Experiments In Humility


Detailing a number of scientific discoveries, like the Higgs Boson particle, that have left researchers with “no idea where to go next,” Jason Morehead learns to love that “with every discovery, nature is revealed to be far stranger and more mysterious than we could’ve imagined”:

Science is a chief way in which humanity increases in magnitude, in terms of what we know, what we can build, etc. However, science is also a chief way in which humanity can increase in humility, as we realize that despite our many wonderful achievements, there will always be deeper and stranger mysteries. We will never see the universe as it truly is. For some, this might give rise to despair. One detects a note of that in [a] quote from [physicist Steven] Weinberg: “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.” However, despair need not be our only response.

In one of the Bible’s most stirring passages, we find a richer response: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:3-5).

Our reason and intelligence, our scientific achievements — these are part of the “glory and honor” with which we’ve been crowned, and that’s something to revel in. But a glimpse of the heavens, in all of their majesty and mystery drives us to humility. Those two realities — that we possess glory and honor, and that we’re easily overwhelmed by the creation around us — define our species, and represent the truth of our existence.

(Photo by Jim Sher)