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Does Science Have All The Answers?


smac97

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Interesting:

It's not your average confession show: a panel of leading physicists spilling the beans about what keeps them tossing and turning in the wee hours.

That was the scene a few days ago in front of a packed auditorium at the Perimeter Institute, in Waterloo, Canada, when a panel of physicists was asked to respond to a single question: "What keeps you awake at night?"

The discussion was part of "Quantum to Cosmos", a 10-day physics extravaganza, which ends on Sunday.

Here are the seven questions:

Why this universe?

In their pursuit of nature's fundamental laws, physicists have essentially been working under a long standing paradigm: demonstrating why the universe must be as we see it. But if other laws can be thought of, why can't the universes they describe exist in some other place? "Maybe we'll find there's no other alternative to the universe we know," says Sean Carroll of Caltech. "But I suspect that's not right."

What is everything made of?

It's now clear that ordinary matter

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smac97:

A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. :P IE While I wouldn't presume to try to tell you the law, asking questions, even pointed ones, about it is fair game.

My perspective as a social scientist. No science can never have all the answers. The best we can do is accurately describe the natural world around us.

Ask a scientist a scientific question. He'll give you a scientific answer. Any other question you'll get an answer, but not necessarily a scientific one.

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..who?

Name and shame please...

Oh, I recall a Dr. someone who argued that the only thing that could produce the light in the stones on the Jaredite barges was lethal radiation, and several people who argued that science already completely understands consciousness and how the brain produces it. There are more, but those stand out.

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Oh, I recall a Dr. someone who argued that the only thing that could produce the light in the stones on the Jaredite barges was lethal radiation, and several people who argued that science already completely understands consciousness and how the brain produces it. There are more, but those stand out.

But that's not what you said. You claimed these people were saying science has all the answers. In your examples, you only cited people who claimed science could explain specific things.

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But that's not what you said. You claimed these people were saying science has all the answers. In your examples, you only cited people who claimed science could explain specific things.

Someone who says "the only thing that could have produced this effect" is effectively making a claim that science has already catalogued everything that could produce such an effect and has dismissed all but one possible explanation, which incidently also doesn't work, since it would kill everyone. It wasn't really a claim that science can explain something specific, but a claim that science can exclude all possible explanations for a given story - proving it fictional.

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smac97:

A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. :P IE While I wouldn't presume to try to tell you the law, asking questions, even pointed ones, about it is fair game.

My perspective as a social scientist. No science can never have all the answers. The best we can do is accurately describe the natural world around us.

So why do secularists point to "science" as a basis for denying the existence of God? I don't think science can make that determination.

Ask a scientist a scientific question. He'll give you a scientific answer.

Well, maybe. Scientists can have their blind spots, biases, etc., just like the rest of us. They are working with incomplete data and flawed-but-ever-evolving understanding of those data.

So when a secularist claims to rely on "science" rather than "faith," I think he's blowing smoke. He's relying on faith too, just of another sort.

-Smac

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Religion can't answer any of those questions either, except to say "Because God did it or wants it that way", which really isn't an answer at all.

I think you cheapen what religion has to say by distilling its answers to the Big Questions to nothing more than "Because God did it or wants it that way." Religion has a lot more to say than that.

My personal religious beliefs do a pretty good job of answering the Big Questions. I don't have all the answers and specificity I would like, but Mormonism answers some biggies:

  1. Does God exist?
  2. What is our relationship to Him?
  3. Where did we come from?
  4. What is the purpose of our sojourn on earth?
  5. What happens to us after we die?
  6. What is our ultimate destiny?

Now, you may claim that our answers to these questions are wrong, or wishful thinking, or whatever. But you can't say that these answers don't exist.

-Smac

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I thought it was patently obvious that science does not have all the answers and never will, but some on this forum seem to disagree with me.

I don't think "science" has the answers to the really important questions. Not really. The answers to those questions, IMHO, come from revelation.

-Smac

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Someone who says "the only thing that could have produced this effect" is effectively making a claim that science has already catalogued everything that could produce such an effect and has dismissed all but one possible explanation, which incidently also doesn't work, since it would kill everyone. It wasn't really a claim that science can explain something specific, but a claim that science can exclude all possible explanations for a given story - proving it fictional.

