How much of science is faith based?

  • #176
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JoeDawg, read what I have posted: I do NOT make use of induction, but deduction.
Then you're not addressing the problem of whether the future will resemble the past. What you have described is what Karl Popper tried to do with falsification. Its a very compelling argument, but ultimately falls short.

If you meant something else, you will have to explain it further.
 
  • #177
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Then you're not addressing the problem of whether the future will resemble the past. What you have described is what Karl Popper tried to do with falsification. Its a very compelling argument, but ultimately falls short.

If you meant something else, you will have to explain it further.
No, it does not "fall short" since how I have shown how we can be sure that the sun will rise tomorrow by deduction.
 
  • #178
Hurkyl
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Oh, actually I was thinking you meant the god-infinite-regress problem.

I think Descartes did a good job on the epistemological side, at least in the beginning of his meditations. Which part are you disagreeing with?
Summarizing my understanding, foundationalism and coherentism are the leading responses to the regress problem. The foundationalists simply stop rationalizing and say "we will accept these postulates". The coherentists stop rationalizing and say "we will accept this belief system". (And based on my experience with formal logic, I would actually assert that the two philosophies are the same)

My point is that both philosophies admit defeat, and give up the notion that their beliefs can always be justified in terms of "higher" principles: the foundationalists simply write down a list of principles they will accept without justification, and the coherentists argue that their beliefs, taken as a whole, are coherent and thus self-justifying.

(I'm not familiar with what Descartes actually wrote, so I can't comment on that)


For many (most?) religions, a religious person can cast their belief in their religion as foundationaist, coherentist, or possibly some blend of it.

You argue that the scientist's belief in science is a "reasoned belief", and thus somehow different than the religious person's belief -- so I'm asking you to please elaborate.
 
  • #179
baywax
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To say "Uncertainty over-rules faith" would be an incorrect statement... although it would also explain what you guys keep repeating.

The statement would be incorrect because "faith" is a condition bourn of the cognitive processes and has nothing to do with "external" events.

The statement would be correct only because it is the short form of "not knowing if the rock with fall, the nose will be picked, the sun will rise" next time history dictates that it will.

Therefore I'd ask that you people remember how "faith" is a carefully developed cognitive state, belonging only to the individual who has decided to develop it... with whatever help they seek out.

Science is a specific approach to the study of internal and external conditions and is based only on the specific tenants of those disciplines that comprise science. To ask if science is "faith-based" in any way is like asking if science is "hope-based" or "stress-based" because each and every individual that practices scientific inquiry will approach their study differently. The diversity of methods of coping with the disciplines involved in the sciences should illustrate that there is no "hope-based", "stress-based", "faith-based" or other basic cognitive condition required to study science.

Science, itself, is "science-based" and nothing more.
 
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  • #180
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the foundationalists simply write down a list of principles they will accept without justification, and the coherentists argue that their beliefs, taken as a whole, are coherent and thus self-justifying.
Descartes was a foundationalist I suppose, in the sense he claimed one thing as being 'self-evident'. This claim is generally understood with the phrase: I think therefore I am.
Or more specifically: thought exists
(ref. Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy)

He believed all knowledge is built on this 'first principle'. I agree, although we part ways later on...

That said I'm not an ardent rationalist, I'm very much in agreement with classical empiricism, but Descartes is the undeniable starting point, in my opinion.
You argue that the scientist's belief in science is a "reasoned belief", and thus somehow different than the religious person's belief -- so I'm asking you to please elaborate.
Once you have the 'thinking' foundation, then one can start distinguishing between modes of thought and then perception. Then science comes into play as a measure of what, if anything, is consistent amongst perceptions. This may be where coherentism comes in, although from what I have read both terms are used in a variety of ways.

Now that is all a gross oversimplification, but I'm summarizing.
The important part is that it does have a logical progression.

Religion by its nature has no logical progression, religion is 'revelation'. Gods tell us unquestionable truth and we are asked to believe.
Kill your son because god commands it.
Love your neighbor because god commands it.
Seek salvation.....etc...

I believe that is a huge difference.
 
  • #181
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No, it does not "fall short" since how I have shown how we can be sure that the sun will rise tomorrow by deduction.
Yes it does.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction

"Karl Popper, an influential philosopher of science, sought to resolve the problem in the context of the scientific method, in part by arguing that science does not rely on induction, but exclusively upon deduction, in effect making modus tollens the centerpiece of his theory. On this account, when assessing a theory, one should pay only heed to data which is in disagreement with the theory rather than to data which is in agreement with it. Popper went further and stated that a hypothesis which does not allow for experimental tests of falsity is outside the bounds of empirical science.

