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Old 1st January 2013, 09:18 PM   #1
LashL
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Science vs. faith

Mod InfoSplit from LDS thread here.
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Old 1st January 2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by RandFan View Post
This^^^.

The magic of faith is that with it a person can believe just about anything.

Behold the power of faith.

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I AGREE
If your first sentence is true, the converse is also true; i.e., The magic of faithlessness is that with it a person can disbelieve just about anything.

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Old 1st January 2013, 09:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
If your first sentence is true, the converse is also true; i.e., The magic of faithlessness is that with it a person can disbelieve just about anything.
"The magic of faith is that with it a person can believe just about anything."
This is different how?
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Old 1st January 2013, 09:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
If your first sentence is true, the converse is also true; i.e., The magic of faithlessness is that with it a person can disbelieve just about anything.
Thank you! Damn straight! Which is why reasonable people at JREF base our faith on critical thinking, skepticism, reason, and the scientific method coupled with objective evidence.
  • I have faith in gravity because it works again and again.
  • I have faith in modern medicine because it has been shown empirically to work again and again.
I have faith in science because it ISN'T faith based.
Preacher: I have no evidence. You need to have blind faith in what I tell you.
Scientist: Don't take my word for it. Check my methodology. Try to replicate my experiments.

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Old 1st January 2013, 09:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
If your first sentence is true, the converse is also true; i.e., The magic of faithlessness is that with it a person can disbelieve just about anything.
I would have to disagree with that. Faith is belief in things for which there is no evidence, obviously a limitless field running from carefully considered surmise to the wildest nonsense. Lack of faith is only that: not believing in things for which there is no evidence. It requires and implies nothing else regarding anything else.
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Old 1st January 2013, 10:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
If your first sentence is true, the converse is also true; i.e., The magic of faithlessness is that with it a person can disbelieve just about anything.
*cough* inverse *cough*, and, no, it's the contrapositive that is true when the original proposition is true. Neither the converse nor the inverse need be.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 04:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RandFan View Post
Thank you! Damn straight! Which is why reasonable people at JREF base our faith on critical thinking, skepticism, reason, and the scientific method coupled with objective evidence.
[list][*]I have faith in gravity because it works again and again.[*]I have faith in modern medicine because it has been shown empirically to work again and again.
The two items are not congruent. Gravity does, indeed, work "again and again"; modern medicine does not. A diagnosis of pancreatic or ovarian cancer is a veritable death sentence. Moreover, treatment for mental illness remains in the dark ages (ask my close friend who lived with a bi-polar wife for 17 horrific years).

Quote:
: I have faith in science because it ISN'T faith based.
Really? Why then do scientists posit hypotheses if they have no faith their theories will be validated?

Non-believers tend to suppose that humankind--encased in a mortal shell with only five senses--is omniscient, and that science and technology make them all-knowing. Nope.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 04:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post

Non-believers tend to suppose that humankind--encased in a mortal shell with only five senses--is omniscient, and that science and technology make them all-knowing. Nope.
Which non-believers would these be?
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Old 2nd January 2013, 04:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
The two items are not congruent. Gravity does, indeed, work "again and again"; modern medicine does not. A diagnosis of pancreatic or ovarian cancer is a veritable death sentence. Moreover, treatment for mental illness remains in the dark ages (ask my close friend who lived with a bi-polar wife for 17 horrific years).
My words were poorly chosen. Modern medicine is based on the scientific method. We can measure the effectiveness of medicine. Penicilian has a high right of success to kill bacteria, do you disagree?

Quote:
Really? Why then do scientists posit hypotheses if they have no faith their theories will be validated?
They have an idea or hunch or it's based on some correlation that has not yet been scientifically proven. The "faith" is based on something that isn't "blind"

Quote:
Non-believers tend to suppose that humankind--encased in a mortal shell with only five senses--is omniscient, and that science and technology make them all-knowing.
That's a lie. Science is predicated on the fact that we DON'T know everything. If we did know everything science would be unnecessary.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 04:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
Why then do scientists posit hypotheses if they have no faith their theories will be validated
BTW: Granting the premise for argument sake, an honest scientists won't claim that their hypothesis is truth based on that faith. That's a huge difference.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 04:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
The two items are not congruent. Gravity does, indeed, work "again and again"; modern medicine does not. A diagnosis of pancreatic or ovarian cancer is a veritable death sentence. Moreover, treatment for mental illness remains in the dark ages (ask my close friend who lived with a bi-polar wife for 17 horrific years).



