Why it’s only science that can answer all the big questions


EXCERPT: Science has proved itself to be a reliable way to approach all kinds of questions about the physical world. As a scientist, I am led to wonder whether its ability to provide understanding is unlimited. Can it in fact answer all the great questions, the ‘big questions of being’, that occur to us? To begin with, what are these big questions? In my view, they fall into two classes.

One class consists of invented questions that are often based on unwarranted extrapolations of human experience. They typically include questions of purpose and worries about the annihilation of the self, such as Why are we here? and What are the attributes of the soul? They are not real questions, because they are not based on evidence. Thus, as there is no evidence for the Universe having a purpose, there is no point in trying to establish its purpose or to explore the consequences of that purported purpose. As there is no evidence for the existence of a soul (except in a metaphorical sense), there is no point in spending time wondering what the properties of that soul might be should the concept ever be substantiated. Most questions of this class are a waste of time; and because they are not open to rational discourse, at worst they are resolved only by resort to the sword, the bomb or the flame.

The second class of big questions concerns features of the Universe for which there is evidence other than wish-fulfilling speculation and the stimulation provided by the study of sacred texts. They include investigations into the origin of the Universe, and specifically how it is that there is something rather than nothing, the details of the structure of the Universe (particularly the relative strengths of the fundamental forces and the existence of the fundamental particles), and the nature of consciousness. These are all real big questions and, in my view, are open to scientific elucidation.

[...] I accept that some will criticise me along the lines that I am using a circular argument: that the real big questions are the ones that can be answered scientifically, and therefore only science can in principle elucidate such questions, leaving aside the invented questions as intellectual weeds. That might be so. Publicly accessible evidence, after all, is surely an excellent sieve for distinguishing the two classes of question, and the foundation of science is evidence....

MORE: https://aeon.co/ideas/why-its-only-scien...-questions
I caught the thread title fairly easily. And had an initial objection to it but came to accept that it is reasonable since science is a very broad category of research that utilizes the scientific method to reach conclusions on any question regarding reality. Even if that reality initially remains elusive to science it is eventually uncovered by it. I didn't bother reading the article yet though.
No, dismissing the actual "big questions" just because they don't have readily available evidence is intellectually dishonest. It's begging the question by defining the "big questions" as only those that are amenable to science.

And science predicts that it cannot ever answer such questions as "why there is something rather than nothing" or "what happened at the Big Bang", and there's no evidence that it can tackle "the hard problem of consciousness".

This article is just scientism. It even unabashedly acknowledges as much, e.g. "I am using a circular argument...That might be so."

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