Wesley C. Salmon critiques Popper's solution to induction by arguing that by using corroborated theories induction is being used. Salmon stated "Modus tollens without corroboration is empty; modus tollens with corroboration is induction" [3]"
 
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  • #182
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Do you have any evidence for this? And science is based on evidence by the way. Evidence does not equal faith.
The Greater the evidence, the greater the faith you will have... You have faith in science, don't you? Why? Because it gave you evidence... You will trust anything that gives you evidence... But some people don't bother looking for evidence, resulting in worthless faith... You need evidence to have faith that actually has some worth...
 
  • #183
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The Greater the evidence, the greater the faith you will have...
Although we certainly have not well defined the word "faith" in this thread, I doubt this is a common definition. In this context, it appears you are using the word "faith" to mean "belief in that which is most probable".
 
  • #184
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Yes it does.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction

"Karl Popper, an influential philosopher of science, sought to resolve the problem in the context of the scientific method, in part by arguing that science does not rely on induction, but exclusively upon deduction, in effect making modus tollens the centerpiece of his theory. On this account, when assessing a theory, one should pay only heed to data which is in disagreement with the theory rather than to data which is in agreement with it. Popper went further and stated that a hypothesis which does not allow for experimental tests of falsity is outside the bounds of empirical science.

Wesley C. Salmon critiques Popper's solution to induction by arguing that by using corroborated theories induction is being used. Salmon stated "Modus tollens without corroboration is empty; modus tollens with corroboration is induction" [3]"
For the gazillionth time, I have just deduction, not induction. Copy-pasting from Wikipedia (:rolleyes:) will not change that fact, Furthermore, critic of induction rests on induction itself, so it is pretty much useless.

My point is that both philosophies admit defeat, and give up the notion that their beliefs can always be justified in terms of "higher" principles: the foundationalists simply write down a list of principles they will accept without justification, and the coherentists argue that their beliefs, taken as a whole, are coherent and thus self-justifying.
The problem here is that they actually do not give up; people claiming the justification regress will then also have a justification regress to justify their own claims of justification regress. How can you justify your support of justification regress?
 
  • #185
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For the gazillionth time, I have just deduction, not induction. Copy-pasting from Wikipedia (:rolleyes:) will not change that fact, Furthermore, critic of induction rests on induction itself, so it is pretty much useless.
All induction and deduction must be based at some point on inductively obtained statements--because everything is empirical.
 
  • #186
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All induction and deduction must be based at some point on inductively obtained statements--because everything is empirical.
Yes, but that has nothing to do with the deductive argument I posted. The premise has a massive amount of evidence in its favor and none against it. Only a lunatic would say: "well, I still think the sun will not rise tomorrow".
 
  • #187
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For the gazillionth time, I have just deduction, not induction. Copy-pasting from Wikipedia

At least i'm providing support for my point of view, instead of just repeating myself endlessly. But you're right, you are wasting my time. Its called induction.
 
  • #188
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At least i'm providing support for my point of view, instead of just repeating myself endlessly. But you're right, you are wasting my time. Its called induction.
A -> B
~B
Therefore, ~A

is deduction, which is what I have done. Induction, on the other hand, is

A -> B
B
Therefore, A

Or is Wikipedia your only source of information?
 
  • #189
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Yes, but that has nothing to do with the deductive argument I posted. The premise has a massive amount of evidence in its favor and none against it. Only a lunatic would say: "well, I still think the sun will not rise tomorrow".
At one point we (and I have the temptation in me as well) found it easy to say things like, "only a lunatic would think there were tiny animals swimming in a drop of pond water" and "only a lunatic would think a doctor washing his hands between patients would reduce the spread of disease". Now you may accuse those scientists of being unscientific because they didn't do a good job of estimating the probability of truth in the statements, or they simply didn't have the data to realize they were wrong. And maybe modern science is a bit wiser in that respect. But consider this: There are some pretty smart people in the world arguing over a lot of things "religiously" (by that I mean they each are convinced the other is a lunatic). This should be proof enough that we are still susceptible to bias, faith, arrogance, etc. (myself included). Its certainly OK to make sweeping statements in casual conversation when the probability of them being false is extremely remote, but all I ask is that we do spend just a little time now and then staring out a window and contemplating whether 2+2 really does equal 4, or whether that statement even has that much meaning.
 
  • #190
siddharth
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For what it's worth, here's my 2 cents.