Really? Why then do scientists posit hypotheses if they have no faith their theories will be validated?

Non-believers tend to suppose that humankind--encased in a mortal shell with only five senses--is omniscient, and that science and technology make them all-knowing. Nope.
You have a serious misunderstanding of the scientific method. Scientists posit hypotheses based on prior observations, then try to test the accuracy of that hypothesis with new observations. Crucial to the process is to try to disprove the hypothesis! Almost always the initial hypothesis is proven incorrect- this is expected! Then the hypothesis is altered to fit the new observations, and the new hypothesis is tested again. Repeat until the hypothesis fits the observations accurately.

Most scientists have the expectation that their hypotheses will need to be significantly altered, or will be proven completely wrong, after experimentation, rather than "faith" that their hypothesis will be validated. A hypothesis is only a tool to allow prior observations to be brought together and to allow appropriate experiments to be designed. It is not a tenet of faith.

Rather than consider themselves "all knowing," scientists test their knowledge and identify that which is reproducible. This process has allowed people throughout the world to agree on how reality "behaves" and, as a result, to generate technology that has given them longer, healthier, and more productive lives. This is in remarkable contrast to religious beliefs, which have failed to achieve any type of consensus, which have never been proven to cure a disease or warm a house, and which make predictions indistinguishable from random guessing.

Last edited by Giordano; 2nd January 2013 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 04:58 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
Moreover, treatment for mental illness remains in the dark ages (ask my close friend who lived with a bi-polar wife for 17 horrific years).
Can you please summarize the treatment for mental illness which was used in the dark ages and point out its similarities to modern treatment.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 05:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
Why then do scientists posit hypotheses if they have no faith their theories will be validated?
In order to establish the veracity of the hypothesis. I am surprised you didn't know that.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 05:02 PM   #14
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''Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages the church was a tremendous force in most aspects of people’s lives, and this can been seen in the believed sources of mental illness as well as the treatments.

A popular philosophy during this time, which had become the basic form of psychology was interactionistic dualism, where the body was believed to be governed by the soul (Brown & Menninger, 1940).

It was believed that when someone acted in accordance with the church, it was because of their God-given soul; however, if the did not, it was believed something had happened to their soul. In addition, negative events were attributed to the devil, whereas positive events were attributed to God. As a result of these beliefs it is not surprising any mental abnormality believed to be result of demonic possession was considered logical.

Causes of mental illness included:

Supernatural causes such as demons and demonic possession.
Witchcraft and sorcery.
Mass hysteria.
Melancholy and stress.

Treatments for mental illness included:

Exorcism.
Shaving the pattern of a cross in the head-hair.
Believe that those suffering from mental illness could benefit from hearing mass.
Drinking ice-cold water.

When demonic possession was believed to have occurred, the first option for removing the demon was to coax it out of the possessed person. If this was unsuccessful, the next option would be to insult the demon out. If insulting the demon also failed, the next form of treatment would involve making the possessed individual so uncomfortable that the demon would not want to remain there (Brown & Menninger, 1940). It would be under these circumstances where torturous treatments such as immersion in hot water, and immersion in sulphur fumes would be used.''

http://mentalillness.umwblogs.org/middle-ages/
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Old 2nd January 2013, 05:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kerikiwi View Post
In order to establish the veracity of the hypothesis. I am surprised you didn't know that.
I'm surprised you didn't know that the process of establishing the veracity of the hypothesis requires an act of faith.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 05:07 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
I'm surprised you didn't know that the process of establishing the veracity of the hypothesis requires an act of faith.
Faith despite evidence or without evidence is nothing like faith in evidence.
But you knew that and it seems you may just be playing word games.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 05:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
I'm surprised you didn't know that the process of establishing the veracity of the hypothesis requires an act of faith.
Errr.. It does not require an act of faith.

