Faith, Science and the Master of Silly Walks
by Andy Tilsley
‘I would like 2016 to be the year when people remembered that science is a method of investigation and NOT a belief system.’
So reads the first tweet of the year from the masterful John Cleese which, at the time of writing, has rather struck a chord with over 14,000 retweets and a further 16,000 likes.
He’s right, of course. And while it’s not my number one dream for 2016 (World peace, an end to the refugee crisis, poverty eradicated: all in my top 3), it’s right up there with my hopes for the year as well.
Science is a gift, a joy, an ongoing voyage of exploration, a journey of discovery (add your own twee cliché here), but if I make it my belief system, it’s going to leave some rather gaping holes in my assumptions about life and the universe. Science just isn’t enough. It can never be a belief system, because by its very nature there are always more questions to be answered, more wonders to be discovered. That, of course, begs the question of what I do with those unanswered questions in the meantime. The answer: I need faith.
Until science has definitively answered questions about alien life, the nature of consciousness, why we dream, what’s at the bottom of a black hole or why when I put two socks in the washing machine only one comes out, I need belief to fill the gap.
It reminds me of a rather splendid interview with Richard Dawkins in The Times back in 2007, where he speculated what science might uncover in the future…
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