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Tags science , scientific method

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Is science faith-based?
The Bad Astronomer
21st February 2008

Is science faith-based?




No.


Oh, you want details? OK then.

If you read any antiscience screeds, at some point or...
  #40  
By Landrew on 7th March 2010, 10:43 PM
Religion and science are opposites

I have also heard science being called a faith-based belief system. I disagree, because I see religion starting with it's conclusions first, and working backwards. For example: the bible says that the earth was created magically in six days, 6200 years ago, more or less, therefore the only evidence that counts is that which agrees with the bible.

Science does not start with the conclusion. Conclusions come only after all the evidence has been considered according to the scientific method. Even then, the conclusion is not asserted as a fact, and held up for peer review. This is a much more intellectually honest approach.

There is faith in science, but it comes about as a result of consistency and repeatability, not merely posited from a religious institution as an unquestionable fact.
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  #41  
By FuriousFunk on 8th March 2010, 02:47 AM
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
But you have no evidence the Sun will shine or even that gravity will exist tomorrow ! It's extrapolation from past experience, not evidence at work. Scientists have faith that tomorrow will be a lot like yesterday and often assume without evidence that yesterday was a lot like today.
yes, there is evidence that gravity and the sun will produce in the future. We see past events and use the information to prove the upcoming future. The mass required for Gravity is still here and there is no indication that gravity has ever stopped functioning. The Sun will continue to shine because we see that it has plenty of Hydrogen inside it and we know that the photons from the sun was produced as much as 100,000 years ago so there is certainty that the Sun will shine for at least another 100,000 years as of today barring any celestial collisions. Just because you do not understand something does not mean that a magic man is controlling it. I do see the Christian logic in claiming to but not reading ONE book and then claiming to know everything instead of actually reading THOUSANDS of books and claiming to understand a specialized field. This idea of science requiring Faith is the Christian attempt to make science into a religion. Science is based on reproducible events that are predicted, there is no faith involved because we have this thing called peer-reviewed where nothing is considered a law until it's proven to the consensus of the science community. We don't read books that include unicorns, dragons, talking donkeys, bushes and snakes and then say "Well, it must be true because it's in this book that I am supposed to believe". Every answer is not in your book of fiction that requires you to ignore logic and have faith. The only faith in science is that we trust that the previous facts are true and the great thing about science is that we challenge ALL facts at all times, all assumptions are subject to scrutiny.
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  #42  
By Landrew on 8th March 2010, 11:17 AM
What is evidence?

Yes there is evidence that the sun will shine tomorrow and it's good evidence. That's not absolute proof of course, and technically, there is no such thing as evidence which stands as absolute proof. I think that's what was meant by "no evidence." (please correct me if I'm wrong)

Almost anything qualifies as "evidence," but is it good evidence? Science was invented as a tool to test evidence and apply weight of credibility, or a level of scientific certainty to evidence (or take it away). The more we apply skepticism and science to "evidence" and assertions, the more weight of certainty (or uncertainty) we can acquire in our own beliefs.
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  #43  
By brantc on 18th August 2010, 03:59 PM
"And that right there is where science and religion part ways. Science is not based on faith. Science is based on evidence."

Yes that is true, but science determines the validity of the evidence, it doesnt just look at all evidence equally, so the theory(model) actually leads science these days.
So if you are partial to a theory then alot of times its your conviction that causes you to continue on wrong or right.

The way science should be done is go where the evidence leads you no matter what your theory.

And also to not ridicule anyone for having a different theory(crack pot, woo, WRONG, etc,).
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  #44  
By fossilhound on 23rd August 2010, 11:36 PM
Originally Posted by brantc View Post
"And that right there is where science and religion part ways. Science is not based on faith. Science is based on evidence."

Yes that is true, but science determines the validity of the evidence, it doesnt just look at all evidence equally, so the theory(model) actually leads science these days.
So if you are partial to a theory then alot of times its your conviction that causes you to continue on wrong or right.

