Science is the realization that humans can’t figure out how reality works by holding heated arguments in closed rooms. Science is the claim that in order to understand how the universe works, you have to go check the actual universe and then listen to what it says.
This paradigm advanced civilization further and faster than the previous paradigms, which roughly amounted to “make up cool stories”.
And yet, science is not good enough.
Science is too blind: so long as many theories predict the same results, science does not help you choose the best theory.
When two theories make similar predictions, science does not help you differentiate between them. If the evidence better supports one over the other, common sense dictates that you believe the better supported theory – but science will not help you.
When you are lost and you don’t know where to turn, science lets you pick any hypothesis to test. No matter how wild, science appreciates the effort. Falsification of even the most outlandish claim is still information. It still advances human knowledge by a small amount. It’s still good science.
The ratchet turns only forward. The correct answer will be found eventually. And yet, the right answer will not be found quickly. Humans with their assumptions and their biases can get sidetracked for decades at a time, and science is not strong enough to save them.
Science is is too weak: it cannot reject historical baggage. If, by a mistake of history, science accepts a bloated theory, then science cannot help you trim it down.
Imagine a separate history where the Church stood behind Galileo with all their might and threw a hundred thousand minds into science. If they had discovered the laws of gravity first, and concluded that it worked by dint of tiny angels beating their wings in exactly thus-and-such a manner, science would not protest. If the theory made falsifiable predictions borne out by reality, then that is good enough for science. Science would not ditch the gravity-angels.
And yet, gravity-angels don’t exist. Tacking irrefutable excess onto a theory doesn’t make it true. The gravity-angles should be removed: but science isn’t strong enough to remove them.
Once science has accepted the gravity-angel theory into the scientific corpus, you’re in trouble. The gravity-angle-theorists point out that their theory made falsifiable predictions. They say that if you want to discard the angels and be left with pure gravity, you have to find a testable falsifiable reason to discard the angles. You have to prove a negative.
According to science, they’re right.
Science isn’t strong enough.
Science is biased towards the first theory to explain things, even if it comes with baggage. Science gives you tools to discard bad hypotheses, but does not give you the means to select better hypothesis.
Science is good enough – it ensures that we keep gaining evidence and that we always discard wrong theories. But science isn’t optimal. It doesn’t help us discriminate between theories and it doesn’t point us towards the right path.
Science is too slow.
If we want to pluck the true rules of the universe from the void, if we want to discover how reality works before the sun burns down, if we want to be right instead of just not wrong, then we need something more than science.
We have to step beyond.