2 of 11
2
Is science a form of faith?
Posted: 27 November 2007 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  895
Joined  2007-05-09

<>

[ Edited: 05 December 2007 02:08 AM by zarcus ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 November 2007 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22
psikeyhackr - 26 November 2007 09:27 PM

I think for most people who claim to be scientific it is a form of faith.

They don’t treat science as something to understand for themselves and consistently use as a method of thinking.  They just believe in “the RIGHT ideas” which they regard as scientific.

You must accept SCIENTIFIC AUTHORITY in order to be scientific.  LOL

psik

I agree that some people practice scientism (making science a religion), however, most of them, unlike trained, practicing scientists, admire science but don’t know much about it. 

Most of the thoughtful scientists I’ve known recognize that science is just a methological tool and a body of observational data with inferences from them.  They also recognize that what we don’t know far outstrips what we know at present, and that based on new observations some of the present inferences may need to be modified or even scrapped and replaced with new ones.  They also don’t waste their time trying to prove or disprove statements that are made without any possible positive or negative physical evidence.  Such statements have no meaning even if, linguistically, they sound as if they do.  Two examples: “god exists,” and “god does not exist.” 

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 November 2007 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6195
Joined  2006-12-20

I just read through the Paul Davies piece and picked this quote out.

“It seems to me there is no hope of ever explaining why the physical universe is as it is so long as we are fixated on immutable laws or meta-laws that exist reasonlessly or are imposed by divine providence.”

Isn’t this completely obvious? Do any scientists actually disagree with this? And if not what point is Davies trying to make?

Surely scientists are trying to understand how the laws of physics come about or not?

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 November 2007 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4108
Joined  2006-11-28

Well, I think many scientists do believe that the laws of the universe are what they are, and that asking why they are that way is a meaningless game. The proximate explanations regarding interactions between the elements of the universe are what science investigates—as you put it the “how” questions. The “why"questions are based on the assumption of teleology and probably meaningless. So Davies is correct in that science is comfortable saying that some laws may exist “reasonlessly,” but he is wrong in thinking that this prohibits any meaningful understanding of the universe. All it prohibits is answering the meaningless question of “why,” which he wants answered because he thinks the answer is god.

 Signature 

The SkeptVet Blog
You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place. 
Johnathan Swift

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 November 2007 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2423
Joined  2007-09-03
StephenLawrence - 28 November 2007 04:01 PM

I just read through the Paul Davies piece and picked this quote out.

“It seems to me there is no hope of ever explaining why the physical universe is as it is so long as we are fixated on immutable laws or meta-laws that exist reasonlessly or are imposed by divine providence.”

Isn’t this completely obvious? Do any scientists actually disagree with this? And if not what point is Davies trying to make?

Surely scientists are trying to understand how the laws of physics come about or not?

Stephen

The responses which Doug Smith linked to are really great and I recommend them all.

Part of the confusion comes from Davies defining words like “faith” and “science” to get the conclusion he wants.  To some extent ‘science’  means paying attention to reality, using obsevations and experiments to put together a picture of what the world is like, rather than theorizing.  For example, measure how long it takes for a large weight and a small weight to drop (they take the same time, neglecting air friction) rather than theorizing.  The Greeks estimated the distance the Sun from the change in shadows.  Having ‘faith’ in observations is not the same thing as religious faith.

In one of the online debates you can pull off in *.mp3, Richard Dawkins was slammed by an opponent who asked him if he had ‘faith’ that his wife loved him (! ohh !). Richard tried to explain this wasn’t the same thing as faith in God because he actually had evidence.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 November 2007 10:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  895
Joined  2007-05-09

<>

[ Edited: 05 December 2007 02:08 AM by zarcus ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 November 2007 05:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1214
Joined  2007-09-21

zarcus,

You have sure as heck confused me.  I assume that you are being facetious.  No?

Your picture is hilarious.  LOL

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 November 2007 05:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2423
Joined  2007-09-03
erasmusinfinity - 30 November 2007 05:05 AM

zarcus,

You have sure as heck confused me.  I assume that you are being facetious.  No?

Your picture is hilarious.  LOL

Yeah what have you done with Zarcus?  gulp

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 November 2007 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15435
Joined  2006-02-14

Zarcus, really. I assume you’re being facetious, but the tone is nasty either way. And I really don’t like the wholesale editing of your old posts. You may do it out of pique or because you feel it’s funny, but the problem is that it makes following your threads nearly impossible.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 November 2007 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

Well, since Zarcus is so fond of editing his posts to the detriment of the threads, we could just make a special rule for him:  Any time Zarcus edits his post the moderators completely erase it so it is as if it never existed.  (Unfortunately, the administrator and the other moderators are much nicer than I am, so that probably won’t fly.)

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 November 2007 06:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2423
Joined  2007-09-03
zarcus - 29 November 2007 10:50 PM

...If people don’t like the “New Atheist” then they should get OUT of the way, their radicalism is what will lead to saving this HELL we call earth.

