What Are Four Things Science Will Never Explain? – #1 Post of 2011

Post Author: Bill Pratt

I’ve been reading physicist Edgar Andrews’ book Who Made God? and he claims that there are four things science will never explain.  Here they are:

  1. the origin of the universe
  2. the origin of the laws of nature
  3. the origin of life
  4. the origin of mind and thought

Andrews understands that when he claims science can never explain these four entities, all sorts of protests ensue.  He says:

Of course, atheists (and even some theists) will immediately cry foul, declaring that just because scientific explanations are not currently available it doesn’t mean they never will be.  Science is progressive and new discoveries are being made all the time, so that what seems scientifically impossible today may be scientifically explicable tomorrow.

I recognize the force of this argument but intend to stand my ground. The claim that, given time, science will explain everything is simply the atheist’s version of the God of the gaps. The gaps in our knowledge can be plugged, they say, by future (but as yet unknown) scientific advances. Thus the ‘God of the gaps’ is simply replaced by the ‘future science of the gaps’ — same gaps, different deity. It’s what philosopher of science Karl Popper called ‘promissory materialism’.

You’ll have to read Andrews’ book to see why he thinks these four will not be explained by science, but the basic reason is that each of these four (universe, laws of nature, life, mind and thought) consist of properties that transcend the material world.  Since science is only able to investigate the material world and not what transcends the material world, science cannot, in principle, ever explain these things.

I highly recommend Who Made God? as a very accessible and entertaining read that posits the God hypothesis as an explanation for the universe, laws of nature, life, and mind, and then presents evidence to uphold the hypothesis.  It might even be a nice Christmas present for the skeptic in your family!

12 thoughts on “What Are Four Things Science Will Never Explain? – #1 Post of 2011”

  1. I think number one is going to be found out within the next 10 to 20 years. Just published the other day was an article on the Casimir Effect. Photons created from a vacuum. The physicists “nothing” is not the philosopher’s “nothing.”

    “The experiment is based on one of the most counterintuitive, yet, one of the most important principles in quantum mechanics: that vacuum is by no means empty nothingness. In fact, the vacuum is full of various particles that are continuously fluctuating in and out of existence. They appear, exist for a brief moment and then disappear again. Since their existence is so fleeting, they are usually referred to as virtual particles.”

  2. so… The only reason I can see that Bill picked this as his #1 post, is that he thinks it somehow devalues science. Which it doesn’t.

  3. Yes, as a person with an electrical engineering degree who has worked in the semiconductor industry for 20 years, an industry that relies heavily on science, I am anti-science. (that was sarcasm, by the way)

    Chisel, please. We have gone over this before. I am absolutely pro-science, but I do not believe that science can explain everything – it has limits. We live in a very confused culture that fundamentally does not understand what the limits of science are, so I write these kinds of posts as a public service to straighten out this flawed thinking.

    Do you think science can explain everything?

  4. Science could never explain also:
    a) Why should there be spirit among human beings at the time of births if there are not created by God? Why is it that all animals do not have souls and yet human beings have if they insist evolution is true? How could the evolution turn up that human beings have souls and yet other animals do not have? If human beings are developed through physical interaction instead of by God, how could human bodies be able to generate spirits?
    b) Why should there be people in the world be possessed by demons if they are non-existent? Could scientists prove the existence of demons? Could scientists prove the non-existence of ghosts in hauted houses? How could demons and ghosts be created? If it is through evolution, how did it come about?

  5. How could protons create spirits and ghosts and are invisible that have their own thoughts to do what they like? Hinduism practises walking on fire and using sharp things to penetrate their bodies without pain and they would say that the so-called, god, has enterered into their bodies so as to perform this wonder. Could scientists explain it? How could ghosts be able to enable them to have such capability to perform supernatural power? Could scientists explain how these ghosts be created from this earth? If it is formed through evolution, how? Scientists have to bear in mind that ghosts are brainless and yet could think. Marvelous. The only thing that explains it is this is God’s creation. To God, nothing is impossible to do it even the creation of invisible things that could think.

  6. Science could never explain:
    1) How could the disciples in the Bible peform miracles?
    2) How could Jesus multiply bread and fish to feed 5000 people?
    3) How could Jesus change water to wine?
    4) Could science read somebody’s mind?
    5) Why is it that the same pattern would appear that a new galaxy would orbits its own mass whenever it is formed?
    6) There are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in our galaxy. Why is it that only our earth could have a thick layer of atmosphere that enables things to survive? Why is it that only our earth could attract more oxygen than any other planets in our galaxy to enable things to survive? Why is it that our earth would not locate near to the sun? Why is it that our earth would not locate at the place where pluto is located? Why is it that there is much water to be found on this earth than in other planets? Why is it that evaporation could only be available on this earth than other planets? As we know water is evaporated to form water droplets in the sky. When cloud is heavy, it rains. This cycle would go round and round every year. Why is it that this cycle could only be found available on this earth instead of in other planets?
    7) As we know all living things need oxygen to survive. Does science explain why all living things need oxygen to survive? Why is it that the earth is created in such a way that we need oxygen to survive and not other gases?
    8) Why is it that all living creatures are created with even number of legs and hands, i.e. 2 legs & 2 hands (i.e. human beings), 4 legs (i.e. elephants), 6 legs (i.e. insects), 8 legs (spiders), instead of some odd (, 3 legs, 5 legs & etc.)?
    9) Why is it that none of the living creatures have odd number of eyes (i.e. a pair of eyes for housefly, human beings and etc.)?
    10)What have caused human beings to stand firmly on the earth? The answer is easy. Gravity. Why is it that only this earth was created so special that human beings could stand on this earth instead of in other planets? Why is it that the earth was chosen so specially to be created to enable people to stand on it instead of in other places, such as, pluto or Mars or etc. so that human beings could enjoy floating around on this earth?
    From the above, it has shown the limitation of science in which it could not be used to explain.

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