"Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain." -Richard Feynman
Observe, Ask, Experiment; The first steps of the scientific method, Rinse and Repeat. There is a very systematic approach to science. It seems to be about reaching that undeniable, unquestionable fact. How much uncertainty and doubt play into the universe might surprise you. For the continued perpetuation of progress, is it crucial for the reasoning man to be aware of the role uncertainty plays in our pursuit of knowledge.
Religion is all about creating comfort. By saying “We cannot”, or “we will never know” we are relinquishing our own intellect to a higher level of unattainable intellect which provides great comfort.
Uncertainty creates intellectual discomfort which is constant companion to those pursuing truth. New evidence may render old theories antiquated, but the new scientific discomfort introduced a new approach and eventually a new discovery. Scientific progress is dependent on that uncertainty. It is that little angel on the every scientists' shoulder always asking " Are you sure?"
I have an intense relationship with that angel who I shall call "Hmm". Hmm started out as a squatter, secretly taking up residence in the kingdom of my sub-conscious. She would come up early in the form of "If I think my god is true and other religions think their god is true, which one really is The One?". She appeared in my Chumash class , when my teacher tried to explain away atrocious act committed by our all-loving god. Hmm attempted to poke its head up when I read about carbon dating and its geological implication.. But all along Hmm was sufficiently suppressed by the very powerful leader named “God Knows Best”. God Knows Best was very specific in what areas of his kingdom I can explore and roped off many forests and trails as strictly off limit. He had a powerful army with painful threats ensuring compliance. He was a frightening leader but he created an environment where I felt taken care of and looked after. The instituted mental subservience provided a great level of comfort.
Hmm is a resilient little knight . She regroups and resurfaces in many different disguises which shakes up the comfort for a little while, but for as long as the kingdom was under the rule of God Knows Best, Hmm would be suppressed. Eventually God Knows Best grew old and fragile and the new king, Free Inquiry, was crowned. Free Inquiry was a more democratic ruler, he allowed me to explore many new areas of my sub-conscious. I discovered that the dark forbidden forest is full of brilliant creatures and beautiful flora. Full of fascinating factoids. Hmm was now promoted and was no longer suppressed.
Giving Hmm free reign came along with expected discomfort. Discomfort that is quite painful at times. Free Inquiry completely pulls the carpet of comfort from under me. It left me defenseless and doubtful When you discover that most of what you believed was a lie, it create a tremendous amount of hurt. The world as I knew it, is turned upside down. People I used to trust are now viewed with suspicion. Ideas that used to be central to my identity are now completely destroyed. All that comfort is replaced with uncertainty. Uncertainty is painful. Doubt plagues a person.
But I am attempting to rebuild. I now acknowledged that uncertainty is welcome. I fully realize how Hmm was instrumental in allowing me to get to where I am now, and I realize what a big role she will continue to play in my continued quest to find the most authentic version of me. I grew to love Hmm, I encourage her and made her my most trustworthy adviser.
I have equated my current position with the chemical law known as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. It tells us that it is impossible to determine with certainty the position and momentum of a subatomic particle. The allure of that principle is the certainty in which the rules applies. It is certain that we are uncertain. I will adopt that principle as a governing law in my new kingdom. As I grow more comfortable in my quest, I will continue to be certain that I am uncertain. Religion tries to peddle absolute truths but that is actually translated to mean “Do not question” Science tells me that nothing is immune to questioning. I side with science because of that attitude, and I hope to continue being absolutely certain with my newly found permission to be uncertain. Rinse and Repeat
Never Be Told!!