|God and the Multiverse
by Peter Fotis Kapnistos
(Copyright © 2009 Peter Fotis Kapnistos)
Posted: 12:36 May 18, 2009
When it was originally published in 1902, “The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature
” by William James established the first psychological analysis of religion. It paved the way for the clinical and paranormal branches of psychology created by Freud and Jung.
William James's book remains the best introduction to his pragmatic way of thinking, his almost devotional respect for discoveries of the human mind, and his unique claims upon the significance of personal experience. James's classic study is of fundamental importance not only to the awareness of religions, but to modern psychology and psychiatric medicine. Underscored with personal accounts of belief and possession, intoxication, and near-death experience, James's theories of conversion, saintliness, ecstasy, and mysticism continue to raise new questions and stir up fresh debates.
But some extreme adjustments have been made to the realm of science since then. It nowadays looks as if a groundless (and maybe financial) fear of touching the electrified “third rail” of intellectual disapproval prevents many researchers from speaking out about the varieties of unworldly experience. Just one year after William James published his psychological analysis, Orville and Wilbur Wright launched their famous first aircraft flight. Our contemporary space epoch finally got underway. Today, perhaps space exploration also influences the scientific viewpoint of the paranormal. For regardless of how skeptical we may be of the unknown, there is really nothing very “normal” to be said about walking on the Moon or encountering distant worlds. New technological miracles surprisingly awaken old insights of traditional beliefs. As a result, some of the greatest efforts of modern skeptics to block the bonding of unconscious archetypes are merely wasted labors in our current point in time.
It is often impatiently said that the scientific analysis of unidentified phenomena is a measureless tangle of confusion. Yet, in point of fact, most paranormal experiences belong to around only five chief categories or varieties. This small number of varieties may be interrelated. Hypothetically, they could all be scientifically explainable if irrefutable evidence for the underlying nature of God is precisely established.
Perhaps mankind’s most archaic belief is the idea that the original basis of life dwells in deep space (as opposed to a crystal in a cave, for example). Although countless deities and household idols have played a part in many mythologies of the world, it was almost universally acknowledged by ancient cultures that the supreme creative being and eternal spirit of life was a celestial Godhead or immortal sky-parent who resided in the lofty heavens above stormy mountains and forged a long history of cosmological creeds.
Today, some biologists think the need for God may be a central feature stamped deep into our genome. According to the book, “The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes,” by Dean Hamer, chief of gene structure at the National Cancer Institute, human spirituality may be an adaptive trait, located in one of the genes that also happens to code for production of the neurotransmitters that regulate our moods.
As fate would have it, an unexpected approach is now emerging in the native ranks of evolutionary biology with a brand-new “panspermia theory” in opposition to Charles Darwin’s original “warm pond” explanation. Today, we know that organic compounds are very common extraterrestrially. Because life appeared on Earth shortly after the planet had cooled down, with actually very little time for prebiotic evolution, the most current evidence suggests that life was transported from deep space to the Earth –– by the impacts of comet-type bodies.
Instead of Darwin's little pond, astrobiologists today picture a huge impact crater carved into a seafloor basin where a life-bearing comet once collided with our planet. Here is the starting point of all life on Earth –– an all-encompassing seed (panspermia) for the original roots of terrestrial life. Although not exactly a common phenomenon, there’s nothing magical about such a hypothesis. It simply implies that complex organic molecules were outgassing from a volcanic seafloor fissure made by a prehistoric comet collision. That's probably how life originally appeared on Earth, according to recent facts. And because humans are life forms, we can physically relate to our extraterrestrial seedling –– possibly even on a genetic level.
Francis Crick shared the 1962 Nobel Prize with James Watson for their discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. Crick in addition made public a theory with biochemist Leslie Orgel that complex genetic codes could be spread by intelligent life forms using space travel technology in a process they called “directed panspermia.”
The first panspermia theory was mentioned in the writings of the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras in the 5th century BC. Various scientists including Lord Kelvin and Svante Arrhenius revitalized it in modern times. In the 1970s, Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe proposed that life arrived on Earth by being showered as living cells from comet-type bodies. Recently, a whole range of radiation-resistant microbes has been recognized and has forced us to expand our notion of what is biologically possible in deep space. The latest discoveries strengthen the astrophysical panspermia hypothesis and strongly suggest that life is a cosmic phenomenon. Supporters of the “Electric Universe” theory argue that the plasma astrophysics of Hannes Alfven best explain the synaptic interface of life by the interaction of electromagnetism on cosmic plasma.
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