Thursday, July 19, 2012

God of the Gaps VS Newton

Reading "The Ascent of Man" is the best part of my commute.  In it I found this jewel of a quote by Sir Isaac Newton:

"To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age.  'Tis much better to do a little with certainty, and leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things."

Brilliant.  Just brilliant.  It's probably one of the best comebacks ever to the old "but science can't explain everything" stupidity.  The fact that it comes from every creationist's favourite scientist just makes it so much sweeter! 

No, science can't explain everything right now.  That doesn't mean that your mystery of choice will never ever be explained.  We may not even get the answer in your lifetime but that doesn't mean we will never get the answer.  With each generation of scientists building on the work of their predecessors, we keep learning and understanding more, just like Newton said.  So if I can't give you a scientific explanation right this second, it doesn't mean the answer isn't out there.   It certainly doesn't mean that you get to make up your own answer in the meantime!

In the past there were tons of things we didn't understand.  Today we understand a lot more about a great many things.  Interestingly enough, everytime something was figured out no matter how long it took us or how difficult it was to figure out, the answer has never ever EVER been "magic".

So on that note since I started this post with a quote from an eccentric genius I'll end it  with the words of another brilliant weirdo:

"Life is full of mystery, yeah,
But there are answers out there
And they won't be found
By people sitting around
Looking serious
And saying isn't life mysterious?"
Tim Minchin, Storm

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