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Tags science , scientific method

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

Is science faith-based?




No.


Oh, you want details? OK then.

If you read any antiscience screeds, at some point or another most will claim that science is based on faith just as much as religion is. For example, the horrific Answers in Genesis website has this to say about science:

Quote:
Much of the problem stems from the different starting points of our divergence with Darwinists. Everyone, scientist or not, must start their quests for knowledge with some unprovable axiom—some a priori belief on which they sort through experience and deduce other truths. This starting point, whatever it is, can only be accepted by faith; eventually, in each belief system, there must be some unprovable, presupposed foundation for reasoning (since an infinite regression is impossible).

This is completely wrong. It shows (unsurprisingly) an utter misunderstanding of how science works. Science is not faith-based, and here’s why.

The scientific method makes one assumption, and one assumption only: the Universe obeys a set of rules. That’s it. There is one corollary, and that is that if the Universe follows these rules, then those rules can be deduced by observing the way Universe behaves. This follows naturally; if it obeys the rules, then the rules must be revealed by that behavior.

A simple example: we see objects going around the Sun. The motion appears to follow some rules: the orbits are conic sections (ellipses, circles, parabolas, hyperbolas), the objects move faster when they are closer to the Sun, if they move too quickly they can escape forever, and so on.

From these observations we can apply mathematical equations to describe those motions, and then use that math to predict where a given object will be at some future date. Guess what? It works. It works so well that we can shoot probes at objects billions of kilometers away and still nail the target to phenomenal accuracy. This supports our conclusion that the math is correct. This in turn strongly implies that the Universe is following its own rules, and that we can figure them out.

Now, of course that is a very simple example, and is not meant to be complete, but it gives you an idea of how this works. Now think on this: the computer you are reading this on is entirely due to science. The circuits are the end result of decades, centuries of exploration in how electricity works and how quantum particles behave. The monitor is a triumph of scientific engineering, whether it’s a CRT or an LCD flat panel. The mouse might use an LED, or a simple ball-and-wheel. The keyboard uses springs, the wireless uses radio technology, the speakers use electromagnetism.*

Look around. Cars, airplanes, buildings. iPods, books, clothing. Agriculture, plumbing, waste disposal. Light bulbs, vacuum cleaners, ovens. These are all the products of scientific research. If your TV breaks, you can pray that it’ll spontaneously start working again, but my money would be on someone who has learned how to actually fix it based on scientific and engineering principles.

All the knowledge we have accumulated over the millennia comes together in a harmonious symphony of science. We’re not guessing here: this stuff was designed using previous knowledge developed in a scientific manner over centuries. And it works. All of this goes to support our underlying assumption that the Universe obeys rules that we can deduce.

Are there holes in this knowledge? Of course. Science doesn’t have all the answers. But science has a tool, a power that its detractors never seem to understand.

Science is not simply a database of knowledge. It’s a method, a way of finding this knowledge. Observe, hypothesize, predict, observe, revise. Science is provisional; it’s always open to improvement. Science is even subject to itself. If the method itself didn’t work, we’d see it. Our computers wouldn’t work (OK, bad example), our space probes wouldn’t get off the ground, our electronics wouldn’t work, our medicine wouldn’t work. Yet, all these things do in fact function, spectacularly well. Science is a check on itself, which is why it is such an astonishingly powerful way of understanding reality.

And that right there is where science and religion part ways. Science is not based on faith. Science is based on evidence. We have evidence it works, vast amounts of it, billions of individual pieces that fit together into a tapestry of reality. That is the critical difference. Faith, as it is interpreted by most religions, is not evidence-based, and is generally held tightly even despite evidence against it. In many cases, faith is even reinforced when evidence is found contrary to it.

To say that we have to take science on faith is such a gross misunderstanding of how science works that it can only be uttered by someone who is wholly ignorant of how reality works.

