The short story “The last question” by Issac Asimov provides me an option of what is the most meaningful question we should ask in our life? For we always question every day rather than life.The story is horrifying to me, for it creates a loop to a question that can never be answered, and also it questions the essence of science and religion, which lead every question and its’ answer to agnosticism.In this text, agnosticism seems to be the only truth. What is the beginning of life and universe, we had answers from diverse angles such as “Book Genesis” and “Big bang”,but they are all created by human which made it suspicious for human.

The main question and the last question is “can entropy be reversed? The existing theory that seems provides the answer for the question is “Poincaré recurrence theorem”, according to which after a long but finite time, certain systems will return to a state infinitely close to their initial state. The question emerged based on the second law of thermodynamics ,but it is the theory that challenges tCanlaw answer the question successfully. Skepticism arises from this process.

What is skepticism? According to Kant: “The critique of reason thus finally leads necessarily to science ;the dogmatic use of it without critique, on the contrary, leads to groundless assertions ,to which one can oppose equally plausible ones, thus to skepticism”

In the story, the question has gone through five generations, at the last generation in the story , maybe trillion years after, nothing except the AC exists. AC answers the final question.”LET THERE BE LIGHT.”, somehow declared the new universe generated from the last universe. Since no one can prove big bang theory in the present which made the origin of our existence a mystery now and maybe forever. We cannot manage the history of the last universe, we don’t even know if it existed.I believe Asimov wrote this line deliberately to make it meet with “Book Genesis”, question about the boundary between science and religion.

What’s the foundation of science, can science be trusted or we have to trust science because there’s nothing else who can rely on? It is a pessimistic question. According to Kant’s “Critique of Pure reason”, both mathematics and natural science judgements are synthetic, “ A priori” exists in the system but empirical analysis took part which made them more credible.But still, “1+1=2” l cannot be proved, the emergence of Goldbach’s conjecture provide us a goal but not a solid idea. “A priori” takes part in almost everything. The existence of the transcendental philosophy question philosophy itself, and moved forward to question the answer of question itself.

In this sense, science seems to have no difference with religion, for they are all human’s choices of belief. But science, as science arouse our question instead of believe in it unconditionally, leading to our infinite critique, as René Descartes stated Cogito, ergo sum (“I think, therefore I am”). That’s also the positive side we can saw in Asimov’s piece, if the AC stops questioning, there will be nothing, even not the light. I cannot stop questioning the light, but at least there is something exist that can make me question. That makes me and other readers feel better instead of falling in doubting oneself deeply.

The text is quite mind-blowing, which made me wonder what will lead to the end of science?It is metaphysics, occultism or religion and even agnosticism which is considered the opposite side of science of all times. But my process of thinking and questioning just make me believe the existence of science.(or it is just the beginning of a mad philosophy or science scholar)

 

Works Cited

Immanuel Kant, 2006,”Critique of Pure Reason”, Cambridge Univ Press
wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poincar%C3%A9_recurrence_theorem

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermodynamics#Second_Law

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldbach’s_conjecture