Now let us see how and to what extent science helps us form an opinion. Science is based on two things, theory and experiment. For the discovery and interpretation of a phenomenon first a theory comes to the mind of a scholar and then on its basis he carries out experiments in the laboratory. If it is corroborated by the experiment, it gains acceptance as a scientific principle and remains valid till a better and a more comprehensive theory appears and is corroborated by experiment. With the appearance of a new and more comprehensive theory, the old theory becomes invalid.
That is how science discovers the cause and the effect of a experiment. Then it again tries to discover the cause of that cause and the effect of that effect. This process continues so long as possible.
The scientific work has many advantages and disadvantages as it is based on practical experiment. The greatest advantage of the scientific discoveries is that they are specific and particular.
Science can impart to man a lot of information about a particular It can give a volume of knowledge about one single leaf of a tree. Furthermore, because it acquaints man with the particular laws governing each thing, it enables him to control and use things his advantage, and thus promotes industry and technology.
Though science can teach man thousands of things about a particular thing, yet the knowledge imparted by science being specific, its scope is limited. Experiments place a limitation in it. Science can go forward only to the extent it is possible for it to make an experiment. Obviously it cannot experiment with the entire creation and all its aspects. Science can go forward in pursuit of causes and effects only to a certain extent and then it reaches the stage of ‘unknown’.
It is like a powerful searchlight which illuminates a limited area, and does not throw light beyond its range. No experiment can be made on such questions whether this world has a beginning and an end or is it infinite from both sides? When a scholar reaches this point, he consciously or unconsciously resorts to philosophy to express his opinion. From the stand point of science this world is an old book the first and the last pages of which have been lost. Neither its beginning is known nor its end. The reason is that the scientific conception of the world is the outcome of the knowledge of a part of, not of the whole.
Science informs us of the position of some parts of the world, not of the features and the characteristics of the whole of it. The scientific conception of the world held by scientists is like the conception of an elephant acquired by those who passed their hands on it in darkness. He who touched the ear of the elephant thought that it was like a fan; he who touched its leg thought that it was like a pillar and he who touched its back thought that it was like a raised platform.
Another drawback of the scientific conception of the world is that it cannot be the basis of any ideology, for science is inconstant and changeable from its practical aspect, that is the aspect of showing reality as it is and inviting faith in the nature of the reality of creation. Scientifically the features of the world change from day to day, because science is based on a combination of theory and experiment and not on self-evident rational truths. The theory and experiment have a temporary value only. As such the scientific conception of the world is an inconstant and changeable conception and is not fit to become the basis of faith. Faith requires a more stable or rather an eternal basis.
The scientific conception of the world, because of the limitation imposed on it by the tools of science (theory and experiment), is unable to answer a number of questions, the definite answer of which is essential for an ideology. Such questions are: From where has this world come? Where does it go? From the viewpoint of time has the world a beginning and an end? What is its position from the viewpoint of place? Is or is not the existence, on the whole, something good and meaningful? Is the world governed by some essential and unchangeable norms and laws, or does no such thing exists?
Is the creation on the whole a living and conscious unit or is man alone an accidental exception? Can an existing thing become non-existent or a non-existing thing become existent? Is the restoration of a non-existing thing possible or impossible? Is the exact re-creation of the world and history in all their details possible even after billions of years (Theory of recurring in Cycles?) Is unity preponderant or multiplicity?
Is the world divided into material and non-material, and is the material world a small part of the entire world? Is the world rightly guided and perceptive or is it imperceptible and blind? Are man and the world in a state of reciprocity? Does the world show reaction to the good and bad deeds of man? Does there exist an eternal life in the wake of this transient life? There are so many other similar questions.
Science does not answer all these questions, for it cannot make an experiment with them. Science can answer only limited and particular questions, but is unable to draw a general picture of the world. We give an example to make our point clear.
An individual may have a local knowledge of a big city. He may know a part of it in detail and may be able to draw a picture of its roads, lanes and even houses. Another person may have a similarly detailed knowledge of another part of the city, and a third, a fourth and a fifth person may know other parts of it. If we collect information from all of them, we may get enough information about each part of the city. But will this information be enough to have a complete and overall picture of it? For example, can we know what shape the city is; whether it is circular, quadrangular or of the shape of a leaf? If it resembles a leaf, then a leaf of which tree? How are various areas of it connected with each other? What sort of automobiles connect them? Is the city on the whole beautiful or ugly? Evidently we cannot get all this information.
If we want to have such information and for example if we want to know the shape of the city or want to know whether it is beautiful or ugly, we should ride an aircraft and have an overall aerial view of it.
As we have said, science is unable to answer the basic questions necessary to form a conception of the world. It cannot provide an overall picture of the whole body of the universe.
Leaving all this aside, the value of scientific conception of the world is practical and technical, not theoretical, while an ideology can be based on theoretical value only. Had the reality of the world been as depicted by science, that would have constituted the theoretical value of science. Its practical and technical value lies in the fact that irrespective of its depicting or not depicting reality, it enables man to perform fruitful tasks. Modern industry and technology demonstrate the practical value of science. It is really amazing that in the modern world while technical and practical value of science has increased, its theoretical value has been reduced.
Those who are not fully conversant with the role of science, may think that along with its undeniable practical progress science has also enlightened the conscience of man and has convinced him of the reality as depicted by it. But that is not a fact.
From the foregoing it is clear that an ideology requires that kind of conception of the world which (i) may answer the basic questions concerning the universe as a whole, not only a part of it; (ii) may be an eternal and reliable conception, not a transient and passing one; and (iii) may have a theoretical and realistic value also not merely a practical and technical one. Thus, it is also clear that the scientific conception of the world, despite of its other merits, lacks all these three requirements.