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Mind the gap

18/09/2013

If Dawkins is right
Then science knows all
Or will when it’s solved the last problems

A few final enigmas
Black body radiation
And the photoelectric effect

What’s that you say?
They’re sorted already?
Might as well pack it up then
And shut down the labs

If God is infinite
It matters not one whit
How much we whittle away

The mystery remains

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8 Comments
  1. Rex permalink

    Good rendering on the shaky bridge between ourselves and that of Scientific Materialism. Let the mystery remain for Mysticism to be useful in the future as well.

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  2. This is the problem with materialism and the claims of a lot of materialists, they don’t understand that they are limited to a human experience of world-experience and that you never know if you have discovered everything.

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    • My thoughts exactly, Roel.

      What makes me sad is the thought that perhaps many of these people actually live in a deterministic, materialist universe.

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  3. So true the more we know the more we know we don’t know…I don’t nowKNownow but IAM having fun haha! owning my life..hehe..

    And hell yeahaey i believe in magicK2..and numbers 3..with deeper meanings 4anyone who seeks five or more or six or 7ytoreach infinity82againfor1forsureasurecanB…

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  4. I don’t think Dawkins would argue that science knows all. A scientific fact is defined by it being disprovable. And as Thomas Kuhn has argued scientific endeavour expands the things we don’t know as if becomes increasingly specialist. I agree that a certain kind of rational ‘enlightened thought’ presumes to know everything, but of cause falls short because so much is transient, subjective etc. I’m probably taking this too seriously, damn my atheist genes!

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    • I’ve heard Dawkins argue that God exists in the gaps in scientific knowledge and that as those gaps close God will inevitably disappear (hence the title).

      Certainly by arguing proof of a negative regarding the existence of God Dawkins seems to be suggesting that science can or does know enough about everything to drive out the possibility of God.

      But mostly in my poem I was using Dawkins as a symbol of proponents of Scientism, God as a symbol of the unknown and black body radiation and the PE effect as a reference to previous examples of scientific hubris (even Hawkings in ‘A Brief History of Time’ suggests that physics is rapidly approaching the point at which it will be able to describe everything, which suggests to me he should have studied a brief history of science).

      I’m agnostic myself, because I recognise limits to my knowledge, experience and understanding. To me Dawkins and his ilk, by refusing to recognise the boundaries of science inherent in the limitations of the scientific method, are every bit as arrogant and hubristic as creationists who imagine theology can explain science away.

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      • Well that’s a great reply and I certainly don’t want to end up unwittingly falling in to Dawkins’ camp, because I too think aspects of his ‘campaign’ seem to paint an over simplified picture of the world. And I agree too on the importance of mystery, or at least ambiguity and openness. So, I hope you’ll forgive me if my comment seemed critical, your words obviously come from a well through position. 🙂

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  5. A little simple reflection and clear-headedness should dispel any notion that science does, or can know all. One need only reflect back a few hundred years to what we didn’t know then, but do now. At what point can we say the job of science is done? It just keeps going. Further, and more importantly, why assume that the human mind can encompass all of reality. Can we ever know what it’s like to communicate through color as an octopus does? Subjective experience of other living creatures, with completely different anatomies, is beyond our scope.

    While we will easily imagine that every other creature we are aware of has an incomplete perception and understanding of the universe, we fool ourselves into thinking that with our particular anatomy and intelligence, we can apprehend everything. Ours, we think, is the only unlimited combination of senses and mental capacity. Inevitably, however much we do understand (and at some level does it really matter if we believe the universe is expanding or contracting?), we understand it in a human way.

    It seems arrogant and a bit dim at the same time to imagine that all of the universe could be contained in our heads, or Wikipedia.

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