Faith in science
I don’t know how it affects others, but the performance of my brain seems to have plummeted since I had kids. My short-term memory, long-term memory, vocabulary and attention span have all taken a plunge now that my days are just about getting to sunset, hopefully unscathed. And it’s impossible for me to tell how much other factors (crossing the 40 threshold, perimenopause kicking in, changing to mainly vegan diet, pre-senile dementia) are all conspiring to intensify the effects of this changed lifestyle.
Nevertheless, our annual visit to the land of in-laws gives me a three week window to attempt to reconnect with the blogging addiction and catch up with all therein.
On initial reacquaintance with blogging buddy ColorStorm, I was reminded of his sweeping and elegant prose, littered with evocative yet largely irrelevant (from my perspective) metaphors. Here are some snippets from the last few posts.
….truth and lions go hand in hand- that’s one reason why many past customers at my blog have fled for the hills. ….
….True statement. Creation is the science of truth. Evolution is the religion of fools. ….
….I do so enjoy the word ‘plane,’ as in horizontal, ‘level,’ as in sea level, and aeroPLANE, as in traversing something horizontal. ….
…. And the truth will still remain the truth. Truth has the property of water. Level, unassuming, and always correct. ….
Trying to work out what exactly ColorStorm believes, and why he believes it, can be tricky. It involves lots of unanswered questions and wading through long and fanciful comments. My understanding is that he is one of those literal Bible reading Christians – they believe their god did exactly what it says in the Bible. No myths, no metaphors (ironically), all fact. But there are also allusions to the world being flat – is that because there’s a bit in the Bible where someone says a ship will sail off the edge? Something about four corners? I have no idea.
Perhaps as a result of my brain issues, I have no idea if ColorStorm is genuine or playing a game. I’m beginning to suspect he doesn’t care if the earth is flat or round or made by fairies on behalf of his god. He has accepted his god exists and is good and right, so nothing else matters.
What ColorStorm does like to do is point out that most of us take things on faith. I personally have no way to prove that our planet is a globe. I accept that it makes sense and others have proof. I have no way of proving that our universe evolved following a big bang. I accept it makes sense and others have proof. So from the perspective of ColorStorm my faith in the assumed reality of science is the same as his faith in the assumed reality of his religion.
At this point, many atheists who enjoy online discussions on the topic will argue that faith in science is NOT in any way similar to faith in invisible gods. And yet, I’m inclined to think it is for the majority of the population. Because with brain rot now well set in, there’s no way I will personally be checking any scientific theories, and until the day I’m motivated to do so, I am accepting my understanding of the world on faith in other people’s work. Not too dissimilar from religion.
Except I’m under no obligation to draw any conclusions from my faith in scientific findings. I can be religious or not religious alongside accepting that scientists seek and often find ways to express how our universe exists. I can work out for myself, trusting the findings and consensus of more human experts, along with my own observations and experience, what abortion, same sex attraction and gender roles mean for individual human beings.
Unlike most people involved in religions, I have no rule book to dictate what I believe is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in this world. And I believe this is a much healthier way to approach living, regardless of where you place your faith.
There’s a great difference between rational faith (that supported by evidence) and irrational faith (belief without evidence, ie. religion).
Before you fly out I want some recommendations as to new and interesting music.
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I don’t personally have that evidence, it’s faith the evidence is there, which is pretty similar to their position.
I’m not great with keeping up with music. My most recent find is Agnes Obel, Citizen of Glass album. Still a big fan of Christine and the Queen’s.
Love this track from serpent with feet: https://youtu.be/1RPTp-X257g
Classical music with a religious theme, saw this live and it was amazing: https://youtu.be/et8B79uR2Pk
What about you?
Stumbled on DeVotchKa recently, but it seems I’m about a decade late to that party. Empty Vessels is one of those songs you just can’t stop listening to. Gesu no Kiwami Otome is fun, Be Forest, Leave the Planet, and I seriously, seriously want to see Heilung live.
