How much of science is faith based?

  • #201
Evo
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Yes. For the religions I'm familiar with, there is no (known) fundamental incompatability, and no emergent incompatability has been demonstrated.
I agree with Hurkyl, there is no reason why you can't be religious and also understand the science behind things. I think the problem lies primarily with a small group of Christian fundamentalists (vocal minority) that take the bible to be literally true. They seem to be the ones that find scientific explanations to be in opposition to what they believe is true.
 
  • #202
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Yes. For the religions I'm familiar with, there is no (known) fundamental incompatability, and no emergent incompatability has been demonstrated.
I would not so much label them as incompatible (as there obviously are people who are both scientists and theists), but as irreconcilable because one cannot interchange methods and theories of knowledge between science on the one hand, and religion / theism on the other.

To claim that, for instance, that the dinosaurs where killed by an asteroid because one had a revelation, that it is written in a religious scripture or a religious authority has promulgated an official dogma establishing it would be insane. Likewise, subjecting religion / theism to the same level of positive skepticism, reasoning, critical though, demand for evidence and coherence as one does in science, would probably make it fall like a house of cards?

The best one could hope for was some sort of non-overlapping magisteria, such as that Evo mentioned above.

As an interesting factoid, some 43 % of the US population do not accept evolution
 
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  • #203
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As an interesting factoid, some 43 % of the US population do not accept evolution
interestingly enough most of them probably come from the bible belt and states in southern america have the highest illiteracy rate (up to 63% illiterate in some cities and 50% for states (mississippi)) maybe some sort of connection?
 
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  • #204
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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.
I agree. Thanks for the response!


Yes. For the religions I'm familiar with, there is no (known) fundamental incompatability, and no emergent incompatability has been demonstrated.
I agree with Hurkyl, there is no reason why you can't be religious and also understand the science behind things.
I would not so much label them as incompatible (as there obviously are people who are both scientists and theists), but as irreconcilable because one cannot interchange methods and theories of knowledge between science on the one hand, and religion / theism on the other.
I think science and deism are compatible, but I am undecided when it comes to other forms of theism. More specifically, it is not obvious to me whether science and fideism are fundamentally compatible as two basic beliefs. I often struggle with this question, so I hope someone can share their insight.

I am uncomfortable with the idea that one can justify a belief using fideism (e.g. believe without reason), and yet accept science (e.g. reason) as an equally valid form of justification. Thus, I am inclined to argue that science and fideism are incompatible basic beliefs. What do you think?
 
  • #205
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I am uncomfortable with the idea that one can justify a belief using fideism (e.g. believe without reason)...
Belief without a reason? I'm not convinced that such a thing could exist either! We may have poor reasons for our beliefs, but "no reasons" does not compute. Please explain. I have not heard this term before. Thanks!
 
  • #206
Hurkyl
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I think science and deism are compatible, but I am undecided when it comes to other forms of theism. More specifically, it is not obvious to me whether science and fideism are fundamentally compatible as two basic beliefs. I often struggle with this question, so I hope someone can share their insight.

I am uncomfortable with the idea that one can justify a belief using fideism (e.g. believe without reason), and yet accept science (e.g. reason) as an equally valid form of justification. Thus, I am inclined to argue that science and fideism are incompatible basic beliefs. What do you think?
Discomfort is not proof against. :smile: Maybe it would help to start with a more familiar example of trying to reconsile methods of justification?

Consider rationalism (truth comes from logical deduction) and empiricism (truth comes from experience). If you take either of them strictly, then they are clearly incompatable. But the two can be used in concert -- for example, as used in science. (Science is not pure reason!)


(Incidentally, I don't think "truth", as used outside of mathematics, is a very meaningful notion)
 
  • #207
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Discomfort is not proof against. :smile: Maybe it would help to start with a more familiar example of trying to reconsile methods of justification?

Consider rationalism (truth comes from logical deduction) and empiricism (truth comes from experience). If you take either of them strictly, then they are clearly incompatable. But the two can be used in concert -- for example, as used in science. (Science is not pure reason!)


(Incidentally, I don't think "truth", as used outside of mathematics, is a very meaningful notion)
Agree with all of this. But I was recently corrected on my frequent statements, "Everything we know was obtained inductively, so nothing is 100% provable". The correction is that "I think, therefore I am" is 100% proof of the statement, "there is at least some order". Of course, it proves nothing about the nature of that order.
 
