9.28.2006

The Certainty of Science


I was recently having an interreligious discussion on various topics with a group of people of many faiths and beliefs, including one member who held firm to a total belief in science and atheism. When the discussion turned to prayer, he was the most active in the conversation, speaking about the lack of evidence to justify belief in prayer. For some, faith was the only requirement. Others felt that all the evidence had been provided for them.
For the man of science, prayer lacked certainty. He complained that when prayer works out, the faithful claim it is a miracle, but when it does not, the excuses begin. The so-called faithful rattle on about the many reasons why the prayer didn't work. He explained that in science, an experiment can be repeated over and over again with the same result to prove the merit of the belief. I personally have an interest in science, but of course, there are limits to the scientific method. An experiment can only measure what it can quantify. There are forces beyond the reach of scientific tools. Oh no? What does tofu taste like to me? What does it taste like to you? Limited to the perspective of observer, and limited by tools of this age, we can only wonder what is out there, waiting to be discovered. We look back 100 years and see how foolish we viewed the world in the past.
As prayer is not a part of my particular religion/belief system, I cannot give examples to support the claim itself. Nevertheless, the mind must always stay open to possibilities. I asked the man of science if he were so certain if his world of science fit so neatly in a little pink box with a small bow, and that these results were constantly verified. In this chaotic world of change, very little is exact and repeating (minus the general outlines of history).
The day following our discussion, I received an email from the man of science. It seems that his recently purchased car, the miracle of science, the internal combustion engine, failed to start. Jokingly he said that possibly his little pink box wasn't so perfect, but of course, there were many factors that could contribute to the car not starting.
I wrote back, "That excuse sounds familiar. If you listen closely you can hear the walls falling."

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