The magnificence of science

NASA recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope on 24 April 1990. To mark the occasion, National Geographic screened ‘Hubble’s Cosmic Journey’, a documentary about the building and launch of Hubble, which reminded me of the absolute awesomeness and power of science and the ingenuity of humanity.

Hubble is a testament to the best in us and the manifestation of what we can achieve when our best minds are allowed to fly free, unburdened by ignorance.

I am not a scientist, but I have always been fascinated by the endless scientific discoveries and the many facets of the universe revealed and explained by science.

Pillars of creation
‘Pillars of Creation’ — iconic photograph of interstellar gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula taken by the Hubble

As an atheist, I’m not burdened by ‘faith’ in the religious sense. However, I understand that for many faith still offers comfortable and reassuring ‘answers to all of life’s questions’. But the future of humanity does not lie with faith. It cannot. It lies with scientific discovery and progress.

Personally, I’m comfortable not knowing the answers to everything, because I enjoy the quest for knowledge and understanding. To me, the very essence of life is the journey of discovery and learning, and asking questions in the quest for answers to the ‘mysteries’ of our universe. And by ‘mysteries’ I mean the scientific theories and laws of science that explain how our universe came into existence, and how we evolved as a species.

Galaxy M83
Galaxy Messier 83

Given our scientific discoveries to date, it stands to reason that we have some very exiting times ahead of us, provided we can channel our progress in a positive, humanistic direction and we can unshackle ourselves from the fear, ignorance and violence that appear to be genetically imprinted on the human animal.

Fortunately, we have also developed intelligence which is the natural antidote to fear, ignorance and violence. I sincerely hope our intelligence will triumph by facilitating science to deliver us a bright future.

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