Whether one likes it or not, and whether one considers it anti-science or not (I insist it’s not anti-science in the least in my mind), it occurs to me that the scientific project is inexhaustible. Depending on one’s view of how valuable scientific knowledge is, one will either feel discouraged or like the proverbial kid in a candy store – I prefer the latter. The world, stuff, ‘nature’, etc. is just that interesting.
Consider our vast recent progress (aided by rapidly improving technology) when it comes to peering deeper and deeper past the atomic level; past what we can actually ‘see’ – and into the world of models/theories in search of a simple, comprehensive and elegant understanding of ‘how it works’. We may giggle at ancient views of atoms as little inanimate balls, but is it not easy to imagine (observation is not currently an option this far down) that, say, a gluon is made up of such little solid bits of mass, energy or whatever? I find it absolutely incredible to think that we’ll never get to ‘the heart of the matter’ – pun intended. How would we ever know we’d got there? A sign saying “Hi, my name is ‘indivisible unit’. Nothing is behind me.” Even more fun is the question: How could we even begin to know how ‘far down’ we are? Is it cycles of orbit ‘all the way down’? Are there tiny little universes inside the Higgs Boson particle? Or are there, for that matter, cooking classes, fashion shows and trance dance music going on waaaaaay ‘above’ us?
But to get at the main thought rolling around the back of my mind (occasionally making its way to the front for a few moments in between tasks, etc.), I’ve been thinking about the difference between ‘description’ and ‘explanation’. Even if we had a complete description of a thing (which we don’t – and it seems we won’t), would/could that ever equate to having fully plumbed the depths of its explanation?
“Everything is explicable with simple (!!!???) physics and chemistry.”
Such statement are probably uttered by someone who actually knows very little about either? And “explicable”? Really? If anything is anti-science it could well be that language. I think the only thing we can say (and indeed can ever say) is something along the lines of “We have (basically?) coherent descriptions of what we see.”
Naturally, I’m interested in how this relates to God/faith/religion.
I guess it just baffles me that of all things, science is used as an attempted means at ‘explaining away’ a Creator. I mean, just how far down into the atom do we need to peer to cross the line of certainty enabling us to say “Aha! That’s it! Now that we’ve seen this, we can officially rule out any kind of Creator nonsense…”
How is this any different to just looking at the world without your own personal scanning electron microscope (i.e. with your ‘naked eye’) and just asserting the same thing? (i.e. “Aha! That’s it! Now that I’ve seen grass growing all by itself, we can officially rule out this God stuff…”) In short, why did anyone every try to use science to dismiss notions of a Creator?