The way science should be done is go where the evidence leads you no matter what your theory.
True. Which is where publication and peer review take over, by skeptical experimenters who look for those errors caused by personal bias.
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  #45  
By eerok on 25th August 2010, 12:05 AM
Originally Posted by fossilhound View Post
True. Which is where publication and peer review take over, by skeptical experimenters who look for those errors caused by personal bias.
This is exactly right. Science is a methodology, and nothing can be skipped. The checks, quibbles, and refinements that flow from peer review are as essential to the goal of objectivity as any other part of the method. And objectivity is inarguably the goal of science.
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  #46  
By QuestioningAnswers on 4th September 2010, 01:14 AM
“Scientists were rated as great heretics by the church, but they were truly religious men because of their faith in the orderliness of the universe.”
- Albert Einstein

Science is indeed based purely on faith; the faith that you live in an objective universe. You could just as easily be living in a subjective universe in which you are unknowingly creating everything you are experiencing. With that possibility, you must take it on faith that you’re living in an objective universe and not the subjective one that only seems objective.

As Einstein said so well, scientists are truly religious men because of their faith in the orderliness of the universe.
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  #47  
By Nichiro on 5th September 2010, 11:54 AM
A man once said that I am an atheist. I have no faith.
I told him "Fine. Do you drive a car? He said yes. I asked him if he reached home safely daily in the evening for his dinner with the family? He said yes."
Then I told, you might be an atheist not believing in God. But you do have faith.
He asked me How?
I said, "You have faith in braking system of your ca, you have faith that the driver in front and back of you knows how to drive. You have faith that the traffic cops are doing their duty. You have faith that lights will work when there is darkness. You have faith that your family will be there when you reach home safely. You have faith that dinner will be served when you reach home.
Thus your life is full of faith.

It is enough if you have faith.
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  #48  
By eerok on 10th September 2010, 10:28 PM
Originally Posted by Nichiro View Post
It is enough if you have faith.
This doesn't bear at all on science, where one is merely required to provisionally accept things. This is not at all like having faith in things.

Faith is not adaptable, but science is designed to adapt to new information.
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  #49  
By blobru on 11th September 2010, 02:51 AM
Originally Posted by QuestioningAnswers View Post
“Scientists were rated as great heretics by the church, but they were truly religious men because of their faith in the orderliness of the universe.”
- Albert Einstein

Science is indeed based purely on faith; the faith that you live in an objective universe. You could just as easily be living in a subjective universe in which you are unknowingly creating everything you are experiencing. With that possibility, you must take it on faith that you’re living in an objective universe and not the subjective one that only seems objective.

As Einstein said so well, scientists are truly religious men because of their faith in the orderliness of the universe.
Science is based on the hypothesis that the universe is orderly. That hypothesis is confirmed by the success of well-ordered scientific models. So it is an experimentally confirmed confidence, or "faith", distinct from and much stronger than the unquestioning faith in the authority of the Bible which Einstein abandoned as a child.

Einstein's sayings, strewn haphazard about the net, are playfully terse and poetic, and without context easily misconstrued. I'm not sure the source of this quote (I have seen it attributed to the 18th century British chemist Humphry Davy, though as far as I can tell, this is erroneous), but assuming it is his, in the full context of his writings, he's clearly not saying that Science is based in the same sort of faith in authority that Religion is, and which Einstein explicitly rejected. It is based in careful observation, speculation refined by experiment, which inspired in Einstein a lifelong awe at the grand order it reveals. If one goal of religion is to reveal the universe and our place in it, then, in this poetic sense, science is true "religion", and scientists are truly "religious", because their understanding of and respect for the universe surpasses traditional, authority-based religion, would seem to have been Einstein's intent. However, I would be interested to see the quote in full context.


Originally Posted by Nichiro View Post
A man once said that I am an atheist. I have no faith.
I told him "Fine. Do you drive a car? He said yes. I asked him if he reached home safely daily in the evening for his dinner with the family? He said yes."
Then I told, you might be an atheist not believing in God. But you do have faith.
He asked me How?
I said, "You have faith in braking system of your ca, you have faith that the driver in front and back of you knows how to drive. You have faith that the traffic cops are doing their duty. You have faith that lights will work when there is darkness. You have faith that your family will be there when you reach home safely. You have faith that dinner will be served when you reach home.
Thus your life is full of faith.

