I must have sent variations on this letter to the New Scientist five times or more since my book, Sun of gOd, was published. Sure, they might tag me as a nutcase but I saw that as a risk worth taking, and being tagged nutcase has never stopped me in the past.
An article in New Scientist on atheism as a faith, related only to the Abrahamic alternatives, moved me to write them once again. Whoop whoop – after major cutting, they published my letter last week as the Editor’s Pick! I earnestly hope it will plant the seed of stellar consciousness in a few scientific minds.
My long-winded original is underneath. New Scientist did a brilliant edit, but I like to think the redacted content is what finally cut through their built-in rejection reflex. Perseverance furthers.
The Original – Dear New Scientist,
Someone from another planet reading “Faith of the Faithless” (15th April) might easily think the three Abrahamic religions and atheism are the only belief systems on the planet. Buddhists and Taoists do well without any creator god while Hindus can attribute spirit to just about anything. Zoroastrians revere light and its emissaries, Sun and fire. Shinto worship a female Sun goddess.
The most worshiped deity in human history, and one that even atheists can recognise is entirely omitted from the article. Our local star actually IS the light of our life and it is NOT a delusion. The more that cosmologists study Sun and other stars the harder it becomes to explain their behaviour as random balls of plasma entirely directed by the laws of physics. How to explain Sun’s corona or the “magnetic portal” connecting it to Earth, discovered by NASA in 2008? How to explain the movement of stars in a galaxy?
As Carl Sagan put it, “Our ancestors worshiped the Sun, and they were far from foolish…. If we must worship a power greater than ourselves, does it not make sense to revere the Sun and stars?” It was not science that burned all thought of a living Sun from our culture but the Church, and scientists maintain this religious taboo out of habit, not the scientific method. When science lets go of that old Christian imprint perhaps we will, mercifully, be able to consign dark matter to the same dustbin as the luminiferous ether.
Samplers from the interview by Michael Patterson –
…In all of this interrupted personal transformation I came across Gregory Sams’ book, Sun of gOd. I rushed through the first part of the book, impatient to get to Greg’s description of the sun’s scientifically determined attributes. It would be easy to think that, even with no shred of mystical sentiment, a purely rational and scientific assessment of the Sun would fill us with awe and reverence. Here should be the God for atheists. Beyond the Sun, Greg takes the reader on a deeply rational micro and macro adventure to propose that consciousness underpins reality…
I emailed Greg eager to engage him in a conversation. What follows are my questions and comments, and his responses…
Michael Patterson: You seem to be saying that while people don’t want the religious myths as literal renditions of what happened neither do they want to accept the narrative of chance creation with no purpose, no soul, so to speak. What’s in between? Where do they go to get what they need?
Gregory Sams: Today we’ve got just the “all planned in detail by someone like us but a WHOLE lot smarter” option or the “completely accidental” scenario. What about it being self-constructed from the bottom up, with intelligence built into the system? It’s not that preposterous an idea when we recognise that the electromagnetic force pervades all. Since dedicating a chapter to it in the book I have gained a greater appreciation for the quality of the force that manifests in our world as light, in all the vibrations of the electromagnetic spectrum.
from your book “Acceptance (of the idea that consciousness underpins all) opens the door to a veritable Pandora’s box of quackery and hocus-pocus, things that science has “religiously” sought to exclude from its arena. But I am afraid that it is too late. The box is open. Scientists have already discovered spirit and the evidence shouts at them from their own research.”
Michael Patterson: Can you elaborate on the claim that scientists have already discovered spirit? Do they know this, and are denying what they know? Or do they know it, but, because they have ruled out this prospect, are calling it something else?
Gregory Sams: The scientific mind is tightly constrained by a set of religious taboos that have long been in place. During many centuries that the Church maintained a total monopoly on anything to do with “spirit,” any scientist who ventured into that territory risked getting more than their fingers burned. Now they think it is scientifically sound to reject anything not measurable by our existing toolkit.
Now, with our tools becoming ever more sensitive, they are peering into the world of cells and seeing more than five million individual components going about their daily work of eating and excreting and building and repairing and communicating with each other and with other cells. Ever more powerful telescopes and tools allow them to see communities of galaxies and detect the electromagnetic conduits connecting Sun to Earth, exchanging high-energy particles every eight minutes. They study the invisible corona of our Sun and believe it manages many puzzling solar features…(response continues).
Michael Patterson: How did you come to formulate this essentially animistic cosmology? I converted to ‘animism’ after thinking animistic thoughts for many years. Even after decades of involvement the Western Mystery Tradition and Wicca, and with a strong interest in Eastern and ancient Western traditions I stumbled across the word by accident. I think I had come across the idea of universal consciousness before, but when I encountered the idea of animism a penny dropped for me. How did this belief evolve for you?
Gregory Sams: I’ve had that feeling that everything has some smidgen of consciousness for a long as I can remember but think it probably developed in my late teens when I began eating natural and organic foods, having been on a meat-free diet from the age of ten. Being thus better tuned to the world around me made me more connected somehow to organic objects like trees and sesame seeds. As life progressed I noticed connections between our consciousness and so-called inanimate objects, whether lost things, furniture, kitchen implements, office equipment, whatever. We’ve all experienced curious and amusing, frustrating and infuriating encounters with inanimate stuff. I venture to say that our consciousness is some form of electromagnetic field, however that field arises. All stuff, all matter, has some form of electromagnetic field, and is infused with the electromagnetic force that permeates our Universe. Our fields overlap and interact with those of our surroundings and sometimes all the energy needed is enough to aim our eye at a particular moment to reveals something of great value. Being in tune makes a huge difference.