I apologize if this is thread necromancy, I read a few pages and didn’t see this particular point covered. I also apologize if this is the wrong board, I could not tell if this belonged firmly in philosophy or in science.
There’s an argument that comes up that I often think of as the Ray Comfort argument (no, not about bananas), which is essentially a postmodern take on knowledge. In this argument, the believer points to the books, articles, lectures that an atheist (or any scientifically minded) person has read and says that they accept them on faith. I, for instance, have never conducted a radiometric dating test myself, therefor I must accept it on faith, which makes it no different from religious faith. I, myself, have never lived in Roman times, so my knowledge gained from books, articles or lectures is no different than a Christian believing in the Bible.
My answer is essentially thus: It is true that I take much of my scientific knowledge on faith, but it’s a faith grounded in corroborated evidence. I’ve seen smaller evidence of scientific theory and geology and so on and so things like radiometric dating fits into that same framework. And so between consensus and other evidence that corroborates the structure, I accept that science. I am also open to evidence, should it be scientifically tested, that would say that science is wrong. And I’d be willing to make this claim for any knowledge I hold.
While I feel my answer is an honest response and does respond to the critique, I don’t feel it’s rhetorically satisfying. Perhaps I’m looking for a more concise way to state my argument. I would think that other people have come across this type of debate before and hope they might have advice or experience.
I call it the Ray Comfort argument, by the way, because he’s the person I see using it most frequently.
Thanks for any constructive comments.