David Deutsch – Can Science Provide Ultimate Answers?

David Deutsch of Oxford University is my favorite physicist. He’s sharp as a tack, and sensible to boot. It’s always a pleasure to watch his videos on Robert Kuhn’s “Closer to Truth” youtube channel. Here’s one that I particularly like where he addresses the question “what are the limits of science?”


Author: Atanu Dey


2 thoughts on “David Deutsch – Can Science Provide Ultimate Answers?”

  1. Two important points grabbed my attention:
    1.) That the criterion of science is testability.
    2.) Science has limits, but reason doesn’t.

    If you take criterion of science as testability, then you can never definitely prove anything, nor can you definitely fail to prove anything.
    Let’s say you hypothesize that A causes B. You test it through observation. And it turns out that A indeed cause B. You can never definitely say that A causes B because future observations may defy it. You may say but that’s what continuous testing is for. To get better.
    But if in the above example, on observation you find that A did not cause B, you still can’t definitely prove that there did not exist relationship between A and B, because some unknown cause C may have interfered.
    So testability essentially leaves us nowhere if you really contemplate.
    Also, I don’t think that the theory of evolution, which is a scientific theory, is testable.

    On second point, the proposition that reason doesn’t have any limitations has to be justified only by reason itself. But how can reason prove that reason itself has no limits.
    We cannot prove through merely science that science has limitations. We take refuge of reason. But to prove that reason has no limitation, we have no refuge.


  2. With due respect, my reaction to the title of the post, “….Can Science Provide Ultimate Answers?” – is the world hurting for lack of answers to solve the existential problems? Does it matter whether religion or science provides the ultimate answer, whatever that means? End of rant. 🙂


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