  • #208
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I agree with Hurkyl, there is no reason why you can't be religious and also understand the science behind things.
Humans are capable of adapting to different cultures simultaneously. It happens all the time. For example people usually behave differently in the internet than in the physical world. But besides this, also in the physical world, people behave in certain ways in certain places, and in other ways in other places.

Believing in the religious beliefs is in contradiction with the scientifical method, because there you accept to believe in something without reasonable evidence. You have faith because you got used to having faith when you were young, and because you have been taught to have faith by religious authorities.

What happens with religious scientifical people is that they behave differently at different contexes. They (and you I might guess...) apply the scientifical method to those questions where you have got used them being applied, but not with the religious questions. That means, that you have adapted to two different ways of thinking (and two different cultures).

That is of course lot better, than applying religious principles to obviously purely scientifical questions, which is catastrophical, but it would be simply the best to be just as scientifical as possible always.
 
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  • #209
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Belief without a reason? I'm not convinced that such a thing could exist either! We may have poor reasons for our beliefs, but "no reasons" does not compute. Please explain. I have not heard this term before. Thanks!
Belief is a mental state. To believe in proposition X is to think that X is true.

Reason is used synonymously with justification in the context of foundationalism.

An Agnostic Theist would be an example of someone who believes without reason. In particular, they believe in the existence of god(s), but at the same time, acknowledge that it is an unjustified belief. In other words, it is a belief outside the realms of knowledge. I hope it is clear now. :smile:
 
  • #210
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I think science and deism are compatible, but I am undecided when it comes to other forms of theism. More specifically, it is not obvious to me whether science and fideism are fundamentally compatible as two basic beliefs. I often struggle with this question, so I hope someone can share their insight.
I generally consider any form of deism to be a weak statement in that it doesn't say that much more than 'well, one or more deities did it, but now nature is on its own'. It is almost as the deist definition is more like nature itself. But interesting nonetheless.

Consider rationalism (truth comes from logical deduction) and empiricism (truth comes from experience). If you take either of them strictly, then they are clearly incompatable. But the two can be used in concert -- for example, as used in science. (Science is not pure reason!)
I do not agree with those definitions. Both empiricism and rationalism are truth from experience, just different kinds of results from experience. Rationalism are experience (which everyone must start with as their basis) plus the adaption of logical deduction, whereas empiricism is experience plus sensory perception through observation and experiments.

In this manner, "experience" =/= observation and experiments, but what your brain experiences as input.

(Incidentally, I don't think "truth", as used outside of mathematics, is a very meaningful notion)
You actually need to adopt the a priori validity of the concept of truth to do anything. "Truth" is simple based on the amount of predictions a given idea succeeds in making for your experience. The more predictions its satisfies (think as a forensic analyst), the larger the degree of confidence it has.

Occam's razor obliges the atheist to defend his claim that reality includes some arbitrarily extra mechanism that precludes the existence of infinite order. For surely infinite order should be called "God".
What lead you to that definition? What is the justification of that definition? Why not some other definition? What does "infinite" mean? What does "order" mean? Before those questions are answered, you will get nowhere, as will randomly postulating the existence of infinite order.

Occam's razor actually cuts against the unnecessary multiplication of entities that offer no extra explanatory power or predictive power. Let us take an example. Imagine a ticking watch. The most logical explanation is that it is driven by cogs and the processes of mechanics. You could, of course, argue that there are magical, invisible aliens hidden inside the clock mimicking the processes of mechanics. The aliens are a multiplication of entities with no explanatory or predictive power and is therefore cut by Occam's Razor.
 
  • #211
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Discomfort is not proof against. :smile:
Yes, I concur. I tried to use weaker phrasing to avoid making assertions. :smile:


Consider rationalism (truth comes from logical deduction) and empiricism (truth comes from experience). If you take either of them strictly, then they are clearly incompatable.
I exclude strict empiricism and strict rationalism from my basic beliefs for that reason.


But the two can be used in concert -- for example, as used in science. (Science is not pure reason!)
Science definitely relies on some of the ideas from empiricism and rationalism. However, those ideas are unified within the same basic belief. That is in contrast to science and fideism, which are two separate basic beliefs. Can one apply fideism to justify a proposition and ignore science, if one were to hold both as part of their basic beliefs?
 