Even if that were the case, it would be limited to the single event of the glowing rocks. That doesn't mean science can explain everything.

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So why do secularists point to "science" as a basis for denying the existence of God? I don't think science can make that determination.

Because religious explanations of how the universe works have so often been shown, through scientific inquiry, to be wrong. The logical conclusion is that those who have claimed to get their knowledge from their gods have not.

Science doesn't replace gods. It replaces "revealed knowledge" as a better way of obtaining knowledge about the world and how it works. If I want to know why there are rainbows, what causes epileptic seizures, and how all our languages came to be, I will get better answers from science than from holy books.

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Smac97:

I don't know why some people do a great many things they do . I wish I did but I don't. I've had an idea running around in my head for a few years now of writing a book. "Why people do the things they do". As you can tell I having gotten very far on that book. :P

OH we have our blind spots, and plenty of them. That is one of the self correcting things about scientists. One scientist probably does have a particular blind spot. However another equally talented scientist probably will not have the same particular blind spot. Take that over all the scientists in the world, and chances are very good that we will be able to see a more complete picture than one scientist alone. That is why science works by consensus. Albeit we are/will be always trying to complete the picture.

The problem of religion in general is that it is not a self correcting model. It is whatever God you happen to believe in says it is. The LDS are not immune from this phenomenon, but we do have a diminished way of correcting by means of revelation from our God.

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So why do secularists point to "science" as a basis for denying the existence of God? I don't think science can make that determination.

Which current theory of secular science should be discarded in favor of a previously held religious (or supernatural) explanation? How often do scientists look at a "natural" theory and say "Boy, we got it wrong. We should have stayed with that theory that involves God"?

Has that ever happened?

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Religion can't answer any of those questions either, except to say "Because God did it or wants it that way", which really isn't an answer at all.

This is my thought exactly in reading this thread. Smac is using this to tell us why religion is superior to science, yet Mormonism or any other religion doesn't give any answer to these intriguing questions.

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Of course science doesn't have all the answers, at least not at present. Religion doesn't either, at least not at present. However, as someone who believes in a God of Law and who doesn't create out of nothing, it is rather easy to reconcile both science and religion. God is the Great Scientist. He knows all the Laws and he knows all the principles that are needed to keep those laws in check. We often see discussions about whether man has learned more than he is able to handle on a moral and social level. God doesn't have this problem, which is probably why he has allowed us to gain knowledge in progressive steps rather than giving it to us all at once.

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Has anyone ever argued that science has all the answers?? Or, for that matter, that science is perfect? If so, I've never heard it. The only argument I hear is that science provides a MUCH better mechanism for determining the nature of the universe than religion. Are you saying that since science can't explain everything that it shouldn't attempt to explain anything?

I go back to my Zeus example. What would you say to an ancient Greek citizen who said that Zeus was responsible for lightning and thunder? Would you use science on him? Do you think he would accept that science, or would he tell you to take a hike because he KNOWS that Zeus is throwing lightning bolts?

I am convinced that 500 years from now, people will laugh at all the things we credit/blame God for. Just as we laugh at those who really thought the Greek gods were responsible for plainly simple natural events that we take for granted.

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Of course science doesn't have all the answers, at least not at present. Religion doesn't either, at least not at present. However, as someone who believes in a God of Law and who doesn't create out of nothing, it is rather easy to reconcile both science and religion. God is the Great Scientist. He knows all the Laws and he knows all the principles that are needed to keep those laws in check. We often see discussions about whether man has learned more than he is able to handle on a moral and social level. God doesn't have this problem, which is probably why he has allowed us to gain knowledge in progressive steps rather than giving it to us all at once.

If God is the Great Scientist, who exercise his power by merely exercising the laws and powers of science, then shouldn't we worship science instead of God? It would seem in your model science is the greater power and God is subordinate.

If God is a God of Law, but God is not the source of the Law, we should find the source and worship that. If it is the law, worship the Law, if it is the source of the Law, we should call that God and and worship that.

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