Why should you follow Science religiously? Because further metaphysical discoveries are in the future.
There are some questions Man has always asked, ever since he became a conscious, inquisitive, and intelligent creature. When he was away from hearth, home, and family and the busy, absorbing whir of the community, he looked at the big world around him and up to the vast sky, and felt a heart-breaking yet sobering, powerful surge of loneliness from the astounding realization of his proportion and relation to it. Questions arose in his mind that he couldn’t answer.
1. How did there come to be something rather than nothing? (Religious phrasing: What was the first cause?)
2. What is everything made of? (Religious phrasing: What was the first substance?)
3. What happens when I die? (Religious phrasing: What is eternity?)
Since early civilization, philosophers, prophets, and lately scientists have tried to answer them, with argument, doctrine, and testable theory.
If we’re talking about reality, past philosophical attempts at somehow ‘trapping’ the underlying reality with the mind, categorizing this and logically proving or disproving that (concepts that may or may not have a relation to objectively and universally observable phenomena) has largely, in absence of data, not given any real answers but rather more questions (correctly or incorrectly phrased).
Metaphysics has instead had the character of automatically revealing more of itself as observations increase. Metaphysics describe reality more and more accurately as we investigate more. Metaphysics is in the future, and trying to attempt it too early is building mounds of conjecture from tiny grains of insight. In time, the grains will become solid boulders on which to found non-empirical knowledge.
That is not to say there haven’t been logical gems related to what we can’t observe, and certainly not that phenomena, objectively and universally observable to us today, is all there is. We know it isn’t, we have found that out with every major new scientific breakthrough. But Newton didn’t arrive at his metaphysics by arguing with learned and skillful theoretical philosophers, and he didn’t do it by constructing a logical trap into which ‘how everything must be’ perfectly falls.
Instead, keeping to skeptical inquiry and rigorous analysis of hard data seems to, quite naturally, yield a relentless (and often sobering) progression towards a big picture that becomes ever clearer.
Continued skeptical inquiry and rigorous analysis has so far revealed that:
1. We now know that causality isn’t as well understood or clear-cut as determinist philosophers, others, and even Scientists formerly theorized. From this, we know at the very least to await a clearer picture. A few scientists claim that there is no need for a first cause, arguing that as the surface of the Earth is finite yet boundless as is the Universe, so might the chain of events. What little we know of time, along whose imaginary axis the concept of causality must operate, is thanks to testable Scientific theoretical predictions that have been tested and observed. Time is related to mass. What philosopher, however flawlessly logical or divinely inspired, would have reached that conclusion without the necessary Scientific discoveries? None.
2. Thanks to science, we are getting closer and closer to the exciting time just after the big bang. We know the temperature of the very early Universe; therefore, we know that any substances existing at this time can’t be anything as gigantic as atoms or molecules. This is according to the prevailing theory of the formation of the Universe. Parts of this theory have been testable, and substantial work and costly Science efforts have revealed some parts true and some untrue. This process has shaped the current theory, just as further efforts will refine the theory or form a Scientific paradigm shift.
3. Eternity is identical in concept to infinity, which is an abstract mathematical concept used to balance equations and has no relation to reality, since existence can experience but the finite.
Metaphysics by definition is the description of what underlies reality, of what absolutely seems to be there though we cannot yet see, touch, or measure it. With science, progress has been made in what we can see, touch, and measure.
However, it has historically been used to also describe what is contrary to reality, phenomena that would be impossible in any reality, and what lies outside and apart from reality. Therefore, metaphysical descriptions of the past have also included the miraculous, absurd, and supernatural.
Therefore, the parts of theories historically termed metaphysical that spoke of reality have by and large been disproved, improved, or shunned, and the other parts have not been accepted into rational inquiry into the nature of reality, since they do not speak of reality but of what’s outside reality. If what someone speaks or writes of is outside reality, how is it different from fiction – other than that fiction authors create sometimes very plausible worlds outside reality on purpose and without claiming divine inspiration?
It is my opinion that no-one should let themselves deliberately turn away in order to not see the pattern: the pattern of Man discovering more and more; learning more and more; knowing more and more; understanding more and more. What room is there then for taking the position that a few “got it right already”, and that we need to look no further – even though their descriptions concerning reality are primitive, derivative, chauvinist, generalizing, poetic, vague, and fuzzy – and have to retreat as Science’s pursuit for knowledge of reality advances? The way toward getting it right is instead constantly keeping up to date with new knowledge and data coming in. Indeed you must, and this also means questioning older knowledge in religious, philosophical and Scientific writings is imperative.
Take two steps back, and let in the loneliness and honest questions of that first man that wandered from the reassuring campfire into the night and looked up – and you will see this pattern and understand that hope in the future is hope in finding the answers to them. It does take courage.