Why C.S. Lewis Distrusted Science’s Answers

In C.S. Lewis’ essay “Is Theology Poetry” he states,

The whole picture [of scientific understanding] professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears. Unless we can be sure that reality in the remotest nebula or the remotest part obeys the thought laws of the human scientist here and now in his laboratory–in other words, unless Reason is an absolute–all is ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based.

What I find amazing about C.S. Lewis’ statement in this passage is that he calls the readers attention to two different things that Scientist argues are absolutely true and are the only ways to understand our world and our place in it.

1.) The scientific understanding on the universe, created by the human mind is the only true reality. We live in a closed universe where only the laws of nature, understood by the human mind in science, hold ultimate authority.

2.) Human’s are simply and only a product of evolution in which there is an ever changing process by which human’s (including their understanding and their minds) are subjected to.

What Lewis took from this statement was only contradiction. Science told Lewis, and continues to tell us today, that the human mind is simply in one stage of its development as an object of the evolutionary process. However, even though the human mind is not completely developed it is somehow able to give a complete account of everything in the universe. Lewis asks the question “How can reason be the absolute by which the world should be understood if reason is only the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless development?”

It is very important to see that Lewis is not negating the importance of reason or the truths of logic. What Lewis is trying to state is that Science is actually not being reasonable or logical when it states that an aimless and mindless piece of matter can create for itself ultimate reality not only for itself but for the entire universe.

This topic is not something that I claim to have much understanding in but this does seem like a valid question to me. I think that this is very interesting and many people who hold a scientific worldview should begin to hold their own worldview under the same amount of scrutiny that they hold others.

Until next time…

Michael

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