Of Science, Philosophy and Revelation

Theoretical physicists tell us that at least 95% of the Universe is dark matter and dark energy, of which we know nothing. The remaining 5% is what we know, and we know it through mathematical calculations, approximations and speculations. In these mathematical calculations, many suppositions have been made, many approximations have been introduced and many a time even unfounded constants have been used by theoretical physicists and mathematicians. Of this 5%, only a negligible portion have we actually seen through telescope.

Again, through the telescope we see what existed in the past. Except for a few cases, nobody knows whether a star that we see in a telescope exists at this time or not. But when it comes to religion bashing, some scientists and those driven by militant-atheist ideology make big claims like “heaven and hell do not exist, we couldn’t find them anywhere in the Universe”, “God did not create this Universe” etc. Some have gone to the extent of claiming that God does not exist at all. They say things are driven by natural laws. I wonder which laws – those which General Theory of Relativity has already shown as being inconsistent, those which contradict each other. Even if we consider everything is driven by exactly these laws who in the first place created these laws, who put them into place, who established them?

Let us talk of matter. What is matter? Nobody knows. No scientist knows. Up to the start of 20th century, it was thought we know everything about matter. Then came Plank and Heisenberg and destroyed all our fantasies. Quantum Mechanics told us that we know nothing of the true nature of matter and we can’t know anything. It has been nearly 100 years since Quantum Mechanics came into existence and we haven’t moved even an inch further. Even today, in the 21st century, we know nothing of the true nature of matter. Gone are the days when we used to say matter means atoms, an atom has proton, neutron and electron; gone even are the days when it was held true that it is all about quarks, electrons, neutrinos & bosons and we know about each of them. Quantum Mechanics told us how ignorant we are. It told us the only thing we know to some extent is interaction of particles and this knowledge of interaction has led to all technology that we see around. The more we know about the Universe, the more we realize how little we know. Encyclopedia of Ignorance also points out to this fact.

At the end of 17th century, Newton introduced the concept of Gravity. At that time, we thought we understood all. Now, three centuries have passed but still no one knows what actually gravity is and what is its cause!

We were told by theoretical physicists that all is controlled by four forces—four fundamental forces of nature as they had put it—gravitational force, electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force. But then in the latter part of 20th century, it was said that there are only three forces and now it is being proposed that may be it is only one force and we had understood all incorrectly.

Newtonian Physics told us that Universe is static and it didn’t have any starting point, it always existed which directly or indirectly meant no one created this universe. This theory along with Darwinian Theory of Natural Selection made belief in God and religion somewhat incompatible with science. Centuries passed like this but then we realized it was all untrue. Universe had a beginning and seems to have an end too. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity clearly implied that the Universe had a beginning and is expanding from the very first moment of its creation (later established by Hubble’s observation) but perhaps because of his agnostic beliefs Einstein didn’t challenge the Static Universe theory and perhaps because of the same reason he felt disturbed by the very concept of quantum mechanics.

More than a century has passed, the missing links in the concept of Evolution are still missing. This concept and how it is taught is also put to question, its validity under doubt. Some evidences seem to support it, others seem to disprove it. No final conclusion. Then it was suggested we should continue with this theory until a better one comes to fore.

J.W.N. Sullivan has put it aptly, “A true scientific theory merely means a successful working hypothesis. It is highly probable that all scientific theories are wrong.”

We have famed scientists like Stephen Hawking who made typical militant-atheist type attacks on the concept of God and religion. We have honest Noble Laureate scientists like Einstein who when asked whether he was an atheist, denied that and said I am agnostic. We have incredible Noble Laureate scientists like Heisenberg who vividly said that science and religion are not in conflict with each other, they complement each other. Sir James Jeans also tried to elaborate on the same.

Philosophy: Though philosophy is a separate field of study but here I consider its mention a compulsion. Philosophers from time immemorial have tried to tell us about the meaning this universe carries, about God and about religion. Philosophy relies on imagination. Science relies on observation and experimentation. We must acknowledge the fact that when science has failed to tell us anything about God, religion, the absolute reality and the meaning which this Universe carries how can philosophy (which in front of science doesn’t stand anywhere)! When we critically read various philosophies concerning God and religion we realize it is all conjecture. Neither does it have a solid foundation nor does it lead us to conclusive results.

Conclusion: Neither science nor philosophy can lead us to any substantive understanding of God or of religion. It is God and God alone who can truly guide us in this matter. This necessarily implies that it is only and only Revelation that can show us the path.

The author has a PhD from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and teaches Computer Engineering at Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora.