Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Science is just another religion

It seems these days that everywhere I turn there is another "scientist" denigrating religion. For the most part I agree with them. I also agree with Karl Marx who said, "Religion is the opium of the masses.” and also noted, "Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand.” What the "scientist" refuses to see is that so-called science fits both of Marx's criteria. Modern science differs from what is specifically called religion in only two ways: (1) Science does demonstrate a certain practical accuracy. It is capable of measuring and predicting a wide range of physical phenomena and applying that knowledge to practical, demonstrable functions within the mundane world. (2) On the face of it, that science which is known to most seems to be rational and logical. Most of so-called scientific principles seem plausible. However, plausible is not the same as true. Religion, on the other hand, relies on faith, belief and mythology which in virtually every case cannot be substantiated. It merely attributes anything it cannot understand to "the work of God."

Both of these seeming opposites nevertheless fail to answer the most basic of eternal human questions - "Who am I?" and "What am I doing here?" or even more basic "Why?"

While science seems to adequately explain and even predict some of the details of mundane phenomena, it begins to collapse at the fundamental questions. For example, the Big Bang THEORY, wherein science can tell us what happened just a micro instant after the theoretical Big Bang, cannot with certainty say what happened EXACTLY at the moment or before it or what caused it. And, within the believers in the Religion of Science, there have been those who have discovered all sorts of unexplained phenomena which do not fit commonly accepted scientific principles. One of these which is quite stunning to me is the question of whether light is a particle or a wave. The double slit experiment has demonstrated that light appears as either a particle or a wave depending on how the experiment is set up. In fact most of quantum physics challenges the "certainties" to which the believers in Science so strongly cling.

And we all know that, for most of human history, scientists asserted that the earth was flat. Has 21st century science suddenly arrived at the final, ultimate truth when all those that went before are now discredited? Is it not possible that we have merely come to a more plausible explanation with a greater degree of justification? But who is to say that there is nothing more to learn?

During my lifetime so-called science has changed its assertion on the age of the earth from a few million to several billion years. Science it seems is ever changing. So, how can we ever be sure that we have found the Truth?

Medical "science" provides the strongest example of historical self-contradiction. Blood sucking leeches were once thought to be a medical cure. How can we be sure that the currently fashionable "cure" is any more effective? And how does science explain the placebo effect which occurs in most drug trials? Most of modern scientific research is aimed at finding viable commercial products and services. There is precious little research for the sake of knowledge alone.

Science addresses the HOW, but does not address the WHY. Who is going to answer the WHY?

So, what is the necessity to believe in any of these religions, plausible or not? Is it not our unwillingness to admit that we DO NOT KNOW, that we live in an ocean of cosmic uncertainty? Do we not prefer a false certainty to actual uncertainty?