“Science is always wrong. It never solves a problem without creating 10 more.” – George Bernard Shaw

People may hold different views towards science, but most of us can agree that it has revolutionized human life. Scientific investigation into human disease has yielded amazing results and saved the lives of millions. Disease once deemed incurable is cured with the least difficulty. Medicine and surgery have made it possible for men to live and enjoy life much longer. Even artificial limbs are fitted to the human bodies. X rays play a key role in the detection of the inner defects and illness.

With the rapid advancement of science and technology, one might be arrogant enough to think that we’ve known everything we need to about the world we live in. But if you’ve ever read a scientific paper especially on a relatively new area of interest, the author almost always points to the 10 more questions his findings lead to. And if you read multiple papers on a common subject, you’ll find that scientists don’t usually agree. Consensus seems hard to build. In 2011, 1.3 million scientific journal articles were published, and last year the number increased to 1.57 million. In other words, three new papers get published every minute. It’s literally impossible for people like you and me to sort through the mountain of information and make sense of it all. I am interested in evolution and neuroscience, and therefore I keep my eyes and ears open for any new facts or data on the topics.

A note of caution for anyone who chooses to quote scientific findings for the purpose of supporting personal or popular point of view, it’s important to do the homework and acquire the up-to-date results or consensus. Or you should inform your audience that the results are from 50 years ago. We know that in the world of science, things progress rapidly.

“Science, we generally are told, is a very well-ordered mechanism for understanding the world, for gaining facts, for gaining data,” biologist Stuart Firestein says, “I’d like to tell you that’s not the case.”

Instead, Firestein proposes that science is really about ignorance — about seeking answers rather than collecting them. He ‘fesses up: “I use this word ‘ignorance’ to be at least, in part, intentionally provocative, because ignorance has a lot of bad connotations and I clearly don’t mean any of those. I don’t mean stupidity, I don’t mean a callow indifference to fact or reason or data,” he explains. “I mean a kind of ignorance that’s less pejorative, a kind of ignorance that comes from a communal gap in our knowledge, something that’s just not there to be known or isn’t known well enough yet or we can’t make predictions from.”

The misperception of scientists’ job is that they patiently put the pieces of a puzzle together to reveal the complete picture. In reality, what they do is more like finding a black cat in a dark room, and sometimes the conclusion is the cat doesn’t even exist. It takes perseverance, imagination and creativity to do what they do. When a group of scientists get together for a drink after a meeting, they don’t talk about what they already know, but rather what questions need to be answered and what has ignorance and more intelligent questions.

Religious folks like to insist that God hold the answer key to the miraculous universe He created and men are only able to understand what He graciously reveals to them, and therefore science is very limited. It is true that 100 years of robotics, men still can’t get them to walk more than a few steps on two legs like human. But on the other hand, in a lab in Switzerland, a little white rat is re-learning how to walk. In research dubbed Project Rewalk, Grégoire Courtine and his collaborators are figuring out how a spinal cord with a severe lesion might repair itself, to the point that voluntary locomotion could happen again — not just reactive movement but brain-directed walking and running. This could potentially improve the quality of life for 50,000 victims annually of spinal cord injury, including Chris Reeve, the Superman, if he had managed to live to that day.

I am hopeful that in the foreseeable future, men will find a cure to cancer, make revolutionary breakthrough in neuroscience or even unlock the secret of immorality. The conscious ignorance that propels this never-ending quest is exhilarating and exciting!