Sunday, January 7, 2018

Faith Vs Science

As the CBS sitcom says It all started with a big bang.
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.”- Mark Twain.
The statement from the great Mark Twain stands the test of time everywhere. Same can be said about the universe we live in.  The more we know and discover about the Universe the more we realize how less we know about the universe. For many centuries we as humans have tried to bridge the gap between what we know and what we don't by creating the mystical or supernatural.
Faith has played a very important role in the development of human civilization. Faith has provided humans with a moral code which is very critical for a successful society. The major caveat with the moral code is that it is a function of time.It needs to amended and updated over time.Faith while preaching the moral code has failed to preach the caveat which according to me has resulted in a lot of issues.
When a country creates its constitution, the makers make provisions for amendments so that when the situation warrants and there is enough evidence they can change and keep the constitution relevant. Science does the same, but faith has failed to upgrade with the pace of change we are experiencing. It tries to fight opponents with intimidation and fear.
Much of the human population believed that earth was the center of the universe just a couple of millennia ago. And there was nothing wrong with that because no one presented a convincing and verifiable evidence against it then. But then many smart and brave minds presented their counter-evidence against this assumption. Faith tried to squash these great and brave minds, many of them paid the price by facing extreme hardships just to tell truth with evidence. Faith never supported and encouraged evidence-based innovation which it thought was always a threat to its rule and influence.
But science and evidence-based critical thinking persisted and we are currently reaping the benefit of the brave sacrifices of those great brave men and women whose discoveries serve human civilization far more than any faith. Becuase of science and technology we were able to eradicate many diseases, increase our life expectancy considerably, make us more safer, healthy, feed this enormous human population, improve connectivity and transportation considerably. The benefits are many and tangible. Just as an example of the first plane was invented in 1909 and we have already sent people or moon and planning to send people to Mars.
There is one thing that I wonder about God. Let say that God somehow created this universe. Now let's consider some facts that we see know for sure. Our galaxy contains billions of stars and there are billions of planets and satellites in our galaxy. There are billions of galaxies in the universe and apart from the small blue pale dot (as Carl Sagan beautifully put it), humans cannot exist anywhere in this vast expanse. Almost everything out there is trying to kill us. So god built a pretty inhospitable universe for us.Alternatively, God didn't make the universe for us, we just came into existence because of the rules of physics, chemistry, and biology that god created. Considering the size of the universe it is was bound to happen statistically.
Now let's look at the planet we live in. We share this planet with many species but we are currently the most powerful. We have successfully obliterated many species from the face of the Earth.Still, we have strived as species, we are growing in number, our life expectancy is increasing, we are more comfortable, healthier and wealthier than ever before. Based on this observation we can assume that God only cares about the well being of humans not how we treat any other of its creation. Now if God is all good and powerful as almost all the faiths in the world preach, why at any time in history, God could not unite all the humans into one religion. There are currently more than hundreds of religions in the world and many have different versions of Gods and the way of life preached by God. Humans have killed each other innumerable times to protect and establish their version of God over someone else's God.
This leaves me to infer that, God is either not all-powerful or not all good (we also keep on changing the definition of good).Another possible explanation is that God doesn't care what happens on this small planet is one obscure corner of the universe. Gods job was to give us tools and it is up to us to figure out the rest.
The only way to create a relevant moral code is to explain to the people the reasoning behind the moral code and inculcate the idea of logical and empirical thinking in every decision of our life. We will have to explain to people that our thinking should always be forward-looking and encourage learning from the mistakes and lessons from the past. Unlike how faith preached today, by holding on to the teaching of the past even though the evidence overwhelmingly suggests otherwise.
As a matter of fact, the current trend is tilted more towards critical thinking than any other time. Around 1.1 B people in the world identify themselves as non-religious which is a really good sign. We have a promising future, because of the effort, hard work and sacrifices of many great and brave minds. We might even become an interplanetary species in the near future which is an exciting prospect.
There is nothing wrong with having a faith and practicing it, the thing that causes the issue when people starting enforcing their faith and beliefs on others. This has been the biggest dispute of the human civilization

Saturday, September 17, 2016

F.R.I.E.N.D.S after college

A caterpillar is slimy, ugly and  struggles a lot  to survive. I don't even know if a caterpillar knows that it will turn into a butterfly someday. I assure you that this cliched analogy will make more sense than a (I)phone without  an audio jack. I wanted to start with something that can represent the feeling that I want to drive home.
Harry and Marv: Influence of friends
F.R.I.E.N.D.S, both the show and people, played a very important role in my life. I think  my friends shaped my personality and have played a critical role in where I am. Not sure whether it has been for bad or the worse, tough I am confident it is not for the good. Remember the villains of Home Alone movie Harry and Marv, they are one good example of the influence of your friends.Be it be their profession or their stupidity. Nonetheless, their friendship and influence on each other made for a great movie.
Here is an example of the influence my friends had on me, I remember being immensely satisfied and somewhat proud  when I scored the highest marks among my friends. Even if in reality I was comparing among the bottom 10 students of the class. It is an accomplishment to be the best of the worse among your friends. I also had friends who were more sincere and better at academics. I tended to perform better when I hung out with them.  And then there were other friends like Harry and Marv.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S at college
Friends I made in college were different from all the friends I had earlier. We all left our homes, there were no one to talk and rely on, except each other. We did not have smartphones and hence relied on each for support (man I feel old now). After a few awkward conversations, everyone opened up and post that there were no formalities. Everyone knew each other's vulnerability pressure points and how to exploit them. The main objective became to celebrate the failure and denounce the successes. Though it may sound somewhat counterintuitive, but it turned out to be a great foundation to our friendship.
There were also some important skills/rules that I learned with these bunch of friends. First and foremost, that your self-respect is as important as the  human Appendix. It did serve a purpose in past,now it creates unnecessary pain, and it would be better to get rid of it. Second, there are very very creative ways to insult your friends.Third, randomness and impulsive decision make the best stories. Fourth,irrespective of the ask, my friends will always do their best to help me and then insult me on the same problem.
Friendship at a college hostel is different because it is a friendship without supervision. It is  a natural selection, with an element of interdependence that differentiated college friendship with every other friendship. I think that college friendships are meant to last the longest.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S after college
My first year after graduation was an extended college with a key difference of having more money and cars. Consequently, there were more opportunities to do impulsive and stupid stuff. Also, most of my friends were in and around the city I stayed.It was one of the best years. But as the Game of Thrones can not go for more than 8 seasons , Harry potter for more than 7 books,Sachin Tendulkar  for 24 years and a friend of mine till 5 ft 5 in tall. It had to end and everyone moved to do something else.

When everyone moved apart I realized that there is a lot of effort and time that goes on making a good friend. The internal jokes,the 'HEIGHT' of jokes, the backgrounds of failures and breakups is hard to find again. Another interesting thing is that after college my friends have started accomplishing stuff both professionally and one personally (Pitin). You know your friends have come a long way when the friend who always made up stuff during college is a guest lecturer at business schools and still making up stuff.
Coming back to the first reference of a caterpillar's life. When you know someone from their early days of being caterpillars. It's always hard to appreciate the extent of their accomplishments. Other people see those accomplishments but college friends see the irony and humor in those accomplishments. One of the biggest departures from normality would be the first marriage (Pitin). I have no idea how this will change our friendship but it will be interesting to see. It is always interesting to see the contrast in reaction when you see someone accomplishing something and when your good friend does the same.
To all those impulsive and stupid decisions and hoping for more to come.