There are New Atheists and then there are Real New Atheists.  In a post dogma-free-america funk I was browsing iTunes and came across these *.mp3s called Pat Condell’s Godless Comedy.  Although there’s some underlying truth, his stridency makes the New Atheists look like wimps…

[Pat Condell’s Godless Comedy (*.mp3’s) ]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 December 2007 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1214
Joined  2007-09-21
Jackson - 30 November 2007 06:09 PM

Although there’s some underlying truth, his stridency makes the New Atheists look like wimps…

[Pat Condell’s Godless Comedy (*.mp3’s) ]

Wow, how offensive!  LOL

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 December 2007 09:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  112
Joined  2007-09-16

So, quick question.  Why are we so afraid of the ‘faith’ (note: no capital “F”)?
Personally, I take most, if not all, that I know about science ‘on faith’.  I have neither the intellectual capital, nor the temporal capital to do otherwise. 

I also believe that for ‘Science’ to have any serious effect in decision making processes like elections, that a great deal more people will need to take much of the Science (that has the highest probability of helping us make these decisions) ‘on faith’.  What’s wrong with this?  In all likelihood, the old ‘F’aith-based decision making gets replaced not by ‘S’cience, but but ‘f’aith in ‘S’cience.

I have a theory about Economics, that Economics are like the Oceans in that 90% of everything interesting happens at the edges, or within 100 miles of a coastline.  I have a similar view of science and faith.  That the real interesting parts are not in cosmology or in ‘dark robe only chambers’ (this would be the faith-based dark robes) but where the two rub shoulders.

So, let me ask a question about an area where they do.  Political Democracy. 

question 1) Is your belief in Free Speech ‘faith-based’ or ‘science-based’?
question 2) Is your belief in ‘Human Equality’ faith-based or science-based?
question 3) Is your belief that people should not be discriminated against based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity faith-based or science-based?
question 4) Is your desire to avoid global warming, faith-based or science-based? (note: understanding that global warming is a scientific reality, are the effects that you want to avoid by avoiding global warming also science, or are they faith based?)
question 5) Is your belief in Morality faith-based or science-based’? What about principles like altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility?

One of the greatest fears that people can ever have is that we close the door on ‘faith’ and start re-opening questions like ‘non-discrimination based on race/gender/sexual orientation/ethnicity/etc/etc’ and decide that these ought not be decisions made ‘on faith’, but that we ought to be crunching a huge set of experiential data to decide who/what/where gets political preference.

Again, personally, I’m more than happy to say that I take more than a few things on ‘faith’.  Note, I also reject ‘Faith’ based decision making, but who doesn’t.  Every major Organized Religion in the World rejects ‘Faith’ based decision making when it is not their ‘Faith’ thats used to make the decision.  Rather than attacking people about their own very personal Faith, I wonder if we couldn’t build more peaceful political census in the World by appealing to what everyone shares in common instead of attacking the little bit we all disagree on.

-baloo

 Signature 

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 December 2007 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15435
Joined  2006-02-14

How are you defining “faith” as versus “Faith”?

If all you mean by “faith” is “trust”, as in “trust in the capacities of the engineer to have designed the bridge properly”, then clearly, there’s nothing wrong with it. But that’s not the sort of faith regularly extolled in religious contexts. It is also the sort of faith/trust that is based at least partly on evidence.

Free speech, equality, et al. are moral concepts, and as such do not stem solely from science. There is something of an is/ought gap, after all. But that’s not to say we have “faith” or “trust” that free speech is justified. Indeed, I don’t even know what that would mean in this context. One does not “trust” in one’s moral beliefs, one simply believes them. Or if one is particularly diligent, one can attempt to go back to first principles (utilitarian, Kantian, Aristotelian, what have you) and derive them.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 December 2007 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1214
Joined  2007-09-21
Baloo - 03 December 2007 09:06 AM

question 1) Is your belief in Free Speech ‘faith-based’ or ‘science-based’?

Not faith.  Empathy and compassion coupled with a recognition of the need for human cooperation as a means toward mutual fulfillment.  Informed by a rational and scientific approach to the world.

Baloo - 03 December 2007 09:06 AM

question 2) Is your belief in ‘Human Equality’ faith-based or science-based?

Not faith.  Empathy and compassion coupled with a recognition of the need for human cooperation as a means toward mutual fulfillment.  Informed by a rational and scientific approach to the world.

Baloo - 03 December 2007 09:06 AM

question 3) Is your belief that people should not be discriminated against based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity faith-based or science-based?

Not faith.  Empathy and compassion coupled with a recognition of the need for human cooperation as a means toward mutual fulfillment.  Informed by a rational and scientific approach to the world.

Baloo - 03 December 2007 09:06 AM

question 4) Is your desire to avoid global warming, faith-based or science-based? (note: understanding that global warming is a scientific reality, are the effects that you want to avoid by avoiding global warming also science, or are they faith based?)

Not faith.  Empathy and compassion coupled with a recognition of the need for human cooperation as a means toward mutual fulfillment.  Informed by a rational and scientific approach to the world.

Baloo - 03 December 2007 09:06 AM

question 5) Is your belief in Morality faith-based or science-based’? What about principles like altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility?

Not faith.  Empathy and compassion coupled with a recognition of the need for human cooperation as a means toward mutual fulfillment.  Informed by a rational and scientific approach to the world.

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 11
2