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Classical mechanics and scientific developments especially in neuroscience have led a number of scientists to believe in materialism (or physicalism using a more recent term), that is everything is made of matter so all phenomena (including consciousness and mental events) are the result of material properties and material interactions. For the materialist, the material world is all there is and therefore science is all that is needed, including laws yet to be discovered; materialism is discussed in more detail in the next chapter. A related concept is naturalism where all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws, including laws yet to be discovered. How- ever science is limited as it can only answer certain questions. For example, personal explanations as to why we have intentions, awareness, and do certain things cannot seem to be reduced to physical explanations such as the motion of electrons in our brains.

 

As argued by philosopher Richard Swinburne,10 theism is about a super-personal God (being more than just personal) with intentions, and that God’s existence provides a good personal explanation as to why the universe exists and why it has various features described in the next chapter. This idea is supported by theologian Keith Ward who claims that a personal explanation does not seem reducible to a scientific explanation. As such, the existence of God is not a purely scientific hypothesis requiring a scientific explanation.

 

Glass comments that a “personal explanation takes us beyond the limits of science.” It does not matter if the world has a finite or infinite past, is infinite or finite in size, or is a single universe or multiverse, as we still have the question of why it exists when it might not have. While still considering the nature of science, we digress for a moment to look at how science is communicated. When it comes to discussing science, there are two factors affecting communication problems today about science, namely the explosion of science and the increase in specialization. This specialization has come about because our theories about the world are becoming so complex that researchers can only study very specialized areas of science. I am reminded of a famous story about blind men invited to feel an elephant.