Is Science the modern God?
As Nietzsche exclaimed “God is Dead”, what he meant was enlightenment had ushered in rational thought and the need for ‘God’ as an explanation for the unknown would lose traction. He was quite confident when he said, “God remains dead. And we have killed him.” Not accounting for the ingenious capacity for human imagination and the insatiable need to make known, the unknown.
Despite the rational and scientific revolution, many facts of life have no answers yet, like ‘where did we come from? Why are we here? What is our purpose? And, what is the meaning of life?’. In a quest to find answers for the same, man devised a belief system which either gave him the answers through rules and codifications, as is the case in Abrahamic religions, or set them on a quest to look for the answers, guiding them along the way, believing in the human capacity to find the answers themselves, as is the case in Indic religions.
But as seen with every noble concept, the longer it survives, the more it gets twisted by man to give credence to his belief system and quell the rapacious need of man to have all the right answers. The insecure mind finds discomfort in admitting to the statement ‘I don’t know’. Thus, the believer finds God even in rational scientific questions to which science is yet to find an answer, like, what is dark matter? What is a black hole? And so on. Believers fill in the gaps of scientific explanation with the phrase, ‘It is an act of God.’
In the book, ‘What Science Is and How It Really Works’, by James C Zimring, University of Virginia Professor of Pathology, he asks the question, “Why is it okay to rescue Newtonian mechanics from its failure to predict celestial motions by positioning dark matter (that has no additional deducible consequences that we currently observe), and it is not okay to rescue the theory of God by explaining that horrible things happen to good people as “God works in mysterious ways?” Since both Dark matter and God’s ‘mysterious ways’ are currently unobservable, it is a tricky question. He says, “There are consequences that are testable if our technology becomes advanced enough. It is not inconceivable that we could someday send a probe to an area of space hypothesized to contain dark matter.” But, we cannot send a probe to meet God.
Therefore, like dark matter and meaning of life, there is a thin line in some cases between science and non-science, the work of a scientist and that of a theologian seem similar, both observe the unknown and try to explain the same through their own beliefs and constructs. The only difference being, scientific constructs are testable and can be forecasted, but God’s mysterious ways cannot. They are incapable of helping us comprehend, with any certainty, the world around us.