The next time someone tries to tell you that science is just as faith-based as religion, or that evolution is a religion, point them here. Perhaps the evidence of science may sway them. Perhaps not; it’s difficult to reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. But the next time they get on a computer, maybe they’ll take a slightly more critical look at it, and wonder if its workings are a miracle, or the results of brilliant minds over many generations toiling away at the scientific method.



*The irony of Answers in Genesis denigrating science on a website is not lost on me.



Article reproduced with permission from: Bad Astronomy Blog Copyright © 2008 All Rights Reserved.


A discussion about this article can be found here: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=106792
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  #1  
By beeksc1 on 21st February 2008, 11:00 AM
Definitely, science is a process of replication
And it seems that spirituality can be oriented into science because unity most always is better than seperation.
There’s this book by Ken Wilber called The Holographic Paradigm and Other Paradoxes: Exploring the Leading Edge of Science (1982)

In it he says,
“Modern science is no longer denying spirit. And that, that is epochal. As Hans Kung remarked, the standard answer to "Do you believe in Spirit?" used to be, "Of course not, I'm a scientist," but it might very soon become, "Of course I believe in Spirit. I'm a scientist."
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  #2  
By Darth Rotor on 7th March 2008, 04:17 PM
I always thought science was curiosity based.

Scientists, on the other hand, are sometimes curiosity based, other times ego based, other times obsession based, and other times free based.

DR
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  #3  
By blobru on 8th March 2008, 12:27 PM
Originally Posted by beeksc1 View Post
... There’s this book by Ken Wilber called The Holographic Paradigm and Other Paradoxes: Exploring the Leading Edge of Science (1982)

In it he says,
“Modern science is no longer denying spirit. And that, that is epochal. As Hans Kung remarked, the standard answer to "Do you believe in Spirit?" used to be, "Of course not, I'm a scientist," but it might very soon become, "Of course I believe in Spirit. I'm a scientist."
Admittedly, I'm not sure how Kung is defining it (or Wilber), but based on what I know of current science, I can't think of any reason to extrapolate that scientists will all one day believe in "Spirit".
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  #4  
By Darth Rotor on 11th March 2008, 02:05 PM
To play a few word games here, science is faith based insofar as scientists having faith that they can, with enough work and testing, and at times development of new tools and methods, find an answer. When a given answer presents another question to find an answer for, rinse and repeat.
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  #5  
By blobru on 12th March 2008, 09:42 AM
Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
To play a few word games here, science is faith based insofar as scientists having faith that they can, with enough work and testing, and at times development of new tools and methods, find an answer. When a given answer presents another question to find an answer for, rinse and repeat.

I don't know if that's the same "faith" Phil is writing about, absolute committment to an unverifiable belief system, or in any event that it's essential to science.

Faith in the religious sense is a decision to believe in something because my life would be worse if I didn't. The meaning I derive from my faith, the effect it has on my life, then becomes a reason for having the belief, in addition to whatever evidence and logic pro and con one might muster. It is also the claim that the universe has a human purpose, and that absolute knowledge of that purpose is possible, and necessary, for man.

That's what separates faith, and religion, from science, and doubt. Any scientist who argues something is true because life would have less meaning if it weren't, that he is absolutely sure of it, because it serves the universe's and our common purpose, is... possibly insane; irrational at least, and unscientific. For science is the eradication of faith through rigorous and systematic doubt.

Now, some scientists may indeed have a sort of "faith" in their work, I don't know. For some, absolute confidence may inspire them to work harder just as religious faith inspires the religious to lead better lives, or so the argument goes. I'd tend to characterize it as confidence in their abilities, and not faith in science. But even if that confidence did amount to a sort of "faith" in every case, I don't see that it's essential to the business or definition of science. (Note also the danger for the scientist of her self-confidence leading to impatience leading to desperation to make a discovery, compromising her objectivity).

