Will God be understood by science in future?
Transcribed by: Sudeep Naik
Question: Will God be understood by science in future?
The word “science” originally meant knowledge i.e. to know. When Newton postulated the law of gravity he did not call himself a scientist, he was considered as a natural philosopher. The word “scientist” is an eighteenth-century invention. The word “science” is used in a specific sense today. In science, we look for explanations of natural phenomena. Science has its own limitations when it comes to explain natural phenomenon. The idea that science will be able to understand God in future is far-fetched. What to speak of understanding God, science cannot understand origin of even our own emotions. Science may find that some emotions are associated with a specific part of the brain, but science cannot tell, for example, how do these emotions originate in a brain.
What can happen in future is that science expands its methodologies. Quantum physics has led to the postulation that consciousness is a fundamental reality because much in quantum physics is observer specific. The waves of the quantum physics collapse when an observer is observing an object. The extent to which science can expand to include consciousness as a fundamental component of reality, it will start exploring consciousness on its own terms. Exploring brain’s state is one thing but exploring conscious experience itself is another thing.
Spirituality itself can be called as science in the sense that there is well defined, repeatable and verifiable methodology. In science there is theory and experiment. In spirituality there is philosophy and practice. Philosophy aspect in spirituality is like theory aspect in science. Philosophy has postulates like, spark of consciousness (soul), infinite consciousness (supersoul or God) etc. In science, experiments enable us to prove the theory. In spirituality, practices give us higher realization.
Can God be quantified? God by definition is spiritual, so at a material level we cannot quantify him. Idea is that, this world is given us to explore our free will so in this world, if God is an observable feature or a logically necessary preposition, then we would not have free will because we may be forced to choose that. Even now we can make same inference. Suppose we have somebody managing a particular system which works so perfectly that one does not need to call customer care. The system processes everything correctly. If somebody comes to a plant where this software has been used for a long time and input some data to validate the software. The software gives correct result. The software becomes so predictable for them that they take it for granted. Nobody needs to manage or maintain it. It works automatically. A naïve person would say this software is working and will get his things done. However, a perceptive person would think if this software is working so flawlessly without needing any maintenance that means that this must have been made by a master programmer. The brilliance of the programmer is seen by how little maintenance is required after the program is made.
Similarly, nature has been made by God to be causally complete. Somebody who is naïve may say this just exists. Many systems of thoughts begin with such a starting assumption that nature just exists. Atheism or non-theism begins with starting assumption that universe exists with its laws of nature. We can ask a question why should laws of nature exist at all, why should insentient matter behave according to the laws that to understand them require a high level of sentience.
Theism says that the program called nature do not come by itself. It is working so well that it does not require any maintenance indicates the brilliance of its maker.
We will not perceive God at physical level because God by definition is nonphysical. It is like asking how much we have to develop our hearing ability to smell a gulaab jamun? No matter how much our hearing ability develops the methodology of hearing is not right perceive a smell. Similarly, material progress will not lead us to perceive God as quantifiable reality. However, at the same time for an astute observer the causal completeness of the material nature itself can point to God just like an excellent program which requires no intervention points to the brilliant programmer.
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