Everywhere I look I find beauty, whether in nature, in landscape forms, in the human form, in art or in music, but, as far as I am aware, there is no gene for beauty.
While I can see that physical human beauty might have an evolutionary use in sexual attraction, I can’t quite see the benefit of my appreciation of the wing of a goldfinch. Of course, I can see the point from the point of view of the goldfinch, but I can’t see the biological use to me.
Why, I then think, do I find things beautiful that have no use to me. Why can I find a rose and its scent beautiful?
The view of science doesn’t help here. For all the trumpeted discoveries of physics, chemistry and biology, the scientists still can’t tell me why I find a Rothko painting beautiful.
So this got me to thinking about science, and what it can and can’t do.
It is sold to us almost as a religion. Its discoveries are heralded as manna from heaven, its conclusions are incontrovertible and universal, its communication is in the form of complex mathematics, and it needs popularisers like Brian Cox to act as priests, who explain the religion to us.
The mantras are Scientific Method, Experimental, Peer Revue and Objectivity. The conclusions are accurate because they are based on facts, and on the invariable nature of Nature. It is materialist, and rejects anything that cannot be measured.
I’m not anti-science. A quick scan through the posts in this blog will show that. But everything in the garden of science is not what it seems.
Science deplores assumptions. By definition, an assumption has not been tested and cannot be proved. Yet science today is built on assumptions, just as the medieval world was built on assumptions about God and His creation. For example, the speed of light or the gravitational force are universal constants. That has been observed to be incorrect, though we continue to assume it.
The universe is composed of matter and energy. This is not true. Over90% of our universe is actually dark matter and dark energy, about which we know absolutely nothing.
Strange, non-material things happen all the time, like my love of a goldfinch’s wing, or my love of a Mozart concerto. They cannot be measured. They cannot be enmeshed in some virtual matrix of Time-Space.
To assume is human. We couldn’t live our lives otherwise. Some people, however, pretend they operate with no assumptions. Don’t believe them.