It is enough if you have faith.
Again (and this confusion of experimentally or experientially confirmed confidence with religious faith in the authority of scripture is so pervasive it should have its own name, zip code, and congressman: "the G g equivocation": Faith in God = faith in gravity... NOT!), you are confusing two different things, which owing to the limits of the English language happen to be referred to by the same word, but which are nevertheless different, as different as an iconic 70's rock band is from Elizabeth II, so different, in fact, as to be opposites.

The "faith" referred to above -- in your car's brakes and traffic lights and dinner when you get home -- is confidence acquired from repeated observation and practice. It is based in testable experiment and simple experience. The very sort of thing that science deals with. It is not religious faith. There is a world of difference between "I believe the traffic lights will work today" and "I believe my soul will go to heaven when I die." The one is based on an experience you and others have had many times before, and thus have good reason to believe in; the other, is not.
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  #50  
By Bythemark on 11th September 2010, 11:13 PM
Originally Posted by Nichiro View Post
A man once said that I am an atheist. I have no faith.
I told him "Fine. Do you drive a car? He said yes. I asked him if he reached home safely daily in the evening for his dinner with the family? He said yes."
Then I told, you might be an atheist not believing in God. But you do have faith.
He asked me How?
I said, "You have faith in braking system of your ca, you have faith that the driver in front and back of you knows how to drive. You have faith that the traffic cops are doing their duty. You have faith that lights will work when there is darkness. You have faith that your family will be there when you reach home safely. You have faith that dinner will be served when you reach home.
Thus your life is full of faith.

It is enough if you have faith.
Nope. Informal trials have been done on the reliability of the brakes, the dinner, the lights, the family's safety, and they've all been reliable. If, for example, the car's brakes are unreliable, we get them fixed and then test them out to make sure that they are reliable. The same goes for future scientific research--science has consistently gone forward and answered more questions, and it's not so much faith as it is observation of patterns that I believe that scientists will continue to answer questions and continue to make faith a thing of the past.
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  #51  
By jsullivan on 13th September 2010, 04:03 AM
Many people of faith also are people of science; one must just understand the difference between faith based beliefs and hard science.
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  #52  
By Fox on 24th September 2010, 09:04 AM
Faith is belief without evidence, science has evidence, so no.
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  #53  
By skeptic griggsy on 24th September 2010, 07:07 PM
Apologists equivocate in using the term faith. They claim, as Dawkins's nemesis Alister Earl McGrath, that they mean trust rather than blind faith when they equate religion and science, but in the end they mean blind faith, because their arguments lack verisimilitude, and when someone doubts, they say have faith, but even if trust is meant, it becomes blind faith to overcome those very doubts!
Does anyone else have any observations on their use of the fallacy of equivocation? Dawkins won't touch thelogy, but I sure do, because of the no there there so as to expose it. Advance theologians like McGrath, WLC and Alvin Plantinga make no more sense than any fundamentalist theologian! Theology is just dressed-up animism behind one mindless spiriit.
Yes, mindless spirit.
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  #54  
By GracefullyTalentless on 27th September 2010, 09:05 AM
Through empirical data, shouldn't a scientist do everything in his power to destroy anything he has faith in?

If he fails to do so, then does he no longer need faith?
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  #55  
By eerok on 29th September 2010, 05:24 PM
Originally Posted by GracefullyTalentless View Post
Through empirical data, shouldn't a scientist do everything in his power to destroy anything he has faith in?
Faith is an emotion, and scientists have emotions like anyone else.

Quote:
If he fails to do so, then does he no longer need faith?
I don't understand the question. In any case, a scientist need only respect the methodology to do useful science, since the scientific method is designed to promote objective knowledge. It doesn't matter what he/she believes otherwise.
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  #56  
By GracefullyTalentless on 1st October 2010, 01:53 PM
Originally Posted by eerok View Post
Faith is an emotion, and scientists have emotions like anyone else.
You can't emphasise the emotional aspect of faith to the exclusion of its cognitive implications.

To do so is to suggest that that those with faith, of any kind, have given no thought as to the reason(s) to why they have faith.

My point was that a scientist who has a presupposition (a faith, if you will) should set out to prove that supposition wrong. He should place value on his doubt, rather than his faith, for that will be the defining characteristic of his nature - (perhaps it is what seperates him from a man worshipping the sun).