Never heard of any of those, will have to have a listen.
Oooh, Agnes did a Tiny Desk Concert. Only good people do that. I’ll explore, thanks.
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I think you’d like Sol Seppy, especially Enter One.
Yes, yes. Music recommendations please. Violetwisp once asked me wether I liked the Dead Can Dance, and altough I had listened to some of Lisa Gerrard before that, the question actually opened a totally new world for me in music listening experiences, as I have ever since been a bit of a fan of the forementioned orchester. I never got around to comment the question, and I have been meaning to thank for the exellent recommendation. So, here it is: Thank you for the music!
Oh and I agree with John on the other thing also, even if I would rather use the word rational belief, than faith, because faith seems to imply religious belief in the unnatural.
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Don’t sneak in here and thank me then SIDE WITH ZANDE in passing. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed DCD, I wonder how that cropped up – probably the history link. I haven’t listened to them in years, even before I ever blogged.
Well, I am sorry for “sneaking”, that was not my intention as such. 🙂 Possibly you might like the Angels of Venice, if you enjoyed the historical wibe in the DCD.
I think I have several methods of proving, that the planet we are standing on is a globe, but more importantly I do not have to go all the way out there to do so as I reckon to understand how others have done it and how their claims are sound and solid. Same applies to the development of the universe. Therefore there is nothing there I have to take on faith. Faith – as in belief without evidence.
Yet, the fundamentalist religious often do not think their faith is belief without evidence. They actually do think they have evidence, it is merely that they have a rather poor method to get to any reliable evidence on the matter. The problem is, once again, fairly semantic. People do not assign a clear meaning to their use of the word faith. One thinks that it refers to their extended belief in the supernatural despite the fact that they lack evidence and the other thinks it is precisely an expression of belief on something to wich they do have good evidence for (the evidence being their inner monologue, or their indoctrination in a ridiculous claim, that everything that exists has to have some sort of a manufacturer – because nothing in nature appears by itself – or something). The real reason why people assign themselves to such counterintelligent and nonsensical arguments is that their identity is built on their cultural heritage.
You are right, that most people do take scientific and researched facts on mere faith, because people do not have time enough to invest in studying them enough to understand them, or becase they are too lazy to even bother. However, most often it is simply because, wether a claim is true or not does not really dramatically affect their lives (as in the case of the origin of universe) or because they have never even been taught a method to recognize a true claim from a false one – other than the silly notion, that the claim has to agree with some pointless authority, such as the Bible, the Qur’An or any other ancient myth.
People who really do not understand how science works, are left to their own devices to either take any claim on the “authority” of others, be those people parents, teachers, scientists or theologians. People are able to believe that the universe was originated through a natural process, or by an unnatural process involving deities and still live happy and healthy lives. My personal view is, that taking the mythical point about unnatural entities subjects them in a very particular way to all other sort of woo, while disregarding the unnatural divinities does not make them in any way immune to other sort of woo.
In the end it is all about how much do we value the truth. All too often have I heard the explanation to religious beliefs, that they are held because they give comfort, while to me they seem to provide comfort merely to anxieties they have rooted in the minds of people by themselves. It is natural for people to feel anxiety of the knowledge of mortality, but that is natural and an atheist can easily enough deal with it, when a religious person seems to have a need for a greater relief in their fear of death as they do not fear death as much as they fear (well frankly, silly) concepts like a hell.
At the risk of hijacking the lady’s post, and taking advantage of this thread, note what
>>Therefore there is nothing there I have to take on faith. Faith – as in belief without evidence. <<
And herein lies the germane weakness of everything built on this false notion. A house built on assumptions could hardly keep out the rain and cold. No warmth in assumptions.
Faith is NOT belief without evidence, which is the hope of the godless world view. It is precisely the opposite. Faith is tangible BECAUSE of the evidence.
Aristotle and Plato debated these things long before raut was in diapers, yet there is no misgivings as to their life and times. Have any of us seen them, talked to them? No, yet we believe BY FAITH they lived. There is evidence.
