Science is an attempt to understand the physical universe without the help of God. Ever since homo sapiens developed a sensible awareness of the reality outside themselves, the fear of the external world became a major concern. As their consciousness developed incrementally, the connections between their experiences became a tangible weapon to counter it. This formed the basis for primitive science.
It was sometime during the Agricultural Age, which began about 12,000 years ago, when human beings lived in families, and at the most in clans. There were no large societies, there were no cities, not to speak of nations. At one time, due to intra-clan fighting for food and means of survival, crime mushroomed hugely. Some wise people developed the idea of God, who would punish the evil-minded people. This approach worked, as it instilled the retributory fear of God’s punishment. It further expanded in concept and practice as time went by. By 800 to 200 BCE, a period called Axial Age, some of the major religions were born.
After several millennia, human beings started to harness the lethal powers of nature. Understanding gradually took root in human mind. After a long reign of religion over it, human mind matured to look at reality devoid of any supernatural influence. The world of science, as we know it now, was developed.
Science tries to understand nature as a congregation of fundamental building blocks of matter. It tries to find the laws that bind these. Therefore, for science, the entire universe is a collection of the tiniest particles of matter that interact with each other according to certain laws. The grand vision of science is to find all the different particles and all the laws that bind them.
Science has also tried to understand the nature of human mind. But it cannot come up with universal laws that can make all human beings happy. It is because there are subjective elements in human personality that can affect it strongly. Because of this it cannot help human beings in the matters of happiness, search for the wisdom of living, and peace of mind– entities that have a significant influence on the quality of human life. But there are human beings, though very much less than a majority, who have been able to cultivate happiness by the power of reasoning and scientific approach to problem-solving. Science teaches us the power of reason, and how to interpret some of the human experiences. It teaches us how to think.
Many of the inner workings of human mind are subjective and, therefore, beyond the scope of scientific inquiry. For example, happiness is a subjective mental state. Similarly, the concept of God is purely imaginative. Love and compassion are also non-scientific concepts.
So, as of now religion has the much higher seat in the arena of human mind than science has. In fact, it will always be so, because human psyche is quite a bit man-made, unmindful of universal laws.
Suffern, New York, 12.10.12; Rev. 7.16.21