If he is unable to prove himself wrong, through repeated and replicable trials, he no longer needs to hold onto his presupposition.
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  #57  
By Anaxes on 4th October 2010, 08:43 AM
Semantics

The issue is one of sloppy semantics (which religionists love). As one of scientific bent, I make judgment decisions about truth based on the available information; this grades from pretty blasted certain it is wrong to blasted certain it is right, with a lot in the middle. At the extremes, I am at a point of belief, which is open-ended and subject to revision. Faith is something you HAVE to believe or risk going to hell (at least risk ostracism from the community).
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  #58  
By Tero on 24th October 2010, 05:24 AM
Well, it's not the same. In real religion, feelings are involved. Well, I do think some stuff in science is cool, but it is not a personal fate issue. So not the depth of feeling that some people are addicted to in religion.
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  #59  
By Anaxes on 25th October 2010, 02:26 PM
Doctrine and emotiion

Many people are emotionally dependent on a doctrine derived from social milieu. Each of us grows up in a network of relationships. At earliest ages, we often imprint the emotional responses demonstrated by available elders. Some of us come to confront and question the set of conclusions implied by such experience; apparently, some never do. Some of us are fortunate enough to encounter circumstances which motivate the basic inquiry. Adherence to and elaboration of primarily emotion-dependent doctrine makes the content of such a form of ideology, not philosophy (certainly not fact). "Truth" as encountered in most religious contexts, implies consistency with accepted doctrine, rather than having some accurate relationship to any aspect of existence described by the terms involved. [How do you paragraph within these windows?]
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  #60  
By Eligbak on 9th November 2010, 08:23 AM
All humans are emotionally dependant on other humans, communal beliefs and prejudices (apart from sociopaths, but even they don't live in a void). That's why science has a system in place to counter these inevitable human qualities - it's called the rules of scientific evidence. By its very nature, it's designed to be un-human.

That's the theory, in reality of course, there are lots of cases where science is faith-based, especially in the non-exact or soft sciences like linguistics, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology... Eric Thompson arguably held back the Ancient Mayan script decipherment for 30 years with his misplaced idealism and paternalistic rebukes. We'll be rewriting, or rather re-interpreting, history until the last historian drops dead. Psychiatry and psychology probably shouldn't be called sciences at all, since they have built complex social theories on little, ambivalent medical evidence.

It's more a question of how you define science - limit it to the hard sciences it's not faith-based, although you could argue that unfinished concepts on the leading edge always have a faith-based element, as long as they still compete with other theories to describe the same phenomenon.

Or even, that every theory that supposes reasons for why things happen in the world is faith-based, because it just has to always work to be scientific. That's why it's called a theory, not a truth. Theoretically, there could be some other underlying reason why things fall down. Nobody's yet managed to prove a negative, or rarely.
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  #61  
By skeptic griggsy on 16th November 2010, 06:02 PM
had already noted that to use faith with science is to make the fallacy of equivocaton that others here subsequently also note. Scientists follow William Kingdon's admonishment, in effect, to provisonally trust some matter as true but to revise their estimation of it as how true or not with further evidence whilst Williams James admonisthment to have faith provisionally, it seems to me, means have faith in God no matter what the evidence as you can ever find some reason to thnk so when that just means that siupernaturalists will find other false reasons.
Errantists acknowledge the problems with their scriptures but still find metaphors and His voice speaking through them.Yet, nothing remains of those scriptures-just what they read onto to them as William Kaufmann notes.
Faith doth that to people!
Supernaturalists ever will go from one false notion to another one in their faith-based beliefs.
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  #62  
By skeptic griggsy on 16th November 2010, 06:04 PM
Errantists find errant scriptures but still find meaningful metaphors in them and the voice of God when as William Kaufmann notes as reading their own notions onto them.
Faith doth that to people!
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  #63  
By Anaxes on 22nd November 2010, 09:19 AM
Science, philosophy, faith (ideology)

Might one propose some working definitions? Science is the active enterprise of hypothesis generation and testing by observation or experiment. Its main objective is discovery of fact. Philosophy is the enterprise of evaluating the implications of best current science-derived information and is ongoingly open to revision therefrom. Ideology is a set of ideas not open to revision in relation to pertinent facts.
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  #64  
By Anaxes on 22nd November 2010, 09:28 AM
Faith

P.S., "faith" as I have observed it, and as its adherents often proudly proclaim, is the principle of adherence to doctrine, period. This, for me, is the archetype of ideology.
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  #65  
By chainlink on 5th December 2010, 05:40 PM
I tend to think that science is a lot more faith-based than many people would like to believe. Often times, it seems certain unproven assumptions are accepted by virtually everyone -- rather than being challenged. After all, what respected professionals would want the label "kook" applied to them, for arguing against widely-accepted practice, theory and principals.

