Before we consider the implications of the above, we need to consider the nature of
science itself. In one of the quotations from Darwin, you will have noted that science
as yet throws no light on…the essence and origin of life. This holds out the possibility
that one day it will. Atheists think that it will, and religious believers think that it
won’t. Agnostics hedge their bets.
Science can only concern itself with the material world as we know it. Science cannot speculate on matters beyond the scope of what can be tried and tested, and so by definition any belief in a non-physical world must be unscientific. But unscientific does not mean unreal or non-existent. There are many things in our lives that transcend the material world as we know it – love, art, music, beauty, premonitions and so on – but more importantly, the tools with which we examine the material world are inadequate. Birds and insects are able to perceive things that we cannot. We are clever enough to devise instruments that hugely enhance our capabilities of perception, but even then, they will only be able to show us that which the human brain is able to perceive. How, then, can we know that there are no other forms of life and being that exist on a totally different plane? A deaf man might argue that because he can hear nothing, sound doesn’t exist. This is not to denigrate science. It is simply a denial of the right of science to exclude the possibility of phenomena outside its range. By extension, it is a denial of the right of an atheist to claim that religious faith is unscientific and therefore wrong.