I would like to once again summarize at this point that the real-life problems in society are in need of an immediate answer or remedy now, in this present life. As individuals we are only on this earth for a limited time, we cannot wait. The situations threatening us give no time for procrastination.
Even though science is capable of providing many efficient ways of answering our problems, it is weakened by being too little, too late.
By science being too little, I mean that the knowledge of science is insufficient to solve the fundamental problems of life. It cannot make people good, it cannot make them happy, it cannot show them how to rectify bad habits, it cannot solve suffering, sadness, anger, sorrow, depression and so on. It can't even solve social problems.
In answer to this, scientists may counter that science has helped in many ways. People with insomnia, depression and mental problems are all helped by drugs. Science is of great benefit in these areas. Applied Science and technology in the medical fields have helped vast numbers of people. And this point must be conceded. People with severe mental problems are indeed helped to some degree by science.
Scientists may believe that in the future it will be possible to make people happy through the use of drugs. Whenever you feel unhappy, just pop a capsule and it's gone . .. but this is no longer medicine, it is pleasure-seeking. Scientists may conduct research into the nature of the brain, finding out which particular chemicals are secreted when certain emotions, such as happiness, are experienced. When they can isolate the chemical agent they will be able to synthesize it. Whenever there is a feeling of depression or sadness, people can take this drug and have immediate relief. It looks as if science is able to do anything, maybe even solve all the world's problems. If it can make people happy, then people will no longer have to fear depression and sadness. With chemicals like this as freely available as food, people will always be happy, and never have to experience depression.
But then again, reflecting on the dangers of chemicals, we see that the world is enough of a mess already, with food additives and pesticides, without adding any more. However, this is not the most important point. Even more important is the perspective of values, or quality of life. The objective of religion is to lead people to freedom. Freedom here means the ability to be happy without the need for external agents, to be more and more independently happy and less and less dependent on externals, to develop a life free of enslavement to a mass of external trappings. But the use of drugs forces people to lay their happiness and their fate more and more into the hands of externals, making them less and less able to live with themselves.
If science causes people to depend increasingly on externals, it will be not unlike the ancient religions, which led people to invest their fate in the gods with sacrifices and supplications. In both cases, the happiness and suffering of human beings is offered up into the hands of external agents, one offering it up to material things, the other to a nominal quality, but in essence they equally destroy man's independence.
If things reach this stage we can give up pretending to be human beings. If this were the case we would no longer be natural human beings, but scientific or artificial beings, or some other kind of being which is unsustainable in a natural environment.
What I have just mentioned is an example of what I mean by too little. Science on its own is not capable of solving mankind's problems. To use Buddhist terminology, we could say that science and technology do not encourage people to have good behaviour (sla), do not encourage quality in the mind, or inner well-being (samdhi) and they suffer from funnel vision, in that they seek to amass data, but they do not provide us with the knowledge of how to lead a happy life (pa).
The second objection we have with science is that it is too late, we cannot wait for it. Scientific truth is not whole or complete. It is not yet able to give us a definitive and final answer, and there is no indication of when it will be able to do so. Scientific knowledge is constantly changing. At one time the truth is one way, later on it is found to be otherwise. The truth seems to be always changing. If we had to sit and wait for science to come up with a final answer to the nature of the Universe, we would all die first without ever finding out how to conduct our lives.
Scientists are always looking for a general principle, but any principle they arrive at is always a sub-principle, only a piece of the overall picture. In the meantime, while science is yet unable to give an explanation of fundamental truth, we are using it, through technology, to enhance our lives and pander to our desires. For the moment, what is helping mankind is technology, which at least can be used for something, rather than science itself. But technology cannot answer mankind's fundamental questions. For an answer to the truth (or non-truth) of the natural world, mankind must first rely on religion, using science only for the convenience offered through technological progress. This is the situation at the present time.
Why do human beings still need religion? Why is religion still present in this world? Because mankind is still waiting for a complete and absolute answer, one that is right for the situation and which is immediately practicable. And because it cannot be verified, and because science cannot verify it for them, they must resort to belief.
Although science has made such great advances, all it has done is expand the perceivable limits of the material world, making it more and more complex and intricate. But in terms of answering mankind's fundamental questions, showing man's proper relationship and position in the world, it seems that science has been running on the spot and hasn't made any real progress.
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