Something that comes to mind:

Why do doctors cut the umbilical cord of newborn babies? Is there any empirical evidence that demonstrates that this is better in some way than allowing it to fall off naturally? And what about the risks?

Or is this just an unproven (though perhaps not unreasonable) assumption that was primarily established through tradition? Compared other "traditional" routine surgical procedures -- like infant circumcision -- debate on this topic seems to be sorely lacking.

Is there something to this, or are medical doctors just another example of 'herd mentality'?
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  #66  
By Carn on 8th December 2010, 03:12 AM
I think its incorrect to say science isnt faith based.
As bad astronomer states, science starts with an assumption about the universe. But this assumption cannot be proven by further observation, because any conclusion from the observations relies on the assumption.

E.g. if a scientists tries to understand lightnings and through observation and deduction concludes, that lightning is caused by the build up of charge in the atmosphere and is able to derive some mathematical understanding that allows him to make predictions about when and where lightning is to be expected, this does not show, that the initial assumption about an ordered universe is correct.

It could also be possible, that the greeks were correct and lightning is thrown by Zeus upon his whims. And that just currently Zeus decided not to cast his lightning if someone angers or defies him, but only when there is sufficient thing human call electric charge and when the human invented laws of electromagnetic interaction would indicate a lightning strike to be likely. At any arbitrary point in the future Zeus might decide, that it had been enough fun too fool humans into thinking the universe is ordered and blast all scientists to ashes so that the rest of humans again learn to respect Zeus.

But still all the philosophers and theologians, with their imaginative thinking about invisible beings and trees falling without making sound, should shut up, because each of them makes the same assumption, because all of them take stairs instead of jumping out of windows purely because from the observation, that the last 1000 times taking the stairs instead of jumping out of windows was preferable, they conclude that there is some order in the universe, which has the consequence that stairs are preferable for humans instead of jumping out of the window.
So they all use daily the assumption sciences is making and therefore are in no position to call sciences down for making this assumption. But sciences is well suited to call them down for making a host of other assumptions.


And not to forget, scientists make the assumption, that there they are not some brain in a tank fed some virtual reality, but again everybody else assumes that, so nothing to be ashamed of.
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  #67  
By Arthur Mann on 8th December 2010, 07:27 PM
assumptions scientists must take on faith

Originally Posted by Carn View Post
I think its incorrect to say science isnt faith based.
There are a few things scientists have to take on faith:
  • the universe is real
  • the universe is governed by immutable physical laws
  • through our senses we can detect reality and through our reason we can determine the immutable physical laws
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  #68  
By blobru on 9th December 2010, 06:16 AM
Originally Posted by Carn View Post
I think its incorrect to say science isnt faith based.
As bad astronomer states, science starts with an assumption about the universe. But this assumption cannot be proven by further observation, because any conclusion from the observations relies on the assumption.
As an hypothesis, it's confirmed by the success of scientific predictions and the technology which relies on them.

Quote:
E.g. if a scientists tries to understand lightnings and through observation and deduction concludes, that lightning is caused by the build up of charge in the atmosphere and is able to derive some mathematical understanding that allows him to make predictions about when and where lightning is to be expected, this does not show, that the initial assumption about an ordered universe is correct.

It could also be possible, that the greeks were correct and lightning is thrown by Zeus upon his whims. And that just currently Zeus decided not to cast his lightning if someone angers or defies him, but only when there is sufficient thing human call electric charge and when the human invented laws of electromagnetic interaction would indicate a lightning strike to be likely. At any arbitrary point in the future Zeus might decide, that it had been enough fun too fool humans into thinking the universe is ordered and blast all scientists to ashes so that the rest of humans again learn to respect Zeus.
The order hypothesis is locally confirmed and tentatively extrapolated. Metaphysics is irrelevant. The cosmos might be Zeus hurling lightning bolts at unicorns farting rainbows for all we know. Science's job is to predict the pattern of the "rainbows" as best it can.