It seems to me science is based on a single assumption: "it works" (gives us working knowledge). As it is an assumption supported by all the literature and useful technology it generates, it need not be taken on faith. So -- although arguing from a different assumption than Phil (his is "the universe obeys a set of rules") -- I come to the same conclusion: science is not faith-based.
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  #6  
By Third Eye Open on 13th March 2008, 05:39 PM
This is my pet peev

People who think that science is faith-based are confusing Faith with Trust.

You say I have faith in the books and people that teach me Science? No, it is not Faith, it is Trust.

Trust is based on past experiences whether they be mine or not.

Faith is by definition opposed to past experiences.

If I press the brakes on my car, I expect the car to stop. This is not faith, this is trust. It is based on all the past times I have experienced the brakes working. And before I had ever driven a car, my trust in the brakes was based on all the times I had ridden in a car and observed other people pressing on the brakes. And before I had ever ridden in a car, I trusted my parents that it would be safe because they had never misled me before.

Of course I can't know absolutely that my brakes will work. Nothing can be known absolutely, but that doesn't mean it takes faith to believe it.

Faith is reserved for things with no reason to believe. If it is not reasonable to believe something, it then requires faith to overcome the lack of reason.

Say I am allergic to strawberries. Every time I eat one, my throat swells up and I have to go to the hospital. I know, from past experiences that this has happened every time. Knowing this, it would require Faith for me to eat the strawberry and not expect to go to the hospital. Whether it be faith in my immune system, faith in the strawberry having different contents then usual -whatever- It is faith, not trust, that is used in this illogical situation.
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  #7  
By JamesDillon on 19th March 2008, 03:46 PM
With due respect, Phil, I think you're kind of wrong on this one, for the very reason you point out: science does rely on an unprovable axiom, namely the premise of the uniformity of nature, which as Hume recognized cannot be proven logically or empirically. The fact that we appear to have made some pretty damned impressive predictions on the basis of the scientific method is not only irrelevant to the point but actually begs the question, since if Hume is right (and I've seen nothing--Popper included-- to suggest that he isn't) then we have no rationally defensible reason whatsoever to assume that any prediction based on the inductive process of scientific reasoning is valid regardless of the number of times such reasoning has worked in the past. I don't like that fact, and I'm certainly not here arguing in favor of faith-based epistemology, but I've never seen a solution to the problem of induction that resolves it. Much to my regret, after reading your post, I still haven't.
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  #8  
By astorix on 22nd March 2008, 08:34 AM
Thumbs up faith v. trust

Originally Posted by Third Eye Open View Post
People who think that science is faith-based are confusing Faith with Trust.
This is an excellent perspective and the difference between the two is something I hadn't really thought of before. I trust that the remote will turn the TV on because it has worked hundreds of times before when I used it. Having faith that the remote will turn on the TV if you stare at it long enough and pray hard enough is really quite irrational, and therefore faith is irrational. Frequently I use the word faith when I really mean trust, like having faith that the sun will rise in the morning. I will be more careful with the two words in the future.
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  #9  
By Corpse Cruncher on 31st March 2008, 01:37 AM
Originally Posted by Third Eye Open View Post
People who think that science is faith-based are confusing Faith with Trust.

You say I have faith in the books and people that teach me Science? No, it is not Faith, it is Trust.

Trust is based on past experiences whether they be mine or not.

Faith is by definition opposed to past experiences.

If I press the brakes on my car, I expect the car to stop. This is not faith, this is trust. It is based on all the past times I have experienced the brakes working. And before I had ever driven a car, my trust in the brakes was based on all the times I had ridden in a car and observed other people pressing on the brakes. And before I had ever ridden in a car, I trusted my parents that it would be safe because they had never misled me before.

Of course I can't know absolutely that my brakes will work. Nothing can be known absolutely, but that doesn't mean it takes faith to believe it.

Faith is reserved for things with no reason to believe. If it is not reasonable to believe something, it then requires faith to overcome the lack of reason.

