Bill Nye and Ken Ham debated the origins of life last night live from the Creationist Museum in Kentucky. The great success of the debate was to inform and raise awareness of how vital science is to our future. Nye made this point many times in the debate. In the end, theism and atheism are both positions of faith and have little to do with science. The only tenable position seems to be the Socratic position of not knowing – which is also (usually) the default position of science.
Three questions came up that really get at how little we know about the universe. The best questions came from the audience.
1. How did all the matter and energy in the universe come into being in a single instant from nothing?
2. How does matter become conscious (e.g. brains)?
3. How did matter come alive (e.g. animals)?
These are the big questions in science and as Nye said, we just don’t know. In fact, they seem downright miraculous. We’ve taken some ground in understanding question 2 and 3 but I believe question 1 will remain on the list of unknowns for very long time. There are some scientists like Lawrence Krauss that are trying to answer it but this really isn’t science as much as thought experiment since there is no way to test these theories.
Personally, I love the mystery.