I have frequently noticed people commenting that there are many unanswered questions but science may not be able to provide all answers.
I have always placed complete faith in science and have probably never thought in this direction or probably I am ignorant. Considering that science deals only with the nature, it is understood that it cannot be asked to find answers to questions about the supernatural. After finding the truth about the origin of the universe and the origin of life, the remaining questions are in my opinion just missing links. What are such questions then that science will not answer and why? What are its limitations? Time? Funds? Human resources? Lack of interest or efforts on the part of humans? Or is the present knowledge inadequate for further research? I would like my more enlightened friends here to educate me on this subject.
Time and funds will always be available to answer questions that people are concerned about or even just curious.
I am curious about the persistant human need for believing in The God Hypothesis (TGH) in the face of overwhelmong missing evidence. However, that reearch question - why the majority still needs, craves, seeks to prove TGH and propagate it at great cost and pain - is beginning to attract serious researchers. More on this when I am smarter. . .
Dan Barker (AN member) gives a good perspective on this. He's someone who really did believe in Christianity, did have a feeling God was there when he prayed - unlike many atheists who never "grokked" religion, have no idea why someone would believe in God. He came to realize, all the same, that his religious experiences were all inside his head, and because of his religious past he can tell you what makes the religious people tick.
He calls God-belief a very powerful and convincing delusion. Perhaps we can be sorry for the people who are so powerfully grabbed by that delusion, whose whole lives are warped around it.
Also what science can figure out depends on what research gets funded. Usually you have to persuade some government organization that a question is worth answering.
Yes, funds are becoming scarce and the big bang and evolution have satisfied the questions 'Where we come from?' and 'Who we are?' to the satisfaction of most people and this together with the scarcity of funds may become a limitation in future.
Oh yes, physics especially is very expensive, they build instruments - particle accelerators - a mile wide or so.
And astronomy and planetary science are expensive too - missions to Mars, Hubble space telescope are not cheap ...
There does not seem to be any shortage of funds to throw away on a losing war in Afghanistan, however. $45 billion of military equipment will simply be abandoned there.
Science offers clues as to when and how knowledge began to replace superstition: i.e.
brain and neurological sciences began development in Sumeria and Egypt, 4000 BCE; anatomy and physiology began development in Egypt, 2600 BCE; mathematics, the concept of 0, and algebraic laws began development in Egypt 2000 BCE; physics laws began development in Greece as early as 580 BCE.
My dates and places undoubtedly can be disputed; the principle of early knowledge and places that inquiry reached beyond faith is clear.
Modern science reveals nature's secrets today through the development of all kinds of disciplines. As we are able to shuck off beliefs based on tradition we are able to reach into outer and inner space in ways not possible before the mind was freed from its bindings.
Science cannot answer such questions as "Why was I born?" "What is my purpose in life?" "Who am I?" What is the meaning of life?" "From where do morals and ethics come?"
I don't believe religion answers these questions adequately. I have no reason to be born, I have no purpose or meaning and my morals and ethics come from inside me as part of my equipment, just as sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and feeling are parts of my being.
Why I was born depends on me.
What is my purpose in life depends on me.
Who I am depends on me.
My morals and ethics come from within me.
Sam Harris thinks science can reveal ethics and moral character
Once in the produce section of the grocery store I encountered a woman who started talking about how weird the vegetables were, how she wouldn't eat the purple cauliflower etc. She said she had bought a microwave but hadn't dared to use it.
So I told her, all the microwave is doing is shaking the chemical bonds in the food a little, it's not a kind of radiation that could do harm to food, microwaves are actually better at keeping the vitamins in food, scientists have studied microwaved food and it's fine.
"oh, all those studies are funded by the microwave manufacturers", she says. Any science is invalid if she doesn't agree with it.
Similarly a neighbor with whom I was discussing fracking, electricity and our energy future. I cited a Scientific American article with an apparently reliable source that disagreed with him.
"Oh, you can't trust the corporate media", he says.
Another neighbor up the block brought up vaccination with me; she was wondering whether to get her children vaccinated. I said yes, she should. She says she's worried it would harm their immune systems - an idea with no scientific support - and she says "you've got to follow your heart - don't you?"
So what sources are these people preferring over science and a popular science magazine? Their own beliefs; the ideas of a person they encountered that appealed to them.
People believing what it suits them somehow to believe, and contradictory evidence is put into an cognitive Hefty bag with "corporate media" or "corrupt industry-funded science" or whatever; tied up and put out as trash.
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
― Isaac Asimov