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Does science have all the answers?

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As scientists discover increasing amounts about life, the universe and everything, are we approaching a point where we can rely on science alone to answer all of life's big questions?

Physicists have measured the speed of light as 299,792,458 metres per second and have figured out that universe is approximately 13 billion years old.

But does this help when it comes to turning on the light and getting out of bed in the morning?

Biologists can plot the DNA codes that make life possible and chemists can describe in detail how bodies decompose. But does that put you at ease when you contemplate your own death?

These questions lie at the heart of the cultural struggle taking place between religion and science.

Entering the fray is a new book, On Being, in which Oxford University chemist Professor Peter Atkins pieces together all that science has discovered on these big questions, and finds the evidence unquestionable.

"Every real question, like, where did the universe come from, where is it going, and how is it getting there - there is nothing of that nature that science cannot illuminate," he says.

Driven by an undimmable optimism, he says, scientists are probing everywhere, leaving no stone unturned. What they find are facts, facts and more facts, with consequences that we cannot ignore.

Read on and listen to recording of discussion between Peter Atkins and Mary Midgley



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