On science and mankind31 May 2015
My good friend Siwo, discussed some limitations of science in a blog post. He outlined limitations that emanate from human nature, limits in current knowledge, and the extent of observable and measurable universe. Some authorities claim that the limits of science lie in the inability to:
- Assess the aesthetic value of an object,
- Measure morality, and
- Account for the supernatural
Aesthetics, morality and supernatural concepts emerge to preserve or structure a community. More often they propagate a strongly held opinion that strengthens social-political and geopolitical interests and agenda. The supernatural as an abstract concept explains natural phenomena and is riddled with unchallenged dogma. But dogma is not limited to the supernatural, it forms a central component of the scientific method. The difference is that scientific dogma is open to criticism and is reviewed in the light of new data, evidence or proof.
Humans make observations and measurements that are dependent on their senses and interpretation of the world or universe if you like. What cannot be observed, felt, or measured directly is often interpreted as "abstract", or "non-existent". The limit to understanding our universe is therefore in the extent to which we can "visualize" the abstract. And that is why mathematical tools are indispensable in understanding the laws that govern the universe. The abstract notions and equations yield novel theories, insights and perspectives.
The human mind is a fantastic logical machine but is limited by number of calculations it can process per unit time. But now we have powerful numerical machines that are a cause of excitement and concern and that are going to stir the moral and cultural pot for a while.