Say I am allergic to strawberries. Every time I eat one, my throat swells up and I have to go to the hospital. I know, from past experiences that this has happened every time. Knowing this, it would require Faith for me to eat the strawberry and not expect to go to the hospital. Whether it be faith in my immune system, faith in the strawberry having different contents then usual -whatever- It is faith, not trust, that is used in this illogical situation.
By reading your post on the differing definitions of trust and faith, the two merge and appear to be one of the same concepts from my viewpoint.

Isn't it surely what concept that faith and trust are in that make the difference; if there in fact any difference? Trust in an object or a self-position; is equally the same in applying faith to an object or to a self-position; given the same parameters in the strawberry allergy of car braking system.

I have faith in the manufacturer of my car to ensure braking is achieved each and every-time I push said pedal. Therefore an assumption, loosely, in trust is also applicable that the car was built to a safe reliable standard.

But there is a but in that. Isn't it 'hope' and not faith or trust. I hope not to have a repeated allergic reaction; while equally hope that my car will stop when the brake is applied?

Going back to the OP; Science is about repeatable tests. Faith and trust do not, or, can I see, can be applied. Science is based on achievable facts proving what it seeks to prove. Facts are not necessarily true. There maybe elements of hope, which can merge into faith. As in hope that what test has been done 100 times before in the name of science, will still produce the same results again.

If by defining faith as a religious concept and by stating the defintion of a religious concept; as one that has followers, follows a code, addresses others, and in some instances has fanatics. Science is another religion - followed by those so inclined.
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  #10  
By melodious on 3rd April 2008, 07:50 AM
Quote:
Science is based on evidence.
Could faith be based on science?
I mean, aren't tenets base on observation? This is a question that I ponder...

If nature is observable and measurable, and even predictable, then weren't earliest theories based on what a HUman sees...?
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  #11  
By Radrook on 7th April 2008, 06:22 PM
There is a confusion evident here concerning faith and blind faith. Obviously when Paul said in Romans chapter two that he believed in God based on what he observed in nature he wasn't describing blind faith but was giving us a logical basis for belief.

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

So the concept that faith or belief in God needs to be blind and without foundation in the observable universe isn't scriptural.

Actually, even the belief in prophecy fulfillment which speaks of rewards to the isn't based on blind faith. It's based on the fulfillment of all previous prophecies which gives the believer confidence that the ones as yet unfulfilled will be also. So that also is based on observation of pattern and conclusions and not merely on blind belief without any perceivable evidence.

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

So to discuss the issue God's existence from the blind-faith Biblical perspective-or from a supposed Christian blind faith perspective is actually a strawman argument.
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  #12  
By NonCleverName on 12th April 2008, 12:28 AM
Trust? Faith? Jesus. I don't have faith or trust that my brakes will work. I know that, barring something interfering with the braking process, if my brakes work then they will work.

Seriously, philosophy is awesome and all, but when you start comparing observation and faith, it gets real stupid, real fast.

Anyone who has seen how brakes work, knows that they work. They also know that brakes wear out and will eventually cease to work. Now, when I get in my truck, I do not think to myself ''What if my brakes work?'' When my brakes start wearing out to the point that they need to be replaced, I will know.

Now, you can make the argument that something else could happen, such as someone messing with my brakes, thus causing them to not work. But this is just a ''what if'', although it is a possibility. What if someone shoots you as you get into your car? Do you have faith you will get into the car safely? Or do you have trust? Both questions are dumb. To avoid everything bad that could possibly happen, you'd have to live a pretty limited life. Plus, the stress of your obession would probably kill you anyway.

There are thousands of ****** things that could happen to someone during his/her daily routine. When I get into my truck in the morning, someone may shoot me. It's possible, but I don't think about it. I don't have faith, or trust, that I will enter my car safely. I am aware of the possibilities: I will enter my car safely, or I will not. No trust involved. What happens, happens.