Now then, why don't you extend the same rules of courtesies toward king Solomon, his father David, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Seth Adam, when there is just as much good reason for their lives as well. There are these things called chronicles, this is why we date our tombstones, that others can remember and see, WITH EVIDENCE, who lived, and when.
Methuselah lived 969 years. Moses lived 120 years. Today a man's years are north of 70 on average. Obviously something happened to corrupt these years, and the scriptures tells us, using EVIDENCE.
Of course science has its place, via technology, but men are not living again to be a thousand years old because of Jonas Salk, Science has limitations, and proves daily how it is wrong and mistaken. Truth is never wrong but can be mistaken because of lousy theories. It is not however that there is a shortage of evidence.
But more. People tend to rely on the learning of others, and make their conclusions their own……without thinking about the matter clearly for one minute. We become vendors of other mens thoughts. We may as well ask them to eat a meal for us too because we are too lazy to lift the spoon.
In passing, no man alive has seen a 'globe.' Inferences yes, pictures yes. Photoshop yes. Fish eye lens yes. There is no 'evidence' yet you raut swear you have it, and you affirm this by believing Mt Everest is on a daily mission spinning round and round at 1,067 mph, and orbiting at 67,000 mph, and you bitch about others faith regarding things that are a thousand times more clear?????????????
Really, you going with that? Methinks if Everest was on trial, you would be embarrassed to bring such a charge against the mighty, silent, and motionless giant.
Indeed Color Storm, you are the type of fundamentalist, that believes they have evidence for their faith, whom I mentioned in my previous comment, are you not? My apologies, if I have misrepresented you.
You asked: “Now then, why don’t you extend the same rules of courtesies toward king Solomon, his father David, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Seth Adam, when there is just as much good reason for their lives as well.” Having studied archeology in an actual university, I have to say, I am well aware of the evidence for the men you mentioned. I have no particular quarrel for these individual characters in one literal source having existed as such – even though some of them are obvious myths and others might most likely be characters loosely based on some actual people. I find their existance and non-existance a rather irrelevant question, as much as I find the existance of Aristoteles and that of Platon fairly irrelevant. It is the ideas that they represent, that matter – right? I do not find the actual existance of king Agamemnon, Odysseus or Achilles very important, as what we have on them was written down generations after their alledged lives. Achilles and Odysseus have encounters with the supernatural in the stories told about them not unlike David and Abraham. Yet all of these forementioned are typically also described as very human individuals with some typical human flaws and emotional reactions. That makes these characters believable, just like any other character in a well told story – correct?
It is the claims of unnatural events in the forementioned stories, that are unlikely. What does it mean that supposedly David won Goliath by divine provinence? Or that Achilles was supposedly invoulnerable (exept for the infamous heal) by divine provinence? It is quite possible, that a superstitious listener really believes in gods, that help these heroes of old. To the superstitious mind the intervention of supernatural forces is a valid explanation to their feats of heroism. However, meanwhile in the real world, where we have no evidence (other than such anecdotes) of absolutely anything super- or otherwise unnatural, it is much more likelier, that these stories are more like metaphors for bravery, skill, selfconfidence, or even reliance on faith. They could also be based on some eyewittness accounts of surprising acts, to wich the superstitious viewer came up with a superstitious unnatural explanation as they were unable to otherwise explain why David got so lucky with Goliath or why Achilles was such a skilled fighter. What is also very likely, is that the stories got exaggerated as time passed on. Is it not?
