This is not an argument against science but merely a commentary on the unhealthy idolization of science, which through the eradication of alternatives to science, creates illusions of truth. The choice is simple: either accept science (the truth) or be ostracized. All of this is eerily familiar to the righteousness of religion in the middle ages before science took over. But just as fatedly as science came to mankind’s rescue as the knight in the shining armor to defeat the all-powerful religion, science too has started losing its shine and its charm as we are starting to see chinks in its armor.
Why is science the all-powerful, invincible, and flawless force that has gotten mankind on its knees with the sense that it can do no wrong? The reason is the apparent certainty of logic. Some society in the past, perhaps the ancient Greeks, decided that the purpose of man should be the pursuit of truth and that there was only one vehicle to truth: logic, thought of as the process of nature and everything in it including thought. Intuition was completely ruled out as a possibility to reach the complete and accurate truth because truth wasn’t truth if it wasn’t complete and perfectly accurate. Intuition never has a hundred percent certainty and there is no such thing as ninety-nine percent truth. Hence, intuition can never be a means to attaining the truth, it was decided.
Therefore, after science took over, various fields of the study of nature and of truth were sent to the mental institute, so to speak, because they were not completely based on logic, and were therefore irrational or delusional. Examples are the age-old fields of astrology and alchemy, alternative methods of medicine such as acupuncture, various forms of spirituality, eastern philosophy, metaphysics, and so on. To even look at the conclusions reached by any of these fields in relation to the truth was considered absurd. There is only one way and that is the way of science.
Ironically, a breakthrough in science came in the form of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. In the sub-atomic world, said Heisenberg, the position and the momentum of a particle cannot be known at the same time. The more you know about the position of the particle, the less you know about its momentum, and the more you know about its momentum, the less you know about its position. The two fundamental qualities of a particle, its position and its momentum, could not be known together. Thus, no certainty exists in the sub-atomic world. (The book The Tao of Physics offers great insight into the newfound uncertainty in science in quantum physics and how scientists are only beginning to understand what the eastern philosophers and mystics have been saying for thousands of years.)
All this time, science thought there was logic to everything and all of a sudden everything was in doubt because the stuff that everything is made up of behaved in a way that was completely illogical. There had been many scientific revolutions within science, from the heliocentric model of Copernicus to the theory of relativity and the fusion of space and time, but this one challenged the very essence of science: logic.
The tool that was thought to be infallible and completely definite in its discovery of truth was after all not so infallible and definite, as it could not explain the behavior of particles that made up all matter. Now, logic too could not ascertain truth a hundred percent – the same reason that intuition was ruled out as a vehicle to truth. If science were to be completely honest and true to its beliefs, it should at once abandon its facade as the only finder of truth because it once ridiculed and exiled fields of study that used intuition as their tool to find the truth because intuition never gave certainty.
Now science, with a bit of a red face, is beginning to accept that nothing is certain. Therefore, science is now as good as any other field of study that tries to attain truth by means of intuition and other human faculties. In fact, if modesty and humility get any points at all in character judgment, science would have to be inferior to most fields that employ intuition as their main tool because they don’t claim to be a hundred percent certain about truth.
While science has provided mankind with many benefits that are hard to ignore, such as the eradication of polio and malaria in many parts of the world, it has also forced upon us the impression that only it can be relied on to provide answers about the world we live in. Now that we know that even science and logic cannot explain everything, as I think we felt all along with our intuition, it would only be fair to keep an open mind about alternative forms of seeking the truth. The loudest and the most dominant one isn’t always the right one, or the wisest one.