I think some may be confusing our tendency to not consider possibilities beforehand, like taking the safety of food for granted. ''I have never eaten food that contained a lethal substance, so I don't think about it when I eat.'' That's not trust and it's certainly not faith. What one should be thinking before they consume food is this: Most people who eat food do not die from poisoning, but it's possible, so I must accept that in reality I may or may not die after I eat this.
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  #13  
By CrikeyBobs on 16th April 2008, 04:46 AM
Comparing faith in a god with faith in axioms is as BA stated, pretty absurd.
In science and mathematics, axioms are relatively simple 'truths', from which more complex theorems are constructed. For a theistic religion, the god 'axiom' is the most complex thing imaginable. Any 'theories' derived from it must by definition be less complex, which is in direct opposition to science. Once you believe in the most complex thing imaginable, everything else is a given - no further thought is necessary.

With regards to the argument that we cannot prove that the universe applies its rules consistently throughout time and space, while it may be a philosophical problem, it certainly doesn't put science at a disadvantage to religion. If science notices something wrong then, eventually, the axioms will be questioned. Religion seldom (ever?) does this. For example, in the case of a calamitous natural disaster, some theists will add a "wrath" theory, while others will add the "moves in mysterious ways" theory to patch the cracks (of course I'm not suggesting that scientists are perfect in this respect, but science allows and actually demands that the basic tenets are subject to review) .
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  #14  
By jimmygun on 16th April 2008, 12:04 PM
I have often told my religious nemesis that science builds its pyramids from the ground up and faith builds them from the top down. I ask them which is the more likely to be true.
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  #15  
By FuriousFunk on 19th April 2008, 06:13 AM
The people that claim science is "faith based" are simply too ignorant to understand it so it must be faith based. This is also their argument for Religion, you non-believers don't believe because you do not know the power of the Lord. Science is based on reproduced studies that can be predicted 100% of the time. Faith that Jesus wont kill your child by making a drunk driver run over him is not predictable, it's random but since the drunk didn't hit the kid today it must have been Jesus protecting the child.
It never ceases to amaze me how dumb people are in today's world and how much they like to take credit for other people's accomplishments. We are primitive humans and we see ourselves as better because of what science and technology has brought us.
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  #16  
By Anaxes on 19th April 2008, 08:11 PM
Originally Posted by FuriousFunk View Post
The people that claim science is "faith based" are simply too ignorant to understand it so it must be faith based. This is also their argument for Religion, you non-believers don't believe because you do not know the power of the Lord. Science is based on reproduced studies that can be predicted 100% of the time. Faith that Jesus wont kill your child by making a drunk driver run over him is not predictable, it's random but since the drunk didn't hit the kid today it must have been Jesus protecting the child.
It never ceases to amaze me how dumb people are in today's world and how much they like to take credit for other people's accomplishments. We are primitive humans and we see ourselves as better because of what science and technology has brought us.
One may observe that Christians often have the habit of attributing events or circumstances to procedures of Faith. E.g., getting that job was a "God thing"--I prayed about it a lot. This may reflect their actual conclusion; it also signals other Faithful that they are members of the group. Do not fall for the semantic ploy of equating "Faith" with belief. It is possible to believe many things in terms of being convinced as best judgment that something is true. If it is Faith, you MUST believe or risk going to Hell. My belief is revisable--life is a learning process.
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  #17  
By skeptic griggsy on 5th February 2009, 05:33 PM
Faith begs the question of its subject as theists cannot give evidence therefor. Faith is the we just say so of credulity. As that great naturalist, Sydney Hook notes: Science is acquired knowledge while faith begs the question "without Foundations"]
And this assuming equality between science and blind faith is the fallacy of equivocation. That bane!
Folks, unlike the great Dawkins, I'll take on those avant-guarde theologians, Keith Ward and haughty John Haught, whose theology ranks with than of Pat Robertson- nonsense!
Double depression is so depressing. I spend so much time@Amazon religious discussions and a bad dish have also kept Fr. Griggs from posting here.
Blessings and goodwill to all!
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  #18  
By Bunk on 21st February 2009, 12:16 PM
This has always been my favorite BA blog post. I don't know how many times I've linked to it whenever someone is amused by my "faith" in evolution.
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  #19  
By shep on 4th March 2009, 08:01 PM
This is one of the areas where, in the past, I tended to lose my footing in a debate, but I agree that there's a fundamental difference between religious faith and faith in a fundamental axiom like "The universe obeys a set of laws".

