Friday, September 21, 2012

Will the Origin of the Universe Elude us Forever?

What are the limits of human knowledge? Will we, mankind, one day have in our possession, all the knowledge of our universe? Or, are there some things that man will never understand? And if there is knowledge man can never understand, will this be due to the limitations of our instruments to obtain this knowledge, or is there some knowledge that itself is so complex, that the human mind will never be able to process, similar to how a software program today cannot run on a Windows 95 PC? Is the origin of the universe within the realm of this theorized limit to knowledge, along with the existence of god?

Some of the objections that atheists like me have with religions is that they misrepresent the origin and age of the cosmos, the origin and diversification of life, human nature and sexuality, and finally many of the most popular religions implant a false human-centered perspective of the universe, leading to among other things, an impediment of scientific understanding and research. To say that something is unknowable is to confess ignorance, but not at all in the negative sense. It is more ignorant to assert divinity into what is not known than to plead ignorance.

We do not know currently what, if any, limitations to human knowledge there are. If one claims that god lies outside of the scope of knowledge mankind can posses, it is in a way like pushing god out of the light of scrutiny when we momentarily have our backs turned. It is precisely because god and the supernatural rest comfortably outside the scrutiny of the scientific domain that atheists like me are not willing for god's existence to be seriously considered. The atheist incorporates into their belief system that which can be known empirically, as well as that which can be known theoretically through the window of scientific understanding, and god doesn't make the cut.

It has long been said that science answers the "how" question, and religion answers the "why" question. But as Dr. Lawrence Krauss iterates, the why questions presupposes a creator, it presupposes intention from some intelligence. What if life happens and we know how, and it happens for reasons absent of an intelligent designer, much how evolution works? And what if universes happen absent of a creator? In these cases, the "why" question becomes irrelevant. But by asking the "why" question, theists are creating for themselves, their justification for the need to have a deity.

I do not know myself what man's limitations are in his search for knowledge. It seems that in recent years we have made some significant strides towards a great deal of understanding about our universe, but they have as a consequence, allowed us to know just how much more there is that we do not yet know. In other words, we now know that we know a great deal less than we previously thought we knew as result of recent discoveries. That means that we have a great wealth of knowledge ahead of us yet to be obtained and we should look at this as an opportunity. Not knowing, is exactly what makes science so interesting.

I have the persuasion, that one day, perhaps long after I'm dead, our scientific knowledge will encompass all there is to know about the universe, including its origins. Science will eventually destroy religion, it's only a matter of time. That is not to say that there won't be millions that cling to religious faith; I never suspect religion dying out altogether. I imagine science having the clear upper-hand making the case for all the mysteries that remain in our universe, not unlike how it does with evolution today, but with a much larger consensus in its favor. As more people adopt scientific knowledge and reasoning through education, they tend to be less and less inclined to insert religion and faith as an explanation to that which they did not previously know, and this can't happen too soon.

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