Science is the best tool we have

2015-07-23 06:01

I FULLY agree with you on the idea that the world is not as it seems (Analogy of a windowless room revisited, Fever 9 July­).

I also acknowledge that, at the very miniscule, we change the state of whatever we are observing­ by measuring it. Indeed, we have used science to recognise there may be a limit to what we could ever know. There are things that will forever be hidden from us because of these physical limitations.

Let me elaborate further on my analogy of the windowless room. Say the people outside the imaginary room, let us concentrate on the scientists, see what they think is reality. Now, looking in the distance we find there is a horizon, as that is what our observations tell us. But of course we now know that the horizon is merely an illusion and much more lies beyond it, but say our scientists they don’t know that yet.

They can still speculate about what lies beyond it. Say they use science to finally find that more lies beyond their imaginary horizon and that they have been wrong about a lot of things. Do they then give up, no they continue using their science to find out more of what they do not know.

Yes, it seems as though science cannot solve everything, that it cannot ultimately arrive at a universal truth. I still do think however, that it is the best tool we have to get close to the truth as possible, if such a truth does indeed exist. What we call the “laws” of the universe, are really just generalisations of how the universe has behaved so far.

I also acknowledge that evolution has also been shown to not favour the species that views reality as it actually is, but as a matter of convenience for that species. For all we know, the world we see is not at all as we see it, but how our little brains need to process it.

Still, I pit science as the best tool we have at finding all this out and who knows, we might even be able to surpass our perceived limitations. I may be too optimistic, but not too long ago we thought all the important science discoveries had been made, and this was before we discovered quantum mechanics, nogal.

Sibusiso Biyela

Fever Columnist

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