Is science faith-based?
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1st April 2012, 11:59 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: New Jersey, USA
Originally Posted by
Science is not a doctrine, but a means of obtaining confirmatory or falsifying evidence to confirm or contra-indicate a hypothesis. The body of scientific knowledge morphs and alters over time as this evidence is amassed and analysed.
Religion is a one-size-fits-all ready-made set of beliefs that remains unaltered over centuries in the face of growing contra-evidence and must be accepted by its adherents wholesale. It cannot ever be confirmed or falsified because of this total disregard for evidence.
No, I don't read every scientific paper that comes out, and I wouldn't understand a lot of them if I did. Nonetheless, I am satisfied that the peer-review process means that somebody with a suitable educational background has read and understood how the evidence presented bears upon the hypothesis under consideration. I am therefore happy that a scientific theory (a hypothesis that has had confirmatory evidence accepted by peer-review) has been vetted and reviewed by a sensible process that I do understand.
This can in no wise be considered faith. If it is, it is the faith you have that the pilot of the aircraft in which you are flying has been through some kind of approved training. (I wouldn't board any plane if I thought that wasn't the case). But the pilot training programme is not pilotage.
Flying is to a pilot training programme what the body of scientifically-derived knowledge is to the scientific method. Science is not a set of beliefs at all, but a method for gathering knowledge. I am confident that that knowledge will change as new evidence is gathered, and the desire for discovering something new and previously unimagined is what gets many scientists up in the morning.
Religion says all the knowledge you need is already right here and no proof is necessary or indeed desirable. That's faith, and it's definitely not for me.
Yes, the term "faith" has more than only one meaning, at least in some languages.
Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
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