The Limits of a Limitless Science: And Other Essays

The Limits of a Limitless Science: And Other Essays

The Limits of a Limitless Science: And Other Essays

The Limits of a Limitless Science: And Other Essays


This new collection of writings from America's foremost authority on the relationship between science and religion, Templeton Prize-winner Stanley L. Jaki, is an incisive overview of the intersection of science with the most fundamental areas of human culture.


For all the variety of their titles, the chapters of this book convey a concern common to all of them. It is the concern about the importance of knowing the limits of the scientific method, a concern which no less a physicist than James Clerk Maxwell specified as a most difficult task for a scientist to cope with. Maxwell clearly had much more in view than a purely theoretical task, although, if anyone, he knew the enormously vast bearing of what is shown to be theoretically right. Truth, which has its intrinsic value regardless of application or action, controls in the end all pursuit, scientific or other.

Therefore, since no tool used by man matches even remotely the effectiveness and range of the tool called science, one may rightly say that there is nothing so important as to ascertain the limits to which science can rightfully be put to use.

In Chapter 1 a rule of thumb is offered whereby even a nonscientist can readily perceive something of the limits of science, which in a sense is limitless in its applicability. Since quantities are everywhere where there is matter, science claims its rights whenever one confronts matter whether on the very large or on the very small scale, whether very far from man or in man's very interior.

But science ceases to be competent whenever a proposition is such as to have no quantitative bearing. the alternatives -- to be or . . .

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