Science's inadequacies show more starkly now than ever

When we begin life, it is as if we were suddenly thrust into a game, a deadly serious game, one in which we know neither the rules nor the object.  We have no alternative but to play it.  We have no choice but to seek answers, or else to suffer the consequences of ignorance.  Who are we?  Does life have any objective meaning or purpose?  Are we merely temporary assemblages of atoms?

To answer those vital questions, and others like them, we turn to science, philosophy, to other people in our lives, and to revealed wisdom.

When we turn to science, we find that there are some important questions it can never answer.  It did well, up to a point, but then things began to get murky around the edges.  In the moment that science had seemed poised to achieve its final goal — to develop the much anticipated "Theory of Everything" — scientists stumbled.  There was one thing that they could not explain.  That was the scientist himself.

Gradually, scientists began to find that what once had seemed solid footing had somehow become a swamp of quantum uncertainty.  They found themselves in a realm of black holes and dark matter.  They encountered singular puzzles in which none of the previously accepted rules seemed to make sense anymore.  They were trapped in a circular maze from which there is no escape:  the maze of the physicalist paradigm.

Then, out of the mists of confusion, a new paradigm began to take shape. 

That paradigm shift should not have surprised anyone; it had been a long time coming, and it was inevitable.  Science had never been able to answer the important, fundamental questions.  It had never needed to.  Science was busy, very busy, forging into new and unexplored territories, enabling new and amazing technologies. 

Those fundamental questions gradually came into their own, and in a manner of speech, they are now in your face.  They can no longer be ignored or explained away.  They demand answers.

Among those vital questions are three.  They involve the topics of life, consciousness, and free will.  Those terms are at the heart of what it is to be human.  Indeed, they are at the heart of existence.  Without incorporating them, as basic realities, into our science, our philosophy, and our social structures, science will founder, and civilization will become an Orwellian shell of itself, a technological barbarism, never fulfilling the great potential after which we all yearn.

The new paradigm fills the void.  Unlike the present paradigm of material-physicalism, it addresses our real needs — not only the physical, but the psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs that, if left unfulfilled, make life a pointless struggle, one in which instead of finding true meaning, we are left to concoct and devise our own, and then to die.

For a long time, the advocates of the physical paradigm have told us that there is no evidence for a spiritual nature to life.  And yet, there is evidence.  It is you yourself.  You are a conscious, living creature, able to make moral decisions, for which you are accountable.

There is no adequate physical explanation for your inward experience of consciousness.  Scientists struggle to devise one.  They fail, because they fail to account for its singular property: consciousness is the only observed phenomenon that observes itself, from within itself.

Free will, according to physics, would violate the principle of cause and effect.  Yet without free will, we would be unaccountable witnesses to our own lives, not participants.  Science could not exist.

Finally, the entire universe conspires to support life, civilization, technology, the arts and sciences, and every aspect of our humanity.  We can ascribe all this to chance or to the intent of a divine Creator.  It can be shown that in order for probability (chance) to operate, it must do so within nonrandom parameters.  Those parameters must be purposely assigned.

Nature cannot have come into being by natural means, because until nature existed, there were no natural means.  The proposal that nature has always existed is a pronouncement of not science, but faith.

Of course, all this is in dispute.  Each of us must choose what to believe.  If you have no free will, then you cannot choose.

When we begin life, it is as if we were suddenly thrust into a game, a deadly serious game, one in which we know neither the rules nor the object.  We have no alternative but to play it.  We have no choice but to seek answers, or else to suffer the consequences of ignorance.  Who are we?  Does life have any objective meaning or purpose?  Are we merely temporary assemblages of atoms?

To answer those vital questions, and others like them, we turn to science, philosophy, to other people in our lives, and to revealed wisdom.

When we turn to science, we find that there are some important questions it can never answer.  It did well, up to a point, but then things began to get murky around the edges.  In the moment that science had seemed poised to achieve its final goal — to develop the much anticipated "Theory of Everything" — scientists stumbled.  There was one thing that they could not explain.  That was the scientist himself.

Gradually, scientists began to find that what once had seemed solid footing had somehow become a swamp of quantum uncertainty.  They found themselves in a realm of black holes and dark matter.  They encountered singular puzzles in which none of the previously accepted rules seemed to make sense anymore.  They were trapped in a circular maze from which there is no escape:  the maze of the physicalist paradigm.

Then, out of the mists of confusion, a new paradigm began to take shape. 

That paradigm shift should not have surprised anyone; it had been a long time coming, and it was inevitable.  Science had never been able to answer the important, fundamental questions.  It had never needed to.  Science was busy, very busy, forging into new and unexplored territories, enabling new and amazing technologies. 

Those fundamental questions gradually came into their own, and in a manner of speech, they are now in your face.  They can no longer be ignored or explained away.  They demand answers.

Among those vital questions are three.  They involve the topics of life, consciousness, and free will.  Those terms are at the heart of what it is to be human.  Indeed, they are at the heart of existence.  Without incorporating them, as basic realities, into our science, our philosophy, and our social structures, science will founder, and civilization will become an Orwellian shell of itself, a technological barbarism, never fulfilling the great potential after which we all yearn.

The new paradigm fills the void.  Unlike the present paradigm of material-physicalism, it addresses our real needs — not only the physical, but the psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs that, if left unfulfilled, make life a pointless struggle, one in which instead of finding true meaning, we are left to concoct and devise our own, and then to die.

For a long time, the advocates of the physical paradigm have told us that there is no evidence for a spiritual nature to life.  And yet, there is evidence.  It is you yourself.  You are a conscious, living creature, able to make moral decisions, for which you are accountable.

There is no adequate physical explanation for your inward experience of consciousness.  Scientists struggle to devise one.  They fail, because they fail to account for its singular property: consciousness is the only observed phenomenon that observes itself, from within itself.

Free will, according to physics, would violate the principle of cause and effect.  Yet without free will, we would be unaccountable witnesses to our own lives, not participants.  Science could not exist.

Finally, the entire universe conspires to support life, civilization, technology, the arts and sciences, and every aspect of our humanity.  We can ascribe all this to chance or to the intent of a divine Creator.  It can be shown that in order for probability (chance) to operate, it must do so within nonrandom parameters.  Those parameters must be purposely assigned.

Nature cannot have come into being by natural means, because until nature existed, there were no natural means.  The proposal that nature has always existed is a pronouncement of not science, but faith.

Of course, all this is in dispute.  Each of us must choose what to believe.  If you have no free will, then you cannot choose.