The latter is testable, the former is not. Not only is the latter testable, but the results of the tests tend not to surprise scientists as often as they would if their faith was misplaced.

I guess this is a long way of saying "It's the evidence, stupid!", but I'm a sucker for repeating other peoples' good arguments in my own (probably ignorant) terms...

Now.... there's a closely-related concept that "atheism is faith-based", and since absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, I think I do find myself having to defend my atheism just on axiomatic assumptions and reason alone. Can anyone point out where I'm probably going wrong here, or is this topic too much of a derail?

-shep.
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  #20  
By deRoy on 5th July 2009, 04:10 PM
+1 for this.
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  #21  
By psychonaut on 8th July 2009, 02:21 PM
I think the more fundamental axiom is: The Universe Exists (at all).


It's a pretty big leap to assume that the things we see "out there" correspond to actual objects in an actual space. Of course, we all act from this assumption, but it's more a description of human psychology than a proof that the external universe actually exists.

I think this point is more subtle than the fundee "Science is faith-based!" (which is a misunderstanding of science and well addressed by Phil here), but as long as we're talking axioms...
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  #22  
By iiwo on 20th July 2009, 10:39 PM
Faith, by definition, is a confidence in things unseen, a certainty of things hoped for. (Loosely paraphrased from Hebrews 11)

Only in the loosest of definitions does 'science' fit this description. Science, or rather, the scientists "hope for" their hypothesis to be (in)correct. But that hope is hardly confidence--at least in the sense the author of Hebrews is using the word.

If anything, science (or at least the conclusion/theory part) is based on things SEEN and TESTED.

Where evangelists try to cop out is with the "we weren't there so we don't know" part of science. We didn't see dinosaurs, three foot dragonflies, tiktallik, or the big bang. Therefore it's faith. They circumvent the part where scientists announce HOW they know these things and simply use a line such as "we know, therefore we know", twisted in such a way as to do a mobius strip proud.

Science is not faith based, but it is often twisted or tweaked to make it appear as if it is. This is a (pun intended) tried and true hypothesis theory of mine.
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  #23  
By Parasitic on 25th July 2009, 11:12 AM
The scientific method itself proves why such things like religion dont add up.
if there is such as one flaw in science, you must start the experiment, or what ever you doing again. from grade 1 science, to PHD level Astrology and physics. There must be no mistakes, or you become a scientist that is disrespected in the community.

I do not have a PHD in science, but, When out of high school i would like to try for physics, because of theese facts.

THERE CAN BE ABSOLUTELY NO MISTAKES.
That being said,
It cannot be based on faith.
You get people like steven jones when you make mistakes.
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  #24  
By melodious on 27th July 2009, 10:00 AM
It only took one quote in the Bible to allow me to see how science and God are connected.

God is light.

Light is energy

and this falls under Einstein's law of thermo dynamics: I & II.
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  #25  
By iiwo on 28th July 2009, 06:41 PM
Originally Posted by cityinruin View Post
The scientific method itself proves why such things like religion dont add up.
if there is such as one flaw in science, you must start the experiment, or what ever you doing again. from grade 1 science, to PHD level Astrology and physics. There must be no mistakes, or you become a scientist that is disrespected in the community.

I do not have a PHD in science, but, When out of high school i would like to try for physics, because of theese facts.

THERE CAN BE ABSOLUTELY NO MISTAKES.
That being said,
It cannot be based on faith.
You get people like steven jones when you make mistakes.
Good sentiment, I would alter it only slightly. "There can be absolutely no mistakes" left unaccounted for or uncorrected.

