This painting is about my personal truth.
A truth, for me, that is based in science. It follows an evolutionary journey that enables us to precisely define who we are as human beings.
Our biology; our history; even our morality.
Inevitably, I believe the light that shines from scientific awareness leads us to question the fundamentals of the world’s religions, basic untruths that seek to avert our eyes from the truth.
The major theme of the painting is evolutionary tree of life.
‘The Truth’ honors the legacy of many great men such as Eratosthenes, Charles Darwin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Edwin Hubble, Isaac Newton, Leonardo Fibonacci, Kenneth Miller, Frank Drake and Stephen Hawking.
‘The Truth’ dissects the origins of the world’s foremost religions by interpreting ancient astrological traditions passed down from Egyptians pharaohs.
It examines the transitional evidence of fossils and sedimentary layers.
It respects the clarity provided by genomes and mitochondrial DNA.
It embraces the Hubble space telescope for the light that it shines on distant galaxies.
Let us talk for a moment about ancient Egyptian traditions and astrology.
Historians refer to the Egyptians “Book of the Dead” with origins that go back some 1800 years before Christ, as being the precursor of the Old Testament’s Ten Commandments.
Purportedly, Moses, (a prophet of God in Judaism, Islam and Christianity) received the Ten Commandments from God on Mt Sinai, centuries after the writings in the “Book of the Dead”.
Yet, these Ten Commandments bear an uncanny resemblance, in their phrasing and nature, to twelve specific behaviours, ancient Egyptians were required to deny before proceeding through the underworld. In ancient Egyptian times, agriculture was governed by the role of the sun.
The Winter Solstice, December 21, was the day when the Sun was the lowest in the southern sky. It remained motionless in the sky for 3 days. It rose again and headed back along the horizon on the 25th of December. Gods SUN had risen and was reborn. At this point the ancients considered that the sun had actually died. In fact, the great orb would remain standing still for three days neither moving north or south. Then, it was noticed, that on the third day, the sun would begin moving northward again. So it was, “the resurrection” after three days of death, was the sign (from the sun) that people could plant their fields again.
The resurrection of the dead went on to become a central doctrine of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
December 25th was subsequently the date chosen as the traditional date for followers of many different religions to celebrate the "rebirth" of the sun. Numerous pre-Christian religions honored their gods' birth or rebirth on or about that day. Today it is the date Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Much of Christian symbolism was derived from astrological beliefs that stem back to Egyptology. What’s the insignia for Christ?’ It’s Pisces the fish, symbolic of the fact that Christ was purportedly born into the astrological period of Pisces.
When Moses came down from Mt. Sion (meaning Sun Mountain) and he saw the people worshipping the "Golden Calf", he got mad at them. All of this was metaphorical as, during that time, the period of Taurus (the golden calf) was waning and Aries was rising during the vernal equinox.
Astrology also explains why the Jews blew the rams horn after they received the Ten Commandments because it was the dawning of the new astrological period wherein the ram symbolised the sign of Aries.
There is ample evidence that Islam incorporated syncretically from other religions, particularly Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. Christianity appears to have emerged from Christian/pagan syncretism with many Jewish and Greek symbols and traditions re-incorporated into a Christian context. Even Judaism can be seen to have arisen out of the pre-existing monotheism that was briefly imposed upon Egypt.
Yet even in ancient times men of science did exist. 350 years before Christ was born, Eratosthenes, an astronomer, geographer, philosopher and mathematician, came to the realization that the Earth was round.
His scientific experiment began with a man pacing the actual walk from Syene (where at noon on June 21 vertical sticks cast no shadows) to Alexandria. The distance was 800 kilometers. He then positioned a rod in each place and he found that the two rods at the same period of time in each different place caste different angle shadows. He reasoned the suns rays are parallel when they reach earth but the greater the curvature of earth, the greater the difference in shadow lengths. From those different angles he determined the distance between Alexandria and Syene had to be 7 degrees along the surface of the earth, approximately one fiftieth of three and an sixty degrees. He multiplied the 800 kilometers by 50 and reasoned that the circumference of the earth must be 40,000 kilometers around the planet. That is the exact distance around the Earth.