One has a hypothesis based on an idea, and then one performs a series of experiments to see if it is correct, or not. If not, one discards the hypothesis. If correct, then further testing by others may well occur to see f the results can be duplicated.

Where is the 'faith'?
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Old 2nd January 2013, 05:13 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by RandFan View Post
BTW: Granting the premise for argument sake, an honest scientists won't claim that their hypothesis is truth based on that faith. That's a huge difference.
You assign a position to me not of my making. I haven't said that scientists claim "their hypothesis is truth based on. . .faith." I have said that it takes faith to undertake the often arduous process of validating a hypothesis.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 05:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
I'm surprised you didn't know that the process of establishing the veracity of the hypothesis requires an act of faith.
I have to believe fire is hot before I get burned?
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Old 2nd January 2013, 05:44 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
You assign a position to me not of my making. I haven't said that scientists claim "their hypothesis is truth based on. . .faith." I have said that it takes faith to undertake the often arduous process of validating a hypothesis.
The key difference between that kind of faith and religious faith, is that if overwhelming evidence shows the hypothesis to be wrong, a scientist will be praised for abandoning or revising the hypothesis. Maintaining you're right in the face of evidence that you're wrong would be considered silly. In science, the evidence is more important than the faith.

Religious people, by contrast, praise a person for clinging to their faith even in the face of contradictory evidence. In religion, the faith is more important than the evidence.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:18 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
You assign a position to me not of my making. I haven't said that scientists claim "their hypothesis is truth based on. . .faith." I have said that it takes faith to undertake the often arduous process of validating a hypothesis.
But you are trying to compare the faith of believers with the faith of science. I'm disambiguating your equivocation of the word faith.

Believers: truth is based on faith.
Scientists: truth is based on empirical facts.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:23 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
I'm surprised you didn't know that the process of establishing the veracity of the hypothesis requires an act of faith.
You are equivocating. The scientist is acting on intuition, probabilities and faith in the scientific method. Scientists do not have religious like blind faith. Further, they don't form their conclusions about truth based simply on blind faith. A hunch does not become truth without verification.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:12 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by RandFan View Post
You are equivocating. The scientist is acting on intuition, probabilities and faith in the scientific method. Scientists do not have religious like blind faith. Further, they don't form their conclusions about truth based simply on blind faith. A hunch does not become truth without verification.
I never like to use the word "faith" to describe trust based on past experience. It tends to confuse the issue regarding the other definition of "faith" as belief without evidence, or in spite of contradictory evidence.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:14 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
I never like to use the word "faith" to describe trust based on past experience. It tends to confuse the issue regarding the other definition of "faith" as belief without evidence, or in spite of contradictory evidence.
I avoid it like the plague. It far too easily invites this kind of equivocation.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:19 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
Really? Why then do scientists posit hypotheses if they have no faith their theories will be validated?
Because they want to test whether they are true or not. If they are not, then they know that they must endeavor to formulate a new hypothesis.

Quote:
Non-believers tend to suppose that humankind--encased in a mortal shell with only five senses--is omniscient, and that science and technology make them all-knowing. Nope.
Your last word is actually correct, because the preceding sentence is false.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:21 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by RandFan View Post
. . . The scientist is acting on intuition, probabilities and faith in the scientific method.
Some scientists have acted on "faith in the scientific method" and on religious faith. Case in point: Gregor Mendel, the "father of modern genetics," was a scientist and Augustinian friar. He drew inspiration for his work not only from his professors but also from the friars at the monastery.

Quote:
: Scientists do not have religious like blind faith. Further, they don't form their conclusions about truth based simply on blind faith. A hunch does not become truth without verification.
You are projecting, the better to gain argumentive leverage. I have never said scientists "have religious-like blind faith," though you have no way of knowing if some scientists do not have religion-based faith.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:31 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
Some scientists have acted on "faith in the scientific method" and on religious faith. Case in point: Gregor Mendel, the "father of modern genetics," was a scientist and Augustinian friar. He drew inspiration for his work not only from his professors but also from the friars at the monastery.
Being a friar doesn't change anything but you are equivocating.