There will always be mistakes--one of the many goals of science is to make new experiments work based on previous ones, and previous ones better based on newer ones and/or newer materials, ideas, and equipment.
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  #26  
By Raze on 30th July 2009, 06:08 PM
Originally Posted by melodious View Post
[...]

and this falls under Einstein's law of thermo dynamics: I & II.
Einstein's law of thermodynamics?
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  #27  
By Kritikos on 31st July 2009, 04:59 PM
Originally Posted by cityinruin View Post
if there is such as one flaw in science, you must start the experiment, or what ever you doing again. from grade 1 science, to PHD level Astrology and physics. There must be no mistakes, or you become a scientist that is disrespected in the community.

I do not have a PHD in science, but, When out of high school i would like to try for physics, because of these facts.

THERE CAN BE ABSOLUTELY NO MISTAKES.
That being said,
It cannot be based on faith.
You get people like steven jones when you make mistakes.
Originally Posted by iiwo View Post
Good sentiment, I would alter it only slightly. "There can be absolutely no mistakes" left unaccounted for or uncorrected.
And I would alter the reference to "PHD level Astrology and physics." I hope that Cityinruin meant "astronomy." I don't think that you can get a Ph.D. in astrology, and in any case, it is not science.
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  #28  
By Stacy Head on 9th August 2009, 09:38 AM
Originally Posted by melodious View Post
It only took one quote in the Bible to allow me to see how science and God are connected.

God is light.

Light is energy

and this falls under Einstein's law of thermo dynamics: I & II.
The bible is fiction

Einstein's law of thermodynamics is a theory based on scientific study

Science is not based on faith in response to your response.

Next...
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  #29  
By !Kaggen on 10th August 2009, 03:24 AM
"one assumption only: the Universe obeys a set of rules"

I am still not sure why this assumption is not an "a priori synthetic judgement", correct me if I am wrong?
Why can't one develop a theory of knowledge without any assumptions then the faith accusation will die the death it deserves?
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  #30  
By !Kaggen on 10th August 2009, 03:28 AM
"one assumption only: the Universe obeys a set of rules"
This is still an "a priori synthetic judgement".
Why can't we attempt a theory of knowledge without any assumptions?
I do not see how this will affect the validity of science at all.
It will however get rid of the question around faith once and for all.
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  #31  
By Raze on 18th August 2009, 12:58 AM
Originally Posted by !Kaggen View Post
"one assumption only: the Universe obeys a set of rules"
This is still an "a priori synthetic judgement".
Why can't we attempt a theory of knowledge without any assumptions?
I do not see how this will affect the validity of science at all.
It will however get rid of the question around faith once and for all.
Before you go there you have to ask the question, "what does the question 'Is science faith-based' mean?"

Is math based on faith? According to one interpretation of the question, yes. Because the entire structure of mathematics rests upon axioms that cannot be proven mathematically (the assumption that x = x). Then again, on the other hand, an axiom is self-evident. And so you could argue that math is not faith-based, at least within the context of mathematics.

In fact, you can go DesCartes' route and say that mathematics rests upon the assumption that an "Evil Genius" isn't tricking us every step of the way with faulty logic that we think is correct logic.

But within the context of mathematics, I doubt you will find a mathematician or anyone competent within mathematics that will say that math is based upon anything other than rigorous logic.


As for science, the question of whether or not science is faith-based is one that lies outside of science in the first place. As is the question of whether or not our senses are perceiving any "true" data from the universe, or whether any "true" data can even be ascertained in any way, or whether the universe behaves in any way that can be modeled scientifically. None of these are in the domain of science. And I would say that science is not "based on" any of them. Science is based upon experimental data that can be analyzed and quantified.

Whether or not experimental data that can be analyzed and quantified exists is entirely independent of whether or not science exists, because science is nothing but a method of inquiry. In order for science to be carried out, then there must be something that can be examined, but it doesn't follow that the scientist must be in principle able to quantify something in nature to be doing science. The scientist could be forever doomed to fail in all his endeavors, yet still be doing science.