Yet centuries later, there was still religious dogma in Europe during the Medieval Ages that maintained the earth was flat and it worked to stifle scientific process and undermine the search for truth.
There are other scientific truths that have their origins in early civilizations.
The Golden Mean (or ratio) is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.6180339887 that has been adopted by many artists and architects in the proportions of their works and studied by many mathematicians for its unique and widespread properties. This is a universal number, which many believe is a design basic of Egyptian Pyramids and attributable to the dimensions of the Greek Parthenon. It is also a universal number, which has been shown to be applicable to all living creatures, plants, animals and birds…even whales and humans.
In the 12th century Leonardo Fibonacci was a sophisticated mathematician famous for applying practical mathematics to challenges. It led him to develop the famous Fibonacci sequence in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. This sequence has proved extremely fruitful and appears in many different areas of mathematics and science.
Ironically, the mathematics of the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci sequence are intimately interconnected. However, Fibonacci's work in number theory was almost wholly ignored and virtually unknown during the reign of the Church in the Middle Ages.
I want to talk about my beginnings. It is true that I attended a Catholic Boys school, but my questions, which would eventually lead to my atheism, began as early as the age of ten.
When I was confronted with the Bible’s rendition of the great flood, and the story that water covered the world, I simply could not accept that this was the case when Mt. Everest stood at 29,028’ Ft. high.
Later, my studies revealed that 300 million years of sedimentary layers in the Grand Canyon highlighted layer after layer of a vast evolutionary process. The transitional fossil record proved that living creatures developed over time. It was inconceivable that God created the fish and the birds and the trees on separate days.
Personally, I think that Charles Darwin is probably the most influential human being that has ever existed because he told us our place within the universe and this planet and that we do not need a God in any sense to be who we are.
We have come along way since the Origin of the Species in 1859. If he were alive today Darwin would be astonished.
Paleontologists have uncovered evidence in the Arctic of the Tiktaalik, which takes us back some 370 million years. The fossilized proof of an intermediary form between fish and amphibians. The “fins” have basic wrist bones and simple fingers, which were, actually weight bearing and enabled the species to adapt and develop out of the oxygen poor shallow water habitats of its time. They have also proved Darwin’s theory that whales, fish like on the outside, were actually mammals. Today we have the fossils of whales with legs.
Moreover, we now have DNA sequencing technology. We recognize 3 billion base pairs of the human genome. Even more interesting to scientists studying evolution is the variation in the human mitochondrial genome, which has led to the postulation of a recent common ancestor for all humans on the maternal line of descent.
When I look to the heavens it is not God I am thankful for but Edwin Hubble, and others like him, who brought us the advent of modern cosmology and the means to visually access 150 billion galaxies and the 400 billion stars that exist in our galaxy alone.
I believe we are rapidly reaching the point in our evolution of consciousness where we need to become more aware and more accountable. It is no longer appropriate to say I believe because I have read the truth in a holy book. We need to see the truth, through the evidence.
The truth is that our morality as a species is innate in us. It was not handed down to us in tablets on Mt Sinai. We have learnt over hundreds of thousands of years to assist each other on an evolutionary scale to survive in a very hostile primordial existence.
The truths of evolution, along with many other scientific truths, are so engrossingly fascinating and beautiful.
The time has come to recognize this truth and to unite as one.
It is becomingly increasingly clear that the world's biodiversity is imperiled on a scale unmatched for millions of years. As forests are cleared, oceans acidified, diseases spread, and the atmosphere warmed, many species face serious threats to their survival.
Yet throughout the world today millions of young minds are being poisoned against a scientific education. In many instances 50% of the population, the female percentage, are being denied any education at all. Did Eve really have us thrown out of the garden?
While we continue to teach that unquestioning faith is virtuous we ignore the vital scientific questions related to widespread extinctions and the reorganization of entire ecosystems.
The truth is, all species on earth today share the same lineage, we reside in the same garden.
The universe beckons. The truth is out there. Are we capable of uniting our collective conscience to embrace our dreams and hopes in science? Or are we doomed to divide down fundamentalist lines by tossing out evidence and reason?