Quote:
You are projecting, the better to gain argumentive leverage. I have never said scientists "have religious-like blind faith," though you have no way of knowing if some scientists do not have religion-based faith.
I know you haven't. You are equivocating. I'm not going to discuss this here anymore. You can start a thread (see below).

Originally Posted by jsfisher
We seem to be wandering off topic a bit. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, remember?
Yeah, it's OT.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:31 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
Because they want to test whether they are true or not. If they are not, then they know that they must endeavor to formulate a new hypothesis.
And that process ("formulat[ing] a new hypothesis") requires some form of faith, principally scientific but not necessarily exclusively (see my post re. Gregor Mendel).
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:32 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
I'm surprised you didn't know that the process of establishing the veracity of the hypothesis requires an act of faith.
No, it doesn't. I does require curiosity, but not faith.

If one wishes to answer a question regarding a metaphysical phenomenon using the scientific method, one must first postulate a potential answer to the question in a way that can be tested. If one fails to disprove the hypothesis one tests it again, and again, and again. Then one passes the hypothesis and the method of testing it on to others who will continue to test it exhaustively.

If one disproves the hypothesis, then it is discarded and one attempts to formulate a new hypothesis to explain the phenomenon.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:37 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
Some scientists have acted on "faith in the scientific method" and on religious faith. Case in point: Gregor Mendel, the "father of modern genetics," was a scientist and Augustinian friar. He drew inspiration for his work not only from his professors but also from the friars at the monastery.
What was his hypothesis, and what faith was it based on?

Quote:
You are projecting, the better to gain argumentive leverage. I have never said scientists "have religious-like blind faith," though you have no way of knowing if some scientists do not have religion-based faith.
Perhaps we should more carefully define the word "faith" prior to proceeding. The definition of faith we are using is "belief with out evidence, or in spite of evidence". There are other definitions of faith that include "trust based on experience". We are not talking about that usage of the word.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:39 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
And that process ("formulat[ing] a new hypothesis") requires some form of faith, principally scientific but not necessarily exclusively (see my post re. Gregor Mendel).
One does not believe in an hypothesis. If that were the case, there would be no reason to do science.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:45 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
Some scientists have acted on "faith in the scientific method" and on religious faith. Case in point: Gregor Mendel, the "father of modern genetics," was a scientist and Augustinian friar. He drew inspiration for his work not only from his professors but also from the friars at the monastery.

You are projecting, the better to gain argumentive leverage. I have never said scientists "have religious-like blind faith," though you have no way of knowing if some scientists do not have religion-based faith.
You are equivocating, the better to gain argumentative leverage. What opinions or facts would you like to share regarding the LDS church and its founders or tenets?
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:55 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
Some scientists have acted on "faith in the scientific method" and on religious faith. Case in point: Gregor Mendel, the "father of modern genetics," was a scientist and Augustinian friar. He drew inspiration for his work not only from his professors but also from the friars at the monastery.



You are projecting, the better to gain argumentive leverage. I have never said scientists "have religious-like blind faith," though you have no way of knowing if some scientists do not have religion-based faith.
So the word has more than one meaning, and your original statement was of little if any use, unless you are still trying to suggest that there's a religious element to "faith in the scientific method" which really just means believing things for which evidence is presented.

It's true that Mendel had religious faith, as do many scientists, but the reason his genetic studies remain relevant is that he knew the difference.

And by the way, I've actually known a minor scientist or two, and you are not really correct in your initial assumption that a scientist undertakes an experiment out of faith that his hypothesis will be validated. He or she undertakes it out of the expectation (faith of a different sort) that it will be tested. Of course if you have a pet theory you'd like to see it shown to be true, but a negative result is a result too. An experiment that fails well is a good result, answering a question and ending a false trail, and a good scientist will accept it just as readily, which certainly distinguishes the scientist's "faith" from that of many religions.