Quote:
But still all the philosophers and theologians, with their imaginative thinking about invisible beings and trees falling without making sound, should shut up, because each of them makes the same assumption, because all of them take stairs instead of jumping out of windows purely because from the observation, that the last 1000 times taking the stairs instead of jumping out of windows was preferable, they conclude that there is some order in the universe, which has the consequence that stairs are preferable for humans instead of jumping out of the window.
So they all use daily the assumption sciences is making and therefore are in no position to call sciences down for making this assumption. But sciences is well suited to call them down for making a host of other assumptions.
Science is empirical method. "Faith" as it applies to ideologies describes assumptions which are believed without ever being methodically confirmed ("God exists"; "there is an afterlife"; "I have a soul"; etc.) That distinction in mind, you're right science doesn't rely on any other non-empirical assumptions.

Quote:
And not to forget, scientists make the assumption, that there they are not some brain in a tank fed some virtual reality, but again everybody else assumes that, so nothing to be ashamed of.
Again, metaphysics is irrelevant to science; so there is no shame, virtual or not.
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  #69  
By eerok on 11th December 2010, 02:22 AM
Originally Posted by Arthur Mann View Post
There are a few things scientists have to take on faith:
  • the universe is real
  • the universe is governed by immutable physical laws
  • through our senses we can detect reality and through our reason we can determine the immutable physical laws
I disagree. These things are not taken on faith at all, but provisionally accepted only insofar as they are accurate and useful. In other words, we will pursue science -- the methodological accumulation of objective knowledge -- as long as this pursuit continues to work. If it ever happens that reality as we know it stops working, we'll rethink it.

It's clear that one needs to redefine what faith means in order to apply it to science, and in so doing, service is done to neither faith nor science.
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  #70  
By RVM45 on 28th December 2010, 02:29 PM
Cool

The Scientific method, if applied diligently, by enough practitioners over a long enough period of time--Seems to result in an ever more consistent explanation of under-riding mechanisms.

Also, there can be little doubt that the diligent; even obsessive record keeping that is a part and parcel of good science lets us take advantage of the myriad Serendipitous discoveries that one makes while pursuing Science.

Has anyone ever read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"?

Let's examine Pirsig's Axiom: "The number of possible Hypothesis to explain a given Phenomena is Infinite."

When you finally climb that very high Truth Tree to its furthest extrapolation. When you finally have an absolutely airtight; 100% consistent Theory of Everything {TOE}.....

Is there any way to prove, that at one or more junctions of the Tree, a branch you wrote off as somewhat less promising many generations ago--might have eventually led to another perfectly consistent TOE--That was nonetheless, completely different than the current TOE?

Well, you can't prove that, until you can figure out how to test each and every one of those infinite hypothesis that present themselves at every branching of your truth tree.

Kinda takes the steam out "This is the one Truth".

Problem #2} So far we haven't yet come to something that Man's brain can't handle--at least at some level of abstraction.

But neither Science nor Common Sense can rule out a day when we look at something and are forced to say: "This far we cab go, but no farther--because this is too complicated a concept for the human mind to grasp....."

Just for instance--What if understanding the Ultimate TOE required one to be able to mentally picture objects with Seventeen Spatial Dimensions--and five Temporal Dimensions--Not saying that the Universe is necessarily that complicated--just that the TOE was?

Finally, we can manipulate an old Chestnut to arrive at a pleasing truth.

"If God is all powerful, can he create a stone so heavy that he can't lift it?"


Restate the Problem in its most General terms:

"Can an Omnipotent being create an unsolvable problem for himself?"

We have come up with an "Anti-Tautology" [Contradiction, if you will] that seems to prove that Omnipotence cannot Logically exist.

There are two horns to this Dilemma: Either there is no such thing as Omipotence--So far as I know, there are many who believe this.....

Or, if Omnipotence does exist--It has to obey a whole other sort of Law than Logic--and in all probability it is beyond the power of the human mind to fully comprehend.....

An elegant example of the "Too Complex Problem."


So you build a huge computer--or you genetically alter your children to have larger Brains.....

And once again, you have to put your faith in either Big Brained Mutants Offspring--or Big Brained Machines.....

