Climbing the Highest Peak
In the final paragraph of his book, “God and the Astronomers,” the astrophysicist Robert Jastrow concludes with this statement: At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, W.W. Norton
Where We Come From According to Stephen Jay Gould (for contrast)
We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because comets struck the earth and wiped out dinosaurs, thereby giving mammals a chance not otherwise available…. We may yearn for a “higher” answer—but none exists. This explanation, though superficially troubling, if not terrifying, is ultimately liberating and exhilarating. We cannot read the meaning of life passively in the facts of nature. We must construct these answers for ourselves…
David Friend and the editors of Life, The Meaning of Life: Reflections in Words and Pictures on Why We Are Here, Little, Brown.