This is a subject that has fascinated me for a long time, and will continue to do so for an even longer time. So when I came across this in a book that I’m reading (which is extremely rare for me, to read a book that is), I just couldn’t help myself but share it because of the eloquence in how it explains my perspective on the subject.
“…the parable of the feeble-minded person who thinks that the light of the sun is the result of its rising, is like the parable of an ant which as it happened upon the surface of a sheet of paper, was endowed with reason and thereupon watched the movement in the process of writing, only to think that it was the work of the pen, but would not go beyond that to see the fingers, and behind the fingers the hand, and behind the hand the will which moves it, and behind the will a deliberate and an able scribe, and behind all, the Creator of the hand, and the ability, and the will. Most people do not look beyond the nearby and earthly causes and never arrive at the Cause of all causes.” ~ Imam Al-Ghazzali (The Book of Knowledge)
The reason I’m so positively incensed about this is because recently I’ve been plagued with the arguments of science and religion on so many blogs. And the one thought that always lingers in my mind is that science will always be on the back foot because it is always an observation of what has been. Never will it be able to advise on what is to be, or why, only how. It will always be an observation after the fact, and never before, since it is aimed at establishing the knowledge of how everything relates to everything else.
Anything before the fact is considered mere theory and therefore subject to change, interpretation or perspective. This does not imply that our ability to predict future events based on established relationships between different events or forces is not part of science. It is, but it is also entirely dependent on what is known, and will therefore always be a work in progress. Weather forecasting is a typical example of this.
Therefore, in my mind at least, the belief in science as the ultimate pursuit of knowledge to define the purpose of our existence is inherently flawed. But this is just my opinion, and I suspect that I may be blissfully unaware of numerous refutations that have already been compiled in defense of science and atheism, of which I have no knowledge because of my aversion to read lengthy discourses about the philosophies of others.
Am I naive, or perhaps ignorant? Am I over-simplifying a complex issue? Or does this perspective hold some merit?