.....RVM45
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  #71  
By !Kaggen on 31st December 2010, 02:53 AM
We like to pretend that our experiments define the truth for us. But that’s often not the case. Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer

Great article emphasizing the a priority belief system implicit in current science
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  #72  
By Chodorov on 31st December 2010, 04:13 PM
Science, properly considered, is not faith-based. But modern science is to a very large extent. The belief in the Big Bang. The special relativity dogma. The irrational belief in using chemo-therapy. Everywhere we see faith-based unscience.
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  #73  
By Chodorov on 31st December 2010, 06:25 PM
Modern science is largely faith-based. For example the Big Bang theory is a faith-based creation theory. Total mindlessness and disproven already. Special relativity advocates are actively hostile to the scientific method, and so forth. These are cultural problems we are having right now, and one hopes we will transcend all this woo.
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  #74  
By piojunbabia on 4th January 2011, 09:25 PM
In my honest opinion, i think some science related topics are faithbased. On the other hand scientist who are "atheist" try to make or prove a scientific theory by contradicting the faith just like what Charles Darwin was trying to do.
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  #75  
By stevea on 5th January 2011, 12:41 AM
Originally Posted by FuriousFunk View Post
yes, there is evidence that gravity and the sun will produce in the future. We see past events and use the information to prove the upcoming future.
Ridiculous. 300 years of empiricist says you are dead wrong. Science doesn't produce proofs, an extrapolation is not evidence.
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  #76  
By Chodorov on 7th January 2011, 12:08 AM
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
Ridiculous. 300 years of empiricist says you are dead wrong. Science doesn't produce proofs, an extrapolation is not evidence.
You do realize that you are making an inductive inference here don't you? The problem is that its not a good inductive inference. I call this reliance on this phony version of "empiricism" .... "pulling the Hume-Nuke". People tend to stand behind Hume because of his acknowledged brilliance. But his arguments against inductive inference have been summarised as "any single case of inductive inference is not the best." As one philosopher puts it, this is only a problem "where only the best will do."

Science properly considered never relies on any single inductive inference. A good scientist has three or more inductive inferences before breakfast. He will make dozens of inductive inferences. And if he is really good he will understand that most of these inductive inferences will turn out to be wrong.

The entirety of the scientific process does not rely on someone saying ..... all swans I've seen are white and therefore no swans are black.

This is an example of a single inductive inference on its own. Its not an example of the primacy of inductive inference with regards to the scientific method. The idea that we ought not use inductive inference is akin to saying that we must throw ALL our tools away on the grounds that no single one of them can be used to build the house entire. Should we throw out all our hammers on the grounds that the hammer alone will not erect a house?

This is a terrible misunderstanding of the scientific method. And yes its true. You are right. Many philosophers have been guilty of this misunderstanding.
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  #77  
By JoeBentley on 12th January 2011, 11:24 PM
Originally Posted by Third Eye Open View Post
People who think that science is faith-based are confusing Faith with Trust.
This, this, this a thousand times this.

I don't have "faith" that the sun is going to rise in the morning. I trust that it's going to rise based on my understanding of orbital mechanics. The two concepts could not be more different.
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  #78  
By eerok on 14th January 2011, 09:22 AM
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I don't have "faith" that the sun is going to rise in the morning. I trust that it's going to rise based on my understanding of orbital mechanics. The two concepts could not be more different.
I think this is even a stronger claim than is necessary. One can expect a continuous reality without actually trusting in it. We set our alarm clocks expecting that there will be a world to wake up to, but nothing is required beyond provisional acceptance based on a familiar pattern.

If we wake to a completely altered reality, well, we'll deal with that using whatever tools we might find to do so.

Faith is an emotional need. Period. Some people are just not built that way. This does not make their (our) sense of reality any less -- just different.

Those who can't imagine reality without faith have a poor imagination.
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  #79  
By Francois2807 on 22nd January 2011, 06:12 PM
I think philosophically faith is very important to science. If you read the first section of Genesis It seems like a physics explanation of the big bang theory as would be told to someone who had no idea whatsoever about physics.
The printing press had its first use printing Bibles and I'm certain that was the idea that caused its creation. All science begins with a what if proposition and a certain amount of faith that something good will come of this idea.
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