Science and religion

The scientific and religious sides of our minds take different approaches to the mysteries of life, both of which, by seeming to profess knowledge, tend to obscure the underlying mystery.

1. Proof without certainty

Men and women of science have long put reliance
On testing and proving ideas.
Their ideas are deemed true until something new
And demonstrably better appears.

But they can’t be dogmatic, for Nature’s erratic:
The beat of a butterfly’s wings
In the forests of Chile can make them look silly,
For they cannot allow for such things.

And they’ve all learned at college you cannot have knowledge
Of everything you’d like to know;
“Uncertainty’s rife in the science of life,”
Said Heisenberg, not long ago.

2. Certainty without proof

In religion, the truth doesn’t need any proof;
You get certainty – take it or leave it.
The message is clear: that you need never fear
Life or death if you only believe it.

To believers, old writing will often enlighten
And guide them in plotting their courses;
So their faith doesn’t falter, for dogmas don’t alter.
They can sense supernatural forces:

Both the clergy and laity experience a deity
In ways that, to them, are quite clear.
They can’t prove there’s a God, but they don’t find that odd
Because proof isn’t relevant here.

3. Mystery

So, when life behaves oddly, the faithful and godly
Will perceive Cosmic Purpose in action.
Meanwhile, scientists query: they’ll set up a Theory
Which describes things to their satisfaction.

But both are just models inside people’s noddles –
They can’t know if they’re right or they’re wrong.
So, now they’ve been rumbled, both camps should be humbled,
For the mystery’s been there all along . . .

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