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Emily Baker

The Institute of Art and Ideas

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Can science uncover the origin of everything?

I started thinking about this when I came across this quote by Einstein:

“It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.”

And then I found this talk about the boundaries between science and philosophy when it comes to explaining the universe and nothingness:

http://iai.tv/video/the-origin-of-everything

So what do you think? Can science satisfy our craving for knowledge about our origins? Or would it be too dry? Do we need to hang on to a part of mystery?

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    Apr 19 2013: Science is only one way of understanding ourselves and the universe - and as a stand-alone discipline for that end, it has limits. Those limits are science's self-imposed materialism and a refusal to accept that phenomena occur regularly outside the remit of its own understanding. Our own consciousness being one example: Neurons, synapses and neurochemicals can be analysed and MRI scanned ad nauseam - but the huge gulf of understanding lies in what we experience, relative to what appears in our assemblage of material parts.

    There certainly seems to be an unwillingness in science to cross-discipline into philosophy, which is odd, since philosophy is a major food-source for many hypotheses. If science is to progress, it simply has to jettison its intolerance of those things that form imperatives of human existence and experience, which really is where mystery lies - and I for one, would like to continue to contemplate life's mysteries, in the light of science admitting to itself it can go no further.

    It sounds like I'm anti-science. I certainly am not! I just think that if science is to get nearer to uncovering the origins of everything, it has to be much more receptive towards other disciplines and experiences that might at first seem to confound its own analysis.

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