Opinion: Is Science the Answer?


The industrial revolution, which began in Britain the 17th century, saw the wholescale application of scientific theories to practical uses.

Science had been developing before that for several thousand years, but its industrial uses were minimal. THEN… mankind became the possessor of knowledge and power and energy beyond imagination.

Science steadily overtook organised religion as the new defining principle of life…. or at least, that was (and is) widely considered true.

Organised religion began its decline even more categorically in 1858 with the publication of the theory of Evolution which clashed mightily with the Jewish/Christian belief about creation.

Mankind now has (as Teilhard de Chardin proposed) the capacity to influence the future of the cosmos.

Science has gone from strength to strength. Organised religion is mostly in decline.

What will this mean in the future?

Traditional religious practices may be lagging behind,  but a new wave of thinking is underway. Spirituality. Meditation. Enhanced consciousness. Even drug-taking. These may be signs of what is to come… signs that people are looking for answers.

Science isn’t the answer. Nor is organised religion. Both are simply tools or methods that humanity has used to bring us to this point in our journey. Despite the huge benefits they have bestowed on civilization, both science and organised religion are flawed… in neither case are they sufficient to support or sustain the questing human spirit.

What is next?


I’ve come across quite a few scientists who have become single dimensional… simply acolytes of measurement and willing to believe nothing unless it can be measured. Some are like Richard Dawkins, who is prepared to say categorically that he KNOWS religion is bunkum. I think his attitude quite unscientific. Where is his proof?

Some scientists appear to have CLOSED MINDS, inasmuch as they are only prepared to ‘accept’ an idea or phenomena if it can be PROVEN.

My view of science is one of ongoing exploration…   of being open to ANY idea as a proposition worthy of enquiry.

SO… perhaps we should reorganise our thinking into categories:
1. That which is most likely to be true and to remain so.
2. That which is most likely true unless we learn more.
3. That which may be true but we haven’t yet tested it carefully.
4. A whole heap of stuff that we have no idea if it’s true or not,                                           but which may be either.
5. Some things we are fairly sure aren’t true but…
6. Things which have been carefully tested and are almost certainly untrue.

Of course, not all scientists have closed minds, but there are enough for it to be a stumbling block to the view of science providing all the answers required for us to     live life to its full potential.

I suppose, because scientists are human, there will be some for whom the certainty   of science seems fitting, natural. At the other end of the spectrum will be adventurers who welcome the challenge of testing fixed ideas… although there are perhaps fewer of these intrepid folk than the world needs.

Has science gained dominion over us? Are we not to believe something unless it can be measured and/or proven? Oh dear!! Humanity is now in an era where science has overtaken religion as the prevailing paradigm. YET… despite many advances, we still require a more complete, more integrated way of looking at life.

We need awe. We need meaning. We need love. We need to belong. We need hope. We need answers to the troubling circumstances that distract us. Can science provide adequate answers for these  questions… or solace… or peace? Certainly not yet. Perhaps never.

What can we do? 

Bev Floyd


3 thoughts on “Opinion: Is Science the Answer?

  1. jocelyn henry

    Hi Bev, I love the way your mind asks questions. I think we see science very differently, but I do love the questions you ask and think about
    I look forward to seeing you
    Jocelyn Henry

  2. Brother Mac Campbell tssf.

    There are propositions that are both true and not true; and some that are neither true nor not true. much for the adequacy of our Western thinking tradition…scientific or religious.

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