The ancient Greek of the day of Aristoteles and Platon had this concept of “deus ex machina” describing theatrical story telling in wich after the playwriter has painted himself to a corner by the twists of his plot, a god appears to resolve any real life problems by supernatural powers and divine provinence. Yet, it seems that all too often even the best of those ancient philosophers were unable to apply the same ridicule on the stories of supernatural passed down to them by generations of cultural heritage. It would seem like they were very ecclectic about what stories of divine provinence they saw as obvious “deus ex machina” -type of events and wich were sacred to them. Same applies to the religious or otherwise superstitious people of today, does it not? For example a Muslim fundamentalist is convinced by the stories in the Qur’An, but similar nonsense in the Iliad is passed by as an obvious myth, the Bible to them may be partly true, but mostly an example of people being mislead about the nature of the divine and in the Book of Mormon as nothing much less than a hoax. Why? Do you have similar views on the myths of other people? How do you know your myths are not myths, but true?
How could we determine that the story about Adam is true and in what sense, if any? We could apply the same rules of courtesies to him as we do on Gilgames. Now we have sources that there actually was a king Gilgames once more than 4500 years ago, but the epic stories about him are from a lot later era only 3500 years old wich makes those stories about as old as the Beresit has been widely considered to be. Altough we now think that the present version is only some 2600 years old. So there may have been a lot of changes to the story – right? The events that happen to Adam are a typical creation myth comparable to several other such myths, but not really compatible with the others, or even internally coherent, not to mention in total contradiction with what we know through science. So, what we have in comparrison is two myths that have similar elements. One is clearly older, in better cohesion with itself and based on an actual historical person rather than a mere myth. But we do not take the supernatural events in either as actual description of reality, rather as mythical and possibly metaphorical. Why would we? They both can not possibly be true, but it is possible that both of them are invented myths. Infact, they resemble exactly what people in the environment and limited knowledge that they had in days past when these stories originally were told, would have come up with. In comparrison to what we know about the history of the planet today, and the fact that we can not possibly prove any supernatural effects on the material universe in the first place – because all our even remotely reliable methods of researching reality are necessarily tied to the natural world – we have no reason to think either is true. Unless of course some of us feel strongly about the mythical threat from their cultural heritage, that not believing these ancient myths to be true, might cost them dearly in some equally mythical afterlife. Is that your main motivation to believe what you believe about Adam? If it is, it is not the same motivation to believe in Aristoteles, is it?
Color Storm you wrote: “In passing, no man alive has seen a ‘globe.’ Inferences yes, pictures yes. Photoshop yes. Fish eye lens yes.” I have actually seen the curve of the planet from an aeroplane, or are you suggesting there was set a fish eye lens on the windows of the aeroplane? Why on earth would anyone go for such a trouble and how many people would such a hoax need to rely on? Yet, as I have said here before, even if I was blind I would believe that the planet we are on is a globe and it would not require any faith on my part, because I do understand the science behind how we have come to determine the shape of planets. Now, as I tried to express in my previous comment, I do not think you, or any other fundamentalist religious person be they Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or what ever, believes what they believe contrary to the evidence they think they understand. By clinging on to the flat earth notion you kind of seem to confirm what I said in my previous comment about fundamentalists having a poor method of how to determine what is for real. I mean you prefer a ginourmous conspiracy theory, in the cases of the shape of the planet, the evolution, biology, geology, cosmology, and history over the studies presented by scientists, without ever even trying to delve into what the scientists are actually saying. Do you not?
Do you see the the Mount Everest where you live? If not, then behind what is such a great mass and tall mountain hiding that you are unable to see it? If you and that great big mountain are on the same plane on a flat earth you should be able to see it no matter how far it is. The moon is by far furher away, I mean it has to be even if the world was flat, because it rises beyond Mount Everest, but you can see it clearly. Can you not?
If it’s any comfort, my sister has all just had a baby and crossed the 40 threshold. “Brain rot” is something she has bemoaned on more than one occasion, so, on the strength of a sample size of two, I’d say you’re in good company.
To your article, isn’t this the difference between blind faith on the believer’s part, and acceptance of empirical reality or scientific theory, on the part of the non-believer? To me, that’s the real dichotomy. Paraphrasing Ricky Gervais (I believe), if religion were wiped off the face of the Earth today, some form of belief would come back, but not in the same way we know it today. If all scientific achievement were to be forgotten or destroyed, it would eventually come back *as it is today*, because it’s based on reality, on a set of, as I understand it, fairly immutable laws. That’s the distinction I make, in any case.
