The Arrogance Of Scientists
I recently started reading a book titled ‘The Grand Design’ by famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawkins. In the first chapter, he writes that we know multiple universes came to be from nothing but then adds in haste that this may not be because of intervention from a supernatural entity called God rather it is an outcome naturally arising from physical laws. There cannot be a more illogical and irrational explanation of existence which is self-contradictory. Do the laws emerge on their own? In the same chapter, he writes philosophy is dead because it cannot keep pace with the advancement of science. It is this arrogance of scientists that will limit our understanding of existence and its true nature. Here I am not proposing that science has not contributed to knowledge or empowered our lifestyle through inventions like the airplane or smartphone. But this advancement in material science does not bestow any authority on scientists to have the final word on nature of existence or matter. Let me try to explain this point.
The whole foundation of science is based on observing causes and recording its effects. In the absence of a cause, the whole skeleton of science falls down and cannot explain. It is because of this attitude I have always said that scientists act more like an accountant rather than expressing deeper curiosity about the true nature of existence.
For instance, no one has ever seen an electron as it appears as a cloud around an atom but based on some observations we declare nature of its existence and depict it in diagrams. Can we say with certainty that our observations of the electron have been all-encompassing and we know the true nature of it? The forces that govern the smallest particles to the largest black hole are explained based on observations but how these forces emerge at the first instance is still beyond our comprehension. Why is the universe the way it is? We don’t have an answer to this question and rather employ conjecture to arrive at some theories.
Science has made substantial progress to inform us that all living beings are nothing but a software code that we call genetic code. The genetic code explains the physiology of a human but does not shed any light on his psychological, intellectual and emotional structure. Science is still unable to explain the reality of the soul as there are no tools available to observe it outside the body of a living thing. Can we thus reject its existence?
The progress made in the knowledge of matter is the result of exponential advancement in developing tools to study and conduct research on causes. All these devices from Hubble telescope to study celestial objects in the universe to electron microscope to observe tiniest particles are based on principles of human sense perceptions. But is the human observations the only point of reference to decipher a natural phenomenon? What about the sensory perceptions of animals and incorporating that in our scientific knowledge?
For a long time, humans in their arrogance believed that animals are unintelligent, uncultured, and lack creativity. But that is far from the truth. Quran is not a book of science rather it is a key to unlock many mysteries of the universe in which we live. It was revealed to us because God promised to Adam that guidance will be sent to him to regain the knowledge he lost after the original sin.
Quran mentions many stories about animals that taught us that the human disregard for animal sense perception is the result of his own ignorance. There is the story of animals having an intelligent conversation with King Solomon. There is a story of she-camel whose rights were violated by the people of Prophet Saleh which resulted in their complete destruction – confirming that God protects the rights of all his creations which should be a warning to those that abuse animals. There is the story of a raven that showed civilization to Qabeel to bury the body of his murdered brother Habeel. Are all these stories for nothing rather than to tell us there are knowledge and wisdom to learn from animal intelligence?
Scientists are now showing greater interest in unlocking the animal view of the world through their sensory perceptions. We are still at a very early stage of this science but we are now certain that animals have language, culture, and psyche. The next step could be developing tools based on animal sense perceptions to look at the universe from that perspective and then incorporate that into the knowledge of humans to have a holistic view of the universe. We must not forget that animals have inhabited this world far longer than us and know how to survive.
Scientists agree that dark energy and matter prevail everything in the universe. We call it dark because we are ignorant about it. As we reveal mysteries of these we will eventually find God. We should honor scientists for their discoveries but they need to show more humility when it comes to knowledge of the true nature of the universe and existence. Stephen Hawkins passed away and must have learned the reality of God. But unfortunately, he can’t tell us about it so all of us have to go through our own experiences of exploring God.