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The limits of science: Richard Dawkins

Evolutionary biologist

There are certainly many things that science has not yet explained, which is one reason a scientific career is so worthwhile. But is there anything that science can never explain? The origin of the laws of physics, perhaps? Subjective consciousness? There are some physicists who think physics will come to an end and reach a quietus, a nirvana. That is a very exciting prospect, but it is also possible that physics will become a never-ending quest, each answered question opening the door on a new question. We don’t know which of these two equally exciting possibilities will transpire. But what we do know is that, if there is a question about the universe that science can never answer, no other discipline will. Science is our best hope for answering the deep questions of existence, but we must be alive to the possibility that the science of the future will be so different from the science of the present as to be scarcely recognisable under the same title. Is there anything science should not try to explain? No. 

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This article first appeared in the 07 May 2012 issue of the New Statesman, The Science Issue