internet (targeting hacking, and threats), and of course, the idea that the sub-figment of reality, isn’t really a reality at all.  It is more less, an escape to paradise, which is another reason why Cyberspace has become our new home.  Warrants from role-playing websites include:  becoming the person you have always aspired to be, and being able to communicate through this sub-figment.  An obvious negative warrant includes a negative clash between two “mask-wearers,” such as a fight between a “troll” and a “non-troll.”  Rarely does anyone have enough bravery to “troll” in real life, so the ideology of wearing a mask is often taken advantage of.

Nakamura’s intended audience is anyone familiar with the internet, but more specifically, anyone that is heavily involved and/or knowledgeable with the (future) community of cyberspace.  Her audience are also the people that are corrupting Cyberspace for what it was never intended to be, and from Nakamura’s perspective, it is a “jamming of the ideology-machine.”  In relation to her audience, Nakamura is implying that us Users have created a new identity over the internet, and have chosen to make cyberspace our new Utopian world.  She is also implying that Users are unaware of Identity Tourism, and have no idea that (we) are falling in what seems like a Black Hole of compulsion (of an imaginary community).  Her final implication, stems from the idea of what I call the Internet being a cigarette.  Those who smoke do so to relieve stress and to escape the problematic obstacles of reality.  We use the Internet as our sweet escape.  It (rarely) solves what we consider “real-life” obstacles, and is often used as a ploy to drug us into a dream world (of Utopia; which can easily transform into a nightmare).

If there were one essay that Nakamura’s source(s) related to, it would have to be the Bryn Mawr Commencement Address, by Ursula Le Guin.  The Commencement Address is all about Father Tongue, the academic way of speaking.  Nobody speaks Father Tongue in “real-life,” outside of research papers, and academic speeches.  It is a mask to conceal how we really speak, which is our native Mother Tongue.  Take Nakamura’s MUD source, an online site used for creating a new identity.  This new mask of socialization, is no different than the mask that students are forced to put on for school.  Both are new identities.  Both are for language, one for Father Tongue and one for Mother Tongue.  The only difference is that the creation of an identity over the Internet is not forced.  And as I related Cyberspace to a Utopian world, speaking in Father Tongue is literally a nightmare, unless a peculiar student takes serious enjoyment out of excruciating academic writing.  The fact with nightmares though is that they perish, just like all research papers involving Father Tongue eventually end with a conclusion.  There is no end to a dream, and there is no end to the Internet, unless one chooses to wake up, or closes an Internet account, such as Facebook.  Identity Tourism is unstoppable, as the awareness of cyberspace grows at an exponential rate.  Losing our awareness of reality though, is up to us.

Article 2 Rewrite


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