I know there will be many people who will object to this statement, but their objections do not change the truth of my assertion:
It is a fact that science cannot prove anything.
This is why Steven Hawking made a huge mistake in judgment when, in his book, “The Grand Design,” he boasts that science has rendered philosophy obsolete. The ignorance that Dr. Hawking exhibits in this claim is apparently exceed only by his arrogance. One need but look to the definition of philosophy to know it is the foundation upon which the ‘scientific method‘ is built. But, more than this, it is the rudder by which science is guided — lest ‘science’ cease to be the search for knowledge and understanding and become a religion instead. Sadly, this is what ‘science’ has become for far too many of us.
Strictly speaking, the definition of the scientific method dictates that it can never ‘prove’ something is beyond all doubt. In reality, the only thing science has ever ‘proven’ is what a thing is not. This is because the scientific method is not a system by which we prove anything, but more of a system by which we try to understand it. We do this by observing, formulating hypothesis, testing our hypothesis and — finally — drawing conclusions. Unfortunately, this is where most people stop. This includes far too many ‘scientists.’ Once they reach the point where they believe ‘science’ has explained a thing as well as it ever will, they assume that thing as fact and act accordingly. However, the person who truly understands science knows that — at best — the scientific method can only provide a level of probability that an explanation is accurate. We all act as though science has ‘proven’ the sun will come up tomorrow when, in fact, this is not the case. The sun could explode, or a rogue planet could obliterate the earth. Either way, it is possible that the earth will never see tomorrow. All ‘science’ does is provide us with a probability of a given outcome.
There are other problems with this belief that science can ‘prove’ things. If we cannot observe something, and then test it — directly — then we cannot apply the scientific method. All we can do in this case is reason. True, science can help us improve our reasoning, but it will still be subject to errors caused by interpretation. For example: Aristotle believed that everything man could learn about the universe could be done through reason alone, yet Aristotle ‘proved’ — through reason — that a heavier rock will fall faster than a lighter rock, that objects fall because it is in their nature to seek the center of the earth, that the natural state of all matter was a resting position and that a vacuum is impossible. We know now that Aristotle was wrong about all of these things and more, but we do not know for sure whether our current understanding of the universe is completely correct, either. In fact, we have more evidence of what we do not know than what we think we do. Yet we act as though ‘science’ has proven everything we think we know about the universe and how it works.
Another example of how we think science has proven something when it has not is the theory of evolution. Today, most people drop the ‘theory’ from the actual title and just talk of evolution as though it is established fact. It is not. If we look to the definition of ‘the scientific method,’ we see that, before we can apply it, we have to be able to observe, then test, then observe the results of that test. We cannot do this with dinosaur bones. So we have not ‘proved’ evolution. In fact, the fossil records contradict another part of the scientific method — predictability. The theory of evolution states that organisms evolve from small to big, but the fossil records contradict this prediction. The problem of the Cambrian explosion is a huge stumbling block for the theory of evolution.
This issue is known, and people are trying to develop a new theory for evolution that explains the evidence we do have, but this is not ‘scientific’ either. When we decide on what must be and then try to force things to fit this determination, we arrive back at Aristotle and the fundamental flaw in his method of investigation. True science is open to any and all possibilities that answer a given question. In the case of how life came to be, creation is a viable explanation, but many people reject it because they claim creation is “un-scientific.” If these people truly understood science, they would understand how humorous this is — and how ignorant. While it is true that we can no more observe and test the theory of creation than we can the theory of evolution, it is also true that there is nothing that eliminates the theory of creation — except individual bias toward that explanation. That is not science, it is the same arrogance Hawking displays in his book when he rejects philosophy.
The truth is that the only place we find facts — a truth beyond any doubt — is in philosophy. This is because a fact is a creature of logic and reason, not of the observed universe. It is posited that this universe may not actually exist at all, and it is because this is a real possibility, we can never be absolutely sure it does. However, we can be sure that we exist. This is the point that Descartes was making when he said “I think, therefore I am.” It is an absolute fact that something either is and actually exists, or it is not and it does not exist. If you can think — and you know you can because you are reading this now — then you may not know if you perceive the universe as it really is, but you know you exist. Science cannot prove this, only logic and reason can prove it. This is because of another aspect of logic and reason that is absolute fact, and that is definition. A definition is a fact. Therefore, if I can think, even if I only think I am thinking — by definition — I am aware of myself and — by definition — this means I exist beyond any doubt. So how do I prove the true reality of my existence beyond any doubt? I can’t; that is beyond the ability of both logic and science. But definition is sufficient to prove that science cannot prove anything is fact.
This is why we need logic and reason: to guide our use of the scientific method. It is logic and reason that tell me that — by definition, in this case, the definition of the scientific method — I cannot know the true nature of existence. Likewise, without logic and reason, I cannot know the true nature of people. I might use science without reason to ‘prove’ that blacks are a genetically ‘inferior’ race and that Aryans are genetically superior. I might then apply ‘science’ to help me eliminate the inferior genes and purify the superior genes in the exact same way that farms use ‘science’ to breed stronger livestock. Now, I do not personally believe this: I just used the example because it has happened — both in Germany and in America! In Germany, we know it as the Holocaust. But in America, it is called the Eugenics movement…and Planned Parenthood! This means the idea is alive and in operation today and it is being done in the name of ‘science.’ Now, do you accept the claim that ‘science’ has ‘proven’ blacks are genetically inferior to whites? If you think ‘science’ can prove anything, then you must accept it. And if you object and say that the old ‘science’ was proven wrong, then you have just made my case.
Go back to the definition of philosophy again. Notice that it includes the study of metaphysics. Metaphysics is where morality lies; where right and wrong are found. Science cannot address morality. It cannot be observed or tested. The same applies to the field of ethics. Now, let’s go back to what I said in the beginning of this post. If we do not understand the scientific method and its limitations, especially if we divorce it from its philosophical foundation, then science ceases to be a tool for knowledge and understanding and becomes a religion. And make no mistake: when someone blindly believes that science can ‘prove’ something, especially when they reject any attempt to reason with them — as I am attempting to do here — then ‘science’ has become their religion. They have placed blind trust in a falsehood. In short, they have faith in a lie. That is every bit as much a religion as any other.
Now, if science — by definition — cannot ‘prove’ anything, then how can anyone who understands the scientific method and who is intellectually honest ever object to the possibility of a Creator? To argue that God is ‘un-scientific’ is to argue that science is ‘un-scientific.’ but then, you have to use philosophy to guide your understanding of the scientific method before you will see and understand the contradiction I have just explained. Those who see it will understand; those who do not see it will not understand. All they will see is that I have insulted their religion.