Thursday, August 11, 2016

Happy anniversary

Tomorrow August 12th is the second anniversary of the opening of this blog on popular science. The Spanish version of the blog appeared a little earlier, on January 15th 2014. In these two years I have published over 100 articles, usually one per week, although I have interrupted publication during the summer, and slowed it somewhat in Christmas.
In this anniversary I want to take stock of what has been done so far, and the goals I imposed myself when I started this activity. The decision on whether I have achieved any of these goals is left open to the consideration and critical judgment of the readers.
1.      One of my aims in writing these articles was to fight against the feeling, often promoted by the media, that science is coming to an end, not because our civilization is losing momentum, but because there is nothing (or almost nothing) left to discover. This statement, more or less clearly expressed, applies mainly to the natural sciences.
For instance, it is sometimes asserted that physics has discovered and explained completely (or is about to do it) the foundations of matter and the structure of the universe. In several of my articles I have tried to show that this is not true. Moreover, that it will never come to be.
The theory of evolution is usually seen as something finished, excellent and unassailable. As I have tried to explain in a series of articles, the reality is very different. There are still many things to discover, which of course does not mean that we must return to strict creationism.
2.      On the other hand, I wanted to raise a warning flag against the idea, as widespread as the previous one, that the progress of science is natural and unstoppable. There are many real threats against the indefinite extension of our scientific civilization.
One of those dangers, unfortunately quite common, comes from presenting as impending some scientific breakthroughs that are actually very far away, assuming that they are at all achievable, which is sometimes questionable. Among those, we can mention synthetic biology, immortality, strong artificial intelligence, and other scientific achievements that move away from us as we move forward, just as the horizon.
3.      Another danger threatening science is the attempt to use its prestige with the public to promote an ideology, atheistic materialism, which in itself has nothing scientific. Many advocates of this ideology despise philosophy and display their ignorance of this discipline, to the extent that they are not even aware that what they are doing is not science, but philosophy, often bad philosophy, because they easily fall in logical fallacies. It is curious that believers do not usually fall into this mistake, although there has been some attempt in this direction, which is usually fought by other scientists, both believers and nonbelievers.
4.      However, when it suits them for their ideological goals, these same materialistic atheists despise science and hide the scientific knowledge opposed to their ideas. This is especially noticeable on the issue of abortion. The only reasonable way to reconcile what science says about human life with abortion is by denying human dignity and consider us as equivalent to cockroaches. Curiously, only Richard Dawkins (to my knowledge) has dared to take that step. Perhaps because this decision is dangerous, as it could affect our own lives, freedom and security. Once we are denied the right of life because we aren’t different from other living beings, what rights can we have?
5.      I have also considered the question of God’s existence, although this is not a scientific problem. Science will never prove that God exists, as it cannot prove that God does not exist, but it can provide inklings that might lead us to believe in His existence. Today, these clues are centered on Thomas Aquinas’s fifth way and the issue of fine-tuning. Against this evidence atheists have been quite creative, presenting the false alternative of the multiverse theories, which are not science, but science fiction, because their falsity is impossible to prove. I have dedicated a series of three articles to these theories. On this issue, I end with a link to an interview I answered in another blog, whose English translation appeared here.
Happy Anniversary! Thanks for your interest, which has been expressed in almost 50,000 visits to my two blogs (bots excluded). I hope you’ll keep on enjoying my future posts.

The same post in Spanish
Thematic Thread on Anniversaries and Organization: Next
Manuel Alfonseca

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