I don’t know where that “all” came from. Fat fingers on a smartphone keypad.
I’m doing all this on my phone. I’ve given up caring about what the screen chooses to show… something will make sense in there.
Oh, it was meant to be an “also”!
I completely agree, it’s just that again we are faced with assumptions because we can’t recreate those conditions to test what would actually happen. From my perspective it’s probable, but from a religious believer’s it’s not, and all down to where we place our faith. I don’t think it’s a problem, it doesn’t dent my understanding of science or increase the likelihood of any religion, I just no longer feel it’s a valid argument for me.
That’s funny about your sister. Everyone swears it passes as they get older, but I’m still waiting….and losing hope. 🙂
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Well, we personally can’t (or at least, I can’t; I’m not a scientist). I don’t feel any need to be able to reproduce the entirety of scientific endeavor and acumen on demand, to satisfy the incredulity of someone who believes in faeries. I think that comes from a warped but understandable place of having one’s understanding spoon-fed to one in a finished state of inerrancy. I don’t have religious faith in science; I trust in a method, the findings of which those who have the requisite subject-matter expertise are able to reproduce. This isn’t “blind”, but “deferred” or “delegated”, for want of a better term. I have that conversation quite a lot, with my parents, for example. It would take a remedial course on basic science (the scientific method) and how it works, not to mention a basic course on how to think.
I agree with you VW. Both in trying to make heads or tails of CS, but also in regards to how many might view science.
I think the important way to look at the difference is this:
If we were to remove all knowledge of evolution everywhere…in minds and books…evolution would be discovered again. That says something important about the reliability of the scientific method and volume of evidence.
If we were to remove all knowledge of all religions from minds and books we would not have those religions anymore. We might have new religions with new and interesting moral stories, but the evidence simply isn’t there to actually support the rediscovering of a particular religion.
This of course doesn’t prove that there isn’t a God, but it does speak to whether we should take the narrative of any one religion more seriously than another. And while you may take evolution on faith in some way, brain problems aside, you could very easily learn the necessary biology, view the necessary evidence, and convince yourself. Faith is not a requirement. It is only a requirement of religion.
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I agree. The problem is you have no way to prove this supposition so I’m taking it on faith. And Christians like ColorStorm presumably believe the opposite – their god would reveal himself if he wished and more heretical science would be created by heretics to disprove their god. Each side fervently believes their version.
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I know there is no way to prove that but rather it’s a way of thinking about the differences. The fact that people routinely come up with new discoveries about how things work based on evidence is no different than the rediscovering of evolution. And in fact kids rediscover things routinely in school (if it’s a good school).
The fact that the scientific method produces both reliable and repeatable results demonstrates that it is a better way of knowing than divine revelation, which in addition to not being able to prove that’s it happening always seems to fit precisely into the cultural norms and the current state of knowledge at the time of supposed revelations. No original idea is even posited about living better that didn’t already exist. That doesn’t even touch the surface of the logical contradictions a Christian must hold simultaneously to even make it all work. The fact that belief can overcome these contradictions is the worrying part.
Again, any scientific theory is accessible to you too examine evidence, and this simply isn’t the case for religion. You must take it on faith. With science your are only choosing to taking it on faith because it is convenient and you trust in expertise, not because there is nothing there. CS willfully ignores evidence to maintain his worldview. And maybe his worldview works for him and that’s fine, but I don’t think that equivocates religious faith to the trust we put into the scientific method.
It maybe also depends a lot on who you are exposed to on a daily basis – secular scientists or other religious believers. The ‘evidence’ could simply be everyone around you confirming it’s true. Much like me with science.
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Good point. I agree that we can surround ourselves with people that think the same way and thus not realize the difference in expertise or how expertise is actually achieved. By there are better and worse bubbles to be surrounded with if you are actually interested in understanding the universe. I would simply argue that most humans are probably concerned with emotional well-being first and this is what drives the bubble they build around themselves.
