As someone who has picked a lousy title on many occasions, I sympathize with the author of this piece at IFPpress. Nevertheless, I can think of a great many differences between the most profound mysteries in cosmology and supernatural cosmogonies the world over. The first mythology-cosmology item given in the article looks somewhat defensible:
String theory, the most promising theory of physics of the past thirty years, since it was meant to explain everything, cannot be tested or proven.
False. String theory, like any scientific theory, makes testable predictions. The primary obstacle is those tests cannot be performed at the energies our current technology cannot produce. The author continues:
Similarly, at the largest level, Goldberg told us astrophysicists have “no clue what the universe is expanding into, why there is more matter than antimatter, or why there is anything at all.” They also have no idea what “dark matter” and “dark energy” are, even though scientists know they make up 95% of the universe. Only 5% of the universe is visible. … For example, scientists have no idea why there was 380,000 years of complete darkness after the Big Bang, but they called the first appearance of photons “First Dawn” and that calmed everyone down.
No idea what the universe is expanding into — true; no idea what dark matter is — false. There are ideas and the leading idea, WIMPs, is consistent with a large body of observational and theoretical work; no idea what dark energy is — true to an extent. The nature of dark energy is not nearly as well known as the nature of dark matter, but there are certainly ideas about what the former might be and more are hypothesis are being formulated and researched; no idea why there was complete darkness for a period after the Big Bang — completely false. The production and absorption of primeval photons as the first stable nuclei formed can be accurately modeled using well established theories of quantum and atomic physics.
Aside from the corrections noted above, the primary flaw in the title thesis is two-fold. Mystery does not mean mythology. That’s a conflation made by everyone form creationists to climate change skeptics, which also happens to be a logical fallacy so basic it was known to the ancient Greeks. Secondly, mythologies tend to be be untestable even in principle. Undefined magic can explain away anything, and thus it explains nothing.
For me the most glaring difference in our day-to-day lives between magic and science, religion vs observation, whatever you want to call it, has to do with the consequences drawn by followers of magic and foisted onto the rest of us. There is no decree in cosmology that one has to believe in the Big Bang, no sectarian violence between followers of Steady State or Inflation, no curse in life or eternal damnation in an afterlife managed by deities. And certainly no church of cosmology where everyday people are guilted into donating a chunk of their ever shrinking hard-earned money to the scientists-priest.