Searching for a New Science
Panorama | Documentaries
Every culture has a story of the world and our place in it. What, in our rational, scientific culture, is ours? In the scientific story there is often no place for meaning. Everything is reduced to atoms and molecules; even freewill is discounted. Can a sense of meaning, of the spiritual, or the moral survive in the scientific story?
Searching for a New Science is a remarkable and unusual documentary film. Remarkable in that it presents complex philosophical ideas in simple and accessible terms; unusual in that this type of exploration of philosophical notions is more often the province of the written word. At the root of the film is the basic question: can life be explained in wholly scientific terms or are there other dimensions? Inevitably the script touches on the most basic elements of our humanity, and a wide range of thinkers and scientists contribute to the debate. The discussion is framed by Ard Louis, a physicist and professor who believes in God, and David Malone, a filmmaker and atheist. After contributions from others, the film returns frequently to these two and their ongoing and evolving debate.
A critical role is played by the editor, Ian Stroud, who somehow brings together in a manageable form the vast array of ideas covered in the course of the film. Above all else is the brilliance of the photographer, Séamus McCracken, whose crisp, thought-provoking and strikingly beautiful images underpin the arguments. This is an intellectually satisfying and stimulating film to which every one of the 106 minutes contributes in equal measure.