Music stopped when ABBA disbanded …
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I posted recently a quote lifted from a Religious Nutter site, in which said RN berated one ‘Colorstorm’. I guess even religious nutters subdivide into wee camps … so, God, Sir—which is THE one True Camp?
Did I see you over on Tiribulus? A rare visitor for him.
I hope he enjoyed the ol’ dog’s company. (Not every religious fruit-loop does.)
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Not only is my short term memory bad, but so is my short term memory…
As far as colorstorm is concerned, from my experience his need to believe in something and his flavor just happens to be Christianity, coupled that with the dicometry of scripture forces one to throw in the towel on reason and just say—I believe. It’s all they have surrounding them.
I remember a point in my belief where I just said to myself, I don’t know about all this, but I’m throwing my hat in the ring with Jesus and believe it all. If he were to allow one concession the entire thing would crumble and he knows it. It’s faith by choice, and there’s no other sense about it but he wants to.
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I am not sure CS ever wants to be understood.
We are largely irrational, unfortunately. As to whether there was a singularity or inflation, we can’t say for a fact. We can speculate. I think the most we can do is accept that what we have is provisional and can be improved as our knowledge increases
I must say Violet, you are pretty fair in this post, and tkx for using my inspiration as the propeller to get a conversation flying.
But scripture literal? Of course, when it is obvious. The nuances of speech separate us from the grunts of warthogs, and reasoning goes a long way in explaining why songbirds are quiet in the black of night, while the bats in the belfry are having a field day.
But without God in the mix, (not god thank you) we are but lost as fog and more blind than bats, 😉
But do note, true science is never threatened by the testimony of scripture; after all, the Creator gave us brains to understand HOW things work. Nature is the finest of teachers. But you are correct in that you admit we all take everything on faith.
A child jumping into her father’s arms from a wall will believer by faith and on the word of her father, that she can trust him, having never jumped before. But her faith is not blind. The evidence of an already existing relationship gives her this confidence.
There is PLENTY of evidence God has already existed long before we argued against Him. 😉
The Bible says the Earth is flat:
“Daniel 4:10-11. In Daniel, the king “saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth…reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth’s farthest bounds.” Only with a flat earth could tall tree be visible from “the earth’s farthest bounds,” — this is impossible on a spherical earth.
Matthew 4:8: “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world”
Luke 4:5: “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.”
Isaiah 40:22: “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.”
Or the Earth is unmoving, at the centre of the Universe:
Joshua 10:12-13: On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.
1 Chronicles 16:30: Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
Psalm 19:6: It [the sun] rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.
Psalm 93:1: The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is established, that it cannot be moved.
Psalm 96:10: Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.
Psalm 104:5: (Bless the LORD . . .) Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
Ecclesiastes 1:5: The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
Rather than what does CS believe, I would ask, what he thinks he is doing.
However I can demonstrate the Earth is a globe from my own experience. I use GPS on my phone. It detects messages from satellites. It would not work without satellites orbiting the Earth.
Tkx clare for the honorable mention, and it would be rude of me if I didn’t say so; not many people quote the scriptures to make the good point of others, so tkx for taking care of my light work.
Can I just add an observation to your Joshua reference regarding the sun. It was common knowledge to our ancestors, who did not have to rely on the crutches of the intertoobz, where a guy could choke on information or die of indigestion because of the sheer volume of available nonsense, but rest assured, the good man was well aware of the ten degrees movement of the sun…….an observation proven in fact and in reality, as it is still today.
As to your Ground Position Satellite, tks be to airplane photo technology, aka, GPS, ha! Butterflies, bees, and ants, just to name a few, have long utilized gps long before there were wires, while cell phones today mysteriously do not work when a truck goes up the road.
But tkx again for the scripture texts. Loved them all.
The beauty of science is that it does change constantly as new things and possibilities are discovered. It’s not frozen.
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