Of course, I am quite sure this is not where the thread is supposed to go, and I am a terrible armchair philosopher, so I'll let it lie here and look at it from a different angle.






During the scientific method, a scientist will make hypotheses about something s/he observers. S/he will then formulate mathematical laws predicting the behavior of the system s/he is analyzing. At this point, you could argue that the scientist is having faith that his/her hypothesis is the best of all the possible hypotheses s/he could formulate given his/her knowledge of the system. But the scientific method continues, and the hypothesis is tested. Then when inevitably the hypothesis turns out to not be perfect, the scientist modifies the hypothesis. This process continues until the scientist's hypothesis matches the data in all cases to the degree that measurement capabilities allow.

Then, again, you could say faith comes into play: the scientist has faith s/he has formed a good theory. Not an absolutely correct one, however, since any good scientist will be aware that there will probably always be limits to any theory, as time has shown again and again that new testing leads to new modification of theory.

So, although science is not based on faith, faith is not excluded from the scientific process in action.

Alright, I give up at the moment. Sorry for the extra boring post.
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  #32  
By Blutarsky on 13th September 2009, 01:17 PM
Science is, on a very basic level, based upon certain belief in ideas that are completely unprovable by the scientific method such as logic and reason. Science presupposes logic, so to argue that the scientific method can "prove" that logic exists would be to argue in circles.

Whether you consider that a priori or "properly basic" belief to be "faith" or not seems to be an exercise in splitting hairs to me...

Quote:
Einstein's law of thermodynamics is a theory based on scientific study
It may come as a shock to you, but there are many presuppositions that are completely unprovable scientifically that form the basis for scientific ideas such as the theory of relativity. For example, the belief that the speed of light is constant between any two points in space. We "believe" this to be true, but it's completely unprovable. You can find many of these suppositions in various scientific disciplines.

What also interests me is why the universe behaves according to any particular set of rules to begin with...
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  #33  
By likelystory on 31st January 2010, 07:59 PM
People have the ambition to succeed in Science.So I say it's faith which drives people to succeed in reaching possible scientific conclusions.

I don't believe people only use the belief called ''faith'' for religion only.

Faith covers a broad spectrum of things.
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  #34  
By joesixpack on 7th February 2010, 10:25 PM
I always thought of science as "Doubt" based. I mean, after all, where would science be without the testing of assumptions and asking questions?
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  #35  
By blobru on 8th February 2010, 11:51 AM
Originally Posted by joesixpack View Post
I always thought of science as "Doubt" based. I mean, after all, where would science be without the testing of assumptions and asking questions?

Nowhere.

That's the key right there, joe.

In science, doubt combats faith; in religion, faith combats doubt.

No human activity is free of "faith", but the scientific ideal is.
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  #36  
By Bill Thompson on 16th February 2010, 05:35 AM
only fake science is faith based.
like BYU fact finding missions to support their fath.
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  #37  
By stevea on 21st February 2010, 12:27 PM
Hmm - I think there is something to this, but ...

First "science" does not presuppose that the universe must obey rules. It only attempts to model observations of the universe with rules. It's foolish to confuse the model with reality (which is were David Hume's point comes it). Further we underestand in recent decades that here are fundamental limitations to our observations which restrict our ability to form models.

Now the person who believes that the preponderance of past observations can be extrapolated to the future, or more colloquially believes that his brakes will operate as before barring a defect, is exhibiting the same sort of faith that all of probability is built upon.

Science is an extremely successful and useful model making method, but it does not deserve our faith - only the recognition that it is effective and pragmatic.
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  #38  
By Soapy Sam on 24th February 2010, 08:09 PM
Funny. The more the evidence accumulates, the stronger my faith becomes.
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  #39  
By stevea on 1st March 2010, 08:23 AM
Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
Funny. The more the evidence accumulates, the stronger my faith becomes.
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.
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