What, Why or How? On the Limits of Science

What, Why or How?

On the Limits of Science

 It seems that when you ask a naturalist a ‘what’ or ‘why’ question they usually respond  with a ‘how’ answer in return. Then they assume that they have answered your question.  An example of this practice is to propose the question; what is reason and why is there a concept we call reason? Now, the truth is that the naturalist cannot answer either of these questions. Therefore, they will respond with a lengthy and complex argument of how reason evolved through a process of natural selection[1], which they seem to think is a satisfactory answer.

Evolution in the form of a narrative seems to be the catchall explanation for all of the ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions. This seems to have replaced the ‘God of the gaps’ explanation used by some theist’s. In other words, if you cannot explain the ‘what’ or ‘why’ of something, the answer will be spun as an evolutionary tale; that will be the total explanation and nothing more needs to be said. Spin the tail and the gaps are filled.

However,  is answering any of the ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions with a ‘how’ explanation (or a narrative of its evolution), really an answer? Or is it simply begging the question by explaining how a thing developed. The truth is that evolution created nothing and therefore, it cannot ultimately explain the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of anything.

Some might  appeal to natural selection, however, for natural selection to work, something had to exist to be selected from. You say random mutations created the selections. But do mutations really create anything or do they simply change things. Did not something have to exist first, in order to be changed?  So we have entered the black hole of infinite regression where life came from nonlife and nonlife came from nothing. The theories of natural selection and random mutations is an attempt to answer a how question of how living things change and again it has nothing to do with the ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions.

This way of skirting or begging the questions of what and why is even true of some of the most basic questions of existence. What is man and why does he exist?  The Naturalist will answer invariably by answering the question with a narrative of the evolution of man, which is equal to changing the question from a ‘what’ and ‘why’ question to a ‘how’ question. By Using this method, everything is explained by the process of evolution. The story in itself becomes the evidence.  The truth is that science cannot give us a sufficient answer as to ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of man[2]. They can tell us how our bodies are formed and even what they are formed out of, but this does not answer the questions of what is man or why does he exist. The only way for the naturalist to answer these questions with science is to embrace total reductionism, which of course naturalists and atheists must do to stay consistent with their belief that there is nothing but matter.  Everything must be reduced to lifeless unconscious matter. The only alternative is for the naturalist is to quit asking the why and what question altogether, which is exactly what many of them have done.

The truth is that when it comes to ontological questions[3] science is mute and cannot speak. If its members speak, they must speak from another discipline than science.  Ontological questions are questions of philosophy and religion.

[1] If man needs reason to survive, how did he survive long enough to acquire it?

[2] Science is the study of nature as a closed system. It does not have the tools or language to study things outside of nature.     Therefore, it cannot ultimately answer the why questions without morphing into philosophy.

[3] Ontological questions are questions that deal with the origin and meaning of existence, the study of which belong to the discipline of metaphysics, which is made up of philosophers and theologians.

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