Last update: Sunday, September 7, 2014
Please note: This page was first posted within the Small Business School website (television series about best business practices). Bruce Camber and his wife, Hattie Bryant, were the creator/founders. Many links still go back to Small Business School.
Constants1 and universals2 are inherent throughout all of life. Most often based on a combination of logic, mathematics, and consistent measurements, these concepts appear to be true throughout all time and within any space (certainly within defined parameters and boundary conditions). Some people believe these concepts can actually open pathways to understand how it is that there is space and time, and human life and consciousness. It is all so bewildering and the sciences and mathematics around these issues so complex and seemingly impenetrable, people everywhere yearn for compelling but somewhat easier answers to these big questions about the meaning and value of life.
Many religions3 are not very religious and are best understood as a cult.4 Some philosophies also qualify. Simply stated, cults are the people and their organized set of beliefs that are primarily based on their founding documents, historic writings lifted up as the highest principles and concepts around which one can orient their life. Though it might seem that many types of organizations could be labelled a cult, it is far from the truth. Although basic beliefs within any organization come from their writings, balanced organizations give as much, if not more weight and importance to their best scholars’ research, writings and teachings about their historical statements and how these work with the constants understood throughout the sciences and universals understood by the most-respected scholars throughout time. Most cults offer more simplified answers to such questions. And for their followers, these answers become their Absolute5 framework, the fundamentals of their belief system.
That definition of a cult is also the beginning of a working definition of fundamentalism.6 It does not matter what the belief system is; fundamentalists are mostly caught up with the fundamentals that have been defined within a particular space at a particular time. As already observed, these are historic moments. The scientific community is not exempt. It has its own group of fundamentalists among their secularists. These folks stridently proclaim that Atheism is the only true “religion” or system of belief about ultimate things. The radical atheists take what has been given by the sciences, and boldly proclaim, “We have the only right answers. This is the Way, the Truth, and the Light.”
Mainstream religions and philosophies context their belief system within our known understanding of universals & constants. Although the focused study of the universals-and-constants is mostly the domain of natural sciences, other disciplines — logic, mathematics and ethics — also open this world. Our best scientists know that their natural sciences are still young and there are many new worlds and universes yet to explore.
Both types of fundamentalists — religious and scientific — fall short.
There are profoundly simple constants-universals that have not been fully explored and are not generally recognized by the world’s scientific community that could begin to change things. A very simple example was the focus of five high school geometry classes that asked, “How many steps would it take to get to the Planck length using base-2 exponential notation assuming nested geometries all the way?” We found about 101 steps going within to the Planck length going all just by dividing each edge within each step by 2 (and connecting those new vertices) and about 101 steps to the Observable Universe going out by multiplying by 2.
We put it all on a board with a full-spectrum color wheel as the background and called it the Big Board-little universe (BB-lu).
It appears to be the first time people would see the entire universe from the smallest to the largest, all mathematically notated and necessarily related, on one long board in somewhere over 201 steps or doublings. Perhaps this simple scale based on the Planck length could open new worlds to explore at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. To the best of our current knowledge, steps 1 to 60 have never been discussed as such.
So, this discussion is not a science versus faith discussion. It is a focus on the ways we approach and interpret both science and religion. It is about exegesis and hermeneutics. Most often those two studies are only about the way we interpret religious texts, particularly sacred scripture; however, both can also be applied to the sciences, especially regarding the limitations of science and the edge of discovery.
How and why do teachers become fundamentalists? Where do they go wrong?
Let us start with a focus on Radical Islam and scientific Atheism. We gave this question some attention within our work with our Small Business School television series that aired on PBS-TV and the Voice of America-TV. We were asking about the root causes of 9/11. Here is a link to those studies as well as a letter to the Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamanei back in 2006. Lumping them with the growing stridency of the today’s breed of Atheists — they, too, are demanding recognition and real power — all types of fundamentalism really need to be studied, compared and contrasted for their use or lack of use of universals and constants. Notwithstanding, because Radical Islam and her teachers demand that we acknowledge them (or they will rather arbitrarily blow us up, and they continue to threaten to kill us), we should begin with these two. Surely both are having the penultimate temper tantrum (intolerance to disagreement) so, from here let us compile studies of the most influential among their current groups of teachers.
A primary challenge for each of us is to define what is universal and constant within our own life. It is no easy task. The summary in the concluding paragraph of this article is a work-in-progress and the initial work is linked here.7 In 1979 that work included many leading , living scholars. It had begun to evolve from a study of physics and the sciences, to include religion, logic, ethics, value, and even business.8
A key question to ask is, “What concepts are shared by all of these disciplines?” Assuming you get a few answers, ask yourself, “What concepts are the most simple?” And also, “What concepts could have a face of perfection?” Those three questions opened the way to this paper’s simple working formula:
The form – the function (a face of perfection) and the imperfect quantum world
Embedded within this little formulation and the statements just above it are links to the first applications of these universals. It goes back to work in 1979 at MIT regarding first principles with 77 leading, living scholars from around the world. It has stimulated many simple explorations that seem to have been overlooked by the academics, most certainly the religionists and the fundamentalists.
A simple summary might go something like this:
Continuity defines order. Symmetries and asymmetries in some manner define all relations. The perfection of a relation is a symmetry. And, a harmony defines a perfection of multiple symmetries within a dynamic moment.
One can use religious language, metaphorical language, or scientific language to describe each. And if done well, that language is an observation of one of the faces of the same thing and each language helps to inform the other. When teachers give too much weight to one language over the other, they begin to lose their balance and fall into the trap of thinking that they just may be smarter than all the others.
Over time such conclusions hurt their ability to think-and-reason. Thank you.
1 An evolving analysis of physical constants within Wikipedia (opens in a new window).
2 An evolving analysis of universals, the problem of universals as well as universal properties in Wikipedia (new window opens).
3 An evolving analysis of nature of religion can be found within Wikipedia (opens in a new window).
4 An evolving analysis of nature of cults, also within Wikipedia (opens in a new window).
5 An evolving analysis of the concepts around The Ultimate, here known as The Absolute, within Wikipedia (new window).
6 An evolving analysis of the word, fundamentalism, within Wikipedia (new window).
7 Continuity equations define most constants and beg the question, “What is continuity?” and Wikipedia has something to say.
8 Wikipedia’s references to symmetries are helpful. However, our challenge is to find the best living scholars to engage. Here Roger Penrose and Lisa Randall offer insights.