At one point we (and I have the temptation in me as well) found it easy to say things like, "only a lunatic would think there were tiny animals swimming in a drop of pond water" and "only a lunatic would think a doctor washing his hands between patients would reduce the spread of disease"
There's a difference between lack of knowledge and contradictory evidence. Back then, there was no way for people to experimentally verify if there were tiny animals actually swimming in a drop of pond water. So, whatever claim someone made about tiny animals swimming in a drop of pond water, it's irrelevant from a scientific point of view, because people didn't have the means to verify the claim. Once people had microscopes and were able to perform experiments, it become clear that there were tiny organisms swimming around.

But, this is different from what most religious people argue. People may say that they believe praying to a personal deity cures illness. However, when rigorous controlled tests are done to test this claim, it's seen that prayer doesn't cure illness. Yet, people still believe that prayer cures illness. I call this an example of faith, which is very different from science.

Also, I don't think there's any "faith" involved in the claim that the universe has some structure and that science is attempting to find laws which describe that structure.
 
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  • #191
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What exactly are you trying to argue? I have made a deductive statement, thus freeing the question from the problem of induction.
 
  • #192
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For what it's worth, here's my 2 cents.

There's a difference between lack of knowledge and contradictory evidence. Back then, there was no way for people to experimentally verify if there were tiny animals actually swimming in a drop of pond water. So, whatever claim someone made about tiny animals swimming in a drop of pond water, it's irrelevant from a scientific point of view, because people didn't have the means to verify the claim. Once people had microscopes and were able to perform experiments, it become clear that there were tiny organisms swimming around.
But take a look at the timeline. For a long time microscopes were readily available while there was substantial resistance to the microbe theory. Likewise for a long time soap was available to doctors while there was substantial resistance to the microbial theory of disease.

But, this is different from what most religious people argue. People may say that they believe praying to a personal deity cures illness. However, when rigorous controlled tests are done to test this claim, it's seen that prayer doesn't cure illness. Yet, people still believe that prayer cures illness. I call this an example of faith, which is very different from science.
I provided an example of a large number of scientists being wrong for a long time to prove that a large number of scientists can be wrong for a long time (because of faulty logic and arrogance--not lack of knowledge), and thus we might well be susceptible to the same thing. Providing an example of commonly believed low-probability statement (assuming your claim is correct) does not change the fact that a lot of scientists can be wrong for a long time or that we might be susceptible to the same thing. If anything, it reinforces it--its human nature.

Also, I don't think there's any "faith" involved in the claim that the universe has some structure and that science is attempting to find laws which describe that structure.
Good point, My eyes are opened. I've been making the statement "nothing is provable because everything is empirical", but now I must admit that "I think therefore I am" proves absolutely (100%) the truth in the statement, "there is at least some order". But also note that proving beyond doubt there is some order does not prove anything about the nature of that order--which is where our arrogance and faith in other axioms (my own arrogance included) can still bite us in the end, like it did those scientists I mentioned.
 
  • #193
baywax
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Can you have faith in uncertainty?
 
  • #194
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Summarizing my understanding, foundationalism and coherentism are the leading responses to the regress problem.
I am very interested in your response to the regress problem. In addition, do you think science and theism are compatible and why?
 
  • #195
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What exactly are you trying to argue? I have made a deductive statement, thus freeing the question from the problem of induction.
HAHA. Well as long as you say so, I guess it must be true.
 
  • #196
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i'm just wondering does the scientist not believe that when he applies the scientific method he applies it to SOMETHING physical? So then without 'faith' the scientist would just be finding out information what a mass of people consider to be 'reality.' They don't say that though they say it more as if it is TRUTH of the physical world. So faith must exist?

and i don't understand why people are ignorant enough to say faith ONLY applies to 'religious' beliefs. I don't see how you can back that up given the definition of faith....
 
  • #197
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I don't see how you can back that up given the definition of faith....
Define faith.
 
  • #198
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i'm just wondering does the scientist not believe that when he applies the scientific method he applies it to SOMETHING physical? So then without 'faith' the scientist would just be finding out information what a mass of people consider to be 'reality.' They don't say that though they say it more as if it is TRUTH of the physical world. So faith must exist?

and i don't understand why people are ignorant enough to say faith ONLY applies to 'religious' beliefs. I don't see how you can back that up given the definition of faith....
Please read up on 'Instrumentalism'.
 
  • #199
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Please read up on 'Instrumentalism'.
But don't dare use wikipedia.
 
  • #200
Hurkyl
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I am very interested in your response to the regress problem.
I think foundationalism is the right idea. Regress is not something to be overcome; it is an essential flaw in the naive way of viewing things, and compels us to adopt a more sophisticated treatment.

In addition, do you think science and theism are compatible and why?
Yes. For the religions I'm familiar with, there is no (known) fundamental incompatability, and no emergent incompatability has been demonstrated.
 

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