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In the first video of our new series, OVR THNKR, I touched on an important topic: the limitations of science.

To increasing degrees, there are attempts to explain everything we possibly can with science. And while there’s nothing wrong with exploring scientific explanations for various phenomena, it should never become an exclusive source for truth.

YouTube channels like Vsauce use data and peer-reviewed research to explain otherwise unscientific topics like art and culture. This kind of approach to understanding complicated realities is everywhere.

Films like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar extol science as a savior. A pure and perfect system of explanation that mankind can harness to their own ends and towards their own eternal perpetuation.

We think that by creating artificial intelligence, by developing life-extending pills, and by uploading our brains to computers that we’ll live forever. We seek to gain in this life the timelessness that religions promise only in the afterlife.

When we broaden the scope of science in this way, it becomes a religion — and a bad one at that.

Science is incredibly attractive in the way that it gives us an empirical feeling. But any real scientist would understand that an empirical feeling is not just an oxymoron, but antithetical to the pursuit of true science.

If we take a moment to consider the inherent limitations of science, we see that the aforementioned extension of science is only an impish attempt to include philosophy and religion under the umbrella of empiricism.

  1. Mathematics is not science, mathematics is an abstract theory used as a presupposition of science. There is no empirical, observable way to prove that 1+3=4. It is a philosophy about the abstract combination of objects which is useful in interpreting the observed universe. Math itself is impossible observe.
  2. As outlined in the video: information is not science. The veracity of what we observe (see, hear, smell, taste, and touch) is fully dependent on the reliability of our ability to interpret those sensations. If an avocado tastes like an orange to me, my subjective inability to observe the avocado keeps me from the truth.
  3. Even the validity of the rules of repetition and peer-review are not scientific. The concept of predictability — that the same result will occur on the 301st attempt as on the 300th attempt — is a philosophy about the rationality of the universe, it is not empirical until we try for the 301st time.

The list goes on and on. Philosophy is impossible to avoid.

Romanticizing and glorifying science is antithetical to the proper execution of science and misleading in the way that it subverts equally (if not more) authoritative means of discovering the truth.

Let’s not kid ourselves: science is a wonderful tool for discovery, but it is ultimately ignorant without the application of reason, logic, philosophy, and even religion.