The fact that a word like "faith" has multiple meanings and gradations is an issue that has been done to death by linguists, philosophers, scientists and theologians. It does a person little credit to throw it back into the fray as if it hasn't.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 08:57 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
And that process ("formulat[ing] a new hypothesis") requires some form of faith, principally scientific but not necessarily exclusively (see my post re. Gregor Mendel).
How much faith do you have when you turn on the light switch?
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Old 2nd January 2013, 09:04 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
An experiment that fails well is a good result, answering a question and ending a false trail, and a good scientist will accept it just as readily, which certainly distinguishes the scientist's "faith" from that of many religions.
Joobz has mentioned that he'd like to see a database of failed hypotheses maintained, to avoid the waste of resources associated with researchers retreading the same ground simply because failed hypotheses tend to be discarded without ever being published. There's also the benefit that someone working in the same field might search the database, find what others have attempted, and see it from a different perspective that might lead to some new insight.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 09:20 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
And that process ("formulat[ing] a new hypothesis") requires some form of faith, principally scientific but not necessarily exclusively (see my post re. Gregor Mendel).
Your use of the term faith for both is quite incorrect. I might say informally that I "love" a good book, but that is not really the same meaning of that word as when I say that I love my wife.

Scientists don't even have absolute faith in the scientific method itself! Scientists may assume that the scientific method is a useful tool, but they nonetheless run experiments to confirm that the method is applicable to their particular experiment. These experiments include both negative and positive controls, independent replicates, and double blind experiments, all of which are predicated on the assumption that a human being can easily be mislead and that it is important to not let one's prejudices influence one's conclusions. They also are tests of if that particular question can even be resolved by that particular scientific approach.

Scientists try to disprove their hypotheses and theories and question their own results. So please explain how this process is the same as religious faith?

Yes some scientists are also religious, but they necessarily approach these two aspects of their lives very differently.
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Old 3rd January 2013, 09:07 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
No, it doesn't. I does require curiosity, but not faith.

If one wishes to answer a question regarding a metaphysical phenomenon using the scientific method, one must first postulate a potential answer to the question in a way that can be tested. If one fails to disprove the hypothesis one tests it again, and again, and again. Then one passes the hypothesis and the method of testing it on to others who will continue to test it exhaustively.

If one disproves the hypothesis, then it is discarded and one attempts to formulate a new hypothesis to explain the phenomenon.
Recommended reading: The Faith of Scientists in Their Own Words (Nancy K. Frankenberry); Scientists of Faith: 48 Biographies of Historic Scientists and Their Christian Faith (Dan Graves); Men of Science, Men of God (Henry M. Morris); Scientists Who Believe: 21 Tell Their Own Stories (Eric C. Barrett).
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Old 3rd January 2013, 09:26 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
Recommended reading: The Faith of Scientists in Their Own Words (Nancy K. Frankenberry); Scientists of Faith: 48 Biographies of Historic Scientists and Their Christian Faith (Dan Graves); Men of Science, Men of God (Henry M. Morris); Scientists Who Believe: 21 Tell Their Own Stories (Eric C. Barrett).
You seem to be conflating the personal beliefs of scientists with their scientific research. A christian scientist working in the field of biomedical chemical engineering is going to practice his science the same way as a Muslim scientist or an atheist scientist.
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Old 3rd January 2013, 09:28 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
. . . It's true that Mendel had religious faith, as do many scientists, but the reason his genetic studies remain relevant is that he knew the difference.
His genetic discoveries remain relevant because he brought to bear both scientific and religious faith.

Quote:
He or she undertakes it out of the expectation (faith of a different sort) that it will be tested.
Some people find refuge in semantic manipulation.
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Old 3rd January 2013, 09:35 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by skyrider44 View Post
His genetic discoveries remain relevant because he brought to bear both scientific and religious faith.
How, precisely, did his religious faith impact on his scientific work? Would his results have been different had he been a Hindu, a Sikh or an atheist?
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