Our Existence

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

On another blog, there’s been an ongoing discussion between some atheists and a Christian related to our “existence;” that is, our “beingness” — why we are here, why we are alive and living on this planet. Some would describe it as a discussion related to Ontology: The metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence; that is, study based on hypothesis or theory rather than experiment.

As would be expected, there is a rather significant difference of opinion between the two factions.

The atheists naturally consider science as the most important element of our existence because it IS based on experiments. They assert it is the discipline of science that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions, not only about ourselves, but also about the universe we live in. They further contend it is science that has allowed us to survive, as well as improving our lifestyle in the process.

The Christian naturally downplays this perspective and repeatedly accuses his detractors of believing in “scientism,” which has been defined by some as “a scientific method that has no (or few) limits, can successfully be applied to almost all aspects of life, and provides an explanation for everything.” It has even been referred to as a RELIGION and that its followers worship science, its rituals, and its results! The following from Wikipedia is notable:

According to Discovery Institute scientism is an effort to use the methods of science to explain and control every part of human life, in other words, the misguided effort to apply science to areas outside its proper bounds.

Moreover, the blog owner believes philosophy (the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics) plays just as important a role defining our existence as the discipline of science.

He emphasized his perspective by offering the following quote on his blog by Stephen Barr, author, and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware. I find it very telling …

“There’s a misconception that’s actually at the root of the science-religion tension. Many people think that nature and God are in competition, that if something has a natural explanation that God had nothing to do with it. And, if God did something, it’s supernatural, so it’s an either-or. And, so the more science can explain naturally the less there is for God to explain. But that’s a complete misconception because God is the author of nature.

(Emphasis added)

I close this post with a quote from the referenced blog owner: Science cannot prove that we have a complete picture of reality.

Considering the preceding discourse, what are your thoughts?

Why Do We Exist?

The following comment was made by a Christian blogger to an individual who disagreed with him:

 But you will fail because you will never be able to answer the most important questions of all—why we exist, why are we here at all? Your “I don’t know” answers will always be found wanting.

I found this comment a bit condescending, but mostly, it’s simply not true.

To say that an “I don’t know” answer will always be found “wanting” reveals an obvious bias since NO ONE can definitively say why humans exist.

Even though multitudes of people attribute our presence on this earth to a supernatural entity (and not always the biblical god), there are scores of others who support a more “scientific” view. Still others simply shrug their shoulders and say, “Who knows? Who cares?”

I would say I lean towards the last point of view.

This is not to say I never ponder the heavy question of “why?” … but if/when I do, I admit my tendency is to accept the answers provided by science. However, having said that, I also recognize that science is not … and cannot be … the final answer.

But then neither is the answer found in a book written many thousands of years ago. Nor is it hidden in the numerous legends, myths, and fables that have been passed down though the centuries.

Simply put … we don’t know why we exist.

Therefore, when someone asks, Why we exist, why are we here at all, the most honest answer has to be “I don’t know.”