Does Science by its very Nature Undermine its Search Answers Obsolesce – Yes

Science’s search for answers has historically always started with a question. Why is the sky blue? What are stars? How do we see? What is the universe made of?

This is the natural result of human curiosity and is the basis for our current state on the earth. Whether one sides with staunch environmentalists who believe that this has doomed us (and the Earth in general), or whether one sides with the idealists who believe that science overcomes all (including any problems we may currently be facing), it is certain that “progress” in science is how humanity arrived at this point in time.

The point of this debate is not side with the “good” or “bad” principles of science (though that is certainly a valid debate in itself), rather it asks the question whether science, by searching for ever more answers on all of the questions that are raised, ends up defeting its own purpose.

Historically (and there is no reason to believe that this trend won’t continue), science has raised a multitude of new questions whenever one is answered. For example, the answer to the question, “what is the universe made of”, was for quite some time simply atoms. Newer models and observations revealed that these were comprised of smaller particles; electrons, neutrons, and protons. Each of these particles gave rise to new questions about their natures, behaviours, and interactions. One answer, therefore, resulted in three new questions. Now that it was clear that electrons orbitted the nucleus of an atom (the protons and neutrons), yet another question was raised regarding the nature of the empty space between these particles.

This broadening of questions with the gathering of each new snippet of knowledge has been the norm in absolutely every scientific endeavour.

It is fair to say that the questions that have been raised have been answered (for the most part), and we have made “advances” as a result. However, if the purpose of science is to answer questions and its practice has only opened up more questions that we had before, it may be said that science has failed in the very task it has set for itself. It undermines its own purpose by simply creating more questions than it can possibly answer and, as a result, creates an environment for its own demise and obsolescence.