Saturday, September 18, 2010

Science Has Limitations

As I like to say: "Even if we find a TOE*, where's the rest of the foot?"

As C. S. Lewis put it in Mere Christianity: "Suppos[e] science ever became complete so that it knew every single thing in the whole universe. Is it not plain that the questions, 'Why is there a universe?' 'Why does it go on as it does?' 'Has it any meaning?' would remain just as they were?"

Although Lewis put it better than I can, the thrust of these comments is that science has limitations -- it cannot deal with beauty and ugliness, with good and evil, probably not with thought and consciousness, and it can never, ever explain anything which is not observable in the physical universe, such as the reason for things. Science can never answer the last of the small child's string of "why"s. It can explain why the sky is blue, why the photons behave that way, but it can never explain where its own physical laws come from -- why, for instance, there are exactly three dimensions of space and one of time. (If some future theory should explain this, then the question will simply be: why does this theory apply to the universe?) While this may seem a strange thing to emphasize on a science blog, it is actually the most important thing in all the philosophy of science. Science has limitations, but science's limitations are a good thing. By delineating the boundaries of science, the limitations turn our experimentation to areas where it can produce results, and turn us to the Word of God for those essential questions that science cannot answer: Is there meaning in the universe? Does anything exist beyond matter and energy? What is right and what is wrong? Is there a God? What is God's nature? How can a mere human become accepted by the Creator?

*Theory Of Everything, a scientific theory that (if ever discovered) would explain the actions of every physical object in the universe

1 comment:

  1. We are keeping up with your blog. Deep thinking!