Reason And Science: Are they our gods? Or our religion?
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Occasionally in my reading, I have come across suggestions that agnostics, atheists, humanists, freethinkers and various secular groups have not abandoned religion and gods, but that we have made out of reason and science a new religion, in which Science and Reason are the gods.
Is this possible?
Assuredly, many of us consider science and reason to play a significant role in our lives. But do we really worship them? Do we blindly follow them? Do we think science and reason can provide all the answers to all the possible questions?
In my view, the answer to all three questions is "No!"
We don't worship science and reason. There is no prayer. There are no meaningless rituals. Rather we respect them as useful tools in understanding the real world in which we live.
We don't blindly follow. Theories are continually being challenged and as a result are continuously being refined, or replaced. Human endeavour leads, and the science follows.
As to providing all the answers, we recognize that science and reason cannot answer everything. We might forever extend the limits of knowledge, but there will always be some questions that are unanswerable.
And there lies the key to why science and reason are not religions. Religions claim to provide all the answers - when the answer is not handy, just claim a deity either has the answer, or is the answer. We, on the other hand, can accept the unknown. It does not frighten us to say "I don't know."
- For those that doubt this, consider Godel's Incompleteness Theorem which establishes that in any branch of mathematics, there will always be some propositions which can neither be proven true or false. Thus mathematics, a form of reason, establishes limits on what can be known.