Monday, November 7, 2011

The Limits of Science

When science experiments cannot provide an answer, it does not mean there are no answers. If science were the only harbor for truths, then abstract concepts would be worthless utilities. This is, of course, foolish reasoning because people have credence in ideas. Human history is a testament to this assertion; there have been more political revolutions over ideas than the outcome of esoteric physics experiments. Why would the English Colonies draw up a constitution about inalienable rights endowed from a Creator, if they didn’t believe "inalienable rights" exist? Certainly science has no jurisdiction over such concepts.

As it is, an answer to one question may not be suitable for another. For example, "What is the meaning of life?" cannot be sufficiently answered by mathematics. When science cannot be an oracle for a truth, another oracle is needed. These "oracles" are classified by the types of truths that they contain. I deduce four types:
  1. Scientific: Truths discovered by experiments (e.g., earth revolves around sun).
  2. Axiomatic: Truths by virtue of definition (e.g., a car is a vehicle on wheels, a vehicle is a device that conveys objects). 
  3. Proofs: Truths inferred by deduction (e.g. since John is a boy and boys are not girls, John is not a girl).
  4. Revelation: Truth revealed by God but otherwise inaccessible to discovery by human reason (e.g., saving faith in Jesus).
Can science explain why the universe exists? No, because the duty of science is to explain how things are; if it explained why things are, it would be philosophy. Can philosophy? It can if the answer is accessible to human reason. Can religion? It can if the answer is truly from divine revelation. Therefore, know the right tool for the right job. You wouldn’t use a hammer to cut through wood, so don’t use science to cut through the meaning of the universe.