On being relatively certain.

September 4, 2015 § 2 Comments

Some people don’t believe that love could drive the universe. It’s not an experiment; you can’t reproduce it with foolproof results, churn it out a few times into a theory, and then build it up into a fact. And I suppose all this is all true.

Pizza and basketball could woo one woman to marriage, but it could equally chase her away to someone who offers picnics and stargazing as a first date. One man wants to find a match through the Internet; another won’t touch tinder and the technological romance. Love lasts or fades. It brings joy or pain. It writes you a sappy pop anthem or makes you linger in a dirge for days. It’s all relative, you see.

If love is truly fickle, then perhaps the scientists are right to yammer on about the importance of method and numbers and reason. After all, mathematics will conform to the same general rules; chemistry obeys atoms and octets, and biology leans on evolution’s simple goal.

Yet, there’s relativity and uncertainty here too. Didn’t people make up numbers themselves? And who has seen an atom to testify to its particular orbits? And if only the fittest survive, where do humans fit in with their medicines and philanthropies?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a science fan myself and don’t doubt love’s power to make people do crazy things, but sometimes we can believe our world is a little too figured out.

If we have all the answers, then we might begin to doubt the power of questions. If we stop thinking about the possibilities outside of our current understanding, we may miss our opportunity to figure out how the universe might really work. If we discount the humanities and human experience, or discount the scientific method and man’s desire for knowledge, we forfeit valuable tools to approaching the study of who and what and where we are.

There’s a wonder here, too, in realizing that science maybe didn’t get it all right. Theories can be modified and ideas can be taken back and scientists just might be searching for meaning the same way two teenagers linger at prom.

But does it matter how we go about it if we’re all just searching for the same answer?

Science would tell you one thing here and religion another, and we could spend all day debating what those two teenagers would say, but I think it’s a little more fun to just pause and remember that even gravity is just a theory a lot of people like.

– Laura Davia

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§ 2 Responses to On being relatively certain.

  • dreamer2205 says:

    I really enjoyed reading your insightful post, Laura. I consider myself logical and scientific, do not hide my disdain for those who proudly put up fish bumper stickers, and always fall on the side of skepticism when it comes to things left of center of rationality, such as astrology and séances (hello Scully). But, just as life is full of contradictions, my beliefs contradict themselves many times (or maybe it’s just a confused teenager phase). For example, as much as I love learning about the scientific truths of our universe, I am drawn to its mystical purpose. I believe in God, and always find myself asking, what are we here for? Is there a purpose? If God created the universe, who created Him, and who created His creator? If there is no such thing as God, as many believe, is there a higher scientific power at play? Will we ever know what it is? Even though science strives to, and frequently does explain the many mysterious things in our universe, there is always room for a little tweaking, and perhaps even paradigm shifts in the scientists’ perspective, and there are always things that we will be unable to put under our scientific lens (for now, at least).

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  • I really like where you took this post, Laura. I think it’s easy for people, who I see as relatively naïve in the grander scheme of things, to get caught up in either religion or science wholly and subscribe to only one or the other. I have always taken science and spirituality, or science and human experience and emotions, to go hand-in-hand. Faith and science both prompt questions and fuel a desire to know, thus leading to a search for something bigger than the person himself. Having faith in something greater is humbling and fosters an awareness of others that is an integral part of the human experience.

    Ultimately, we are all searching for the same answer, but in many, many different ways. And that’s what makes humanity one-of-a-kind. We can argue all day about the legitimacy of faith or the necessity of theoretical scientific studies, but there is a lot out there that we do not know, and that’s why we have to keep searching for these answers using every avenue available to us. If we don’t, we may overlook opportunities to make the most meaningful discoveries.

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