  • #212
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I agree with Hurkyl, there is no reason why you can't be religious and also understand the science behind things. I think the problem lies primarily with a small group of Christian fundamentalists (vocal minority) that take the bible to be literally true. They seem to be the ones that find scientific explanations to be in opposition to what they believe is true.
While I agree you don't have to be a fundamentalist to be religious, I find the 'watered down religion' of the moderates equally nonsensical. And even leaving off the fact that it opens up a door to the insanity of fundamentalism, its nothing more than a 'god of the gaps' hypocrisy. Its about people who recognize the inherent nonsense of established religions, but are afraid of the notion that there is no divine purpose. This is bad for science too, because it gives justification to people who want to turn their brain off... on this or that topic.
 
  • #213
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An Agnostic Theist would be an example of someone who believes without reason. In particular, they believe in the existence of god(s), but at the same time, acknowledge that it is an unjustified belief. In other words, it is a belief outside the realms of knowledge. I hope it is clear now. :smile:
I'm not sure I buy that. I think that at some level all of our beliefs have explanations that we offer ourselves, even if they're not very good ones.
 
  • #214
Pythagorean
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Science and religion are more often the ammo used when people argue. I'm thinking mostly of policy-making here (decisions that will have a large geographical influence over people and their social systems), but you could also apply it to your personal life, where you argue with people. When people start claiming to know big truths as a stepping stone to "prove" little truths, I become suspicious of an alternate motive.

The whole idea of "science vs. religion" is ridiculous anyway, because it's generalizing two huge subjects that have diverse branches and sub-branches (and probably sub-sub-sub-sub-branches by the time I get a PhD). It really comes down to "rational vs. irrational" and at the real heart of it "people you like" and "people you don't like".

I don't assume that biology or chemistry are anything like physics, I don't even think you can safely say that all nations view science in the same way or its relationships with religion.
 
  • #215
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The only conflict between science and religion is either when a.) science and religion makes different predictions or b.) methodological and epistemological disputes.
 
  • #216
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If religion does not give you evidence, then why do some people suddenly change religions all of a sudden?
 
  • #217
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If religion does not give you evidence, then why do some people suddenly change religions all of a sudden?
Unfortunately, that would apply to all religions. But most religions are mutually exclusive; thus making the claim of "conversion by evidence" collapse completely.
 
  • #218
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I'm not sure I buy that. I think that at some level all of our beliefs have explanations that we offer ourselves, even if they're not very good ones.
Your notion of reason is different from my definition. An explanation is not a justification if it doesn't follow from a basic belief. A pure rationalist may use experience to explain a belief, but that is not a justification according to foundationalists.
 
  • #219
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Your notion of reason is different from my definition. An explanation is not a justification if it doesn't follow from a basic belief. A pure rationalist may use experience to explain a belief, but that is not a justification according to foundationalists.
Its the standard 'is/ought' problem.

You can't derive an 'ought', what you should do, from an 'is', what happens to be the case.

This is why you either need an absolute law, something divinely laid down, or entirely self-evident proposition.
 
  • #220
459
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Is the moon there when you cannot sense it?
Unless someone else tells me they are observing the moon I have no way to know if it is there when I am not observing it for myself. All I know is that I can always observe it when I do look at it, and others can confirm my belief that it exists. It's trajectory is predictable and logical, and this allows the information to be communicated to others unequivocally. The unequivocalness of the moon makes it simple to believe that it absolutely exists whether I am currently observing it or not.

Does the great majority of nonscientists trust science?
I have no idea what the majority believe, as there seem to be such diversity in opinion it can be hard to determine. Being a nonscientist myself I would say my opinion is that the results produced by science are very reliable. I trust those results, even though I often question them. As I narrow my focus to methods I become skeptical. Finally, as I scrutinize individual motives I do not see many predictable patterns worthy of trusting. When I examine religion and spiritualism I find a pattern almost opposite to that.

Has knowledge in general become so arcane as to divorce it from practicality?
A lot of the advanced principles of science aren't practical for the average person, so I would say yes. The general level of knowledge need only be enough to take advantage of the efforts of a specialized society. I'm reminded of when my grandfather told me he doesn't work on his own cars much anymore because of all the electronics in them.

In their lives, most of mankind has selected a few convenient facts to explain their world view and accept the crumbs that filter down from academia. I believe that human nature impels also the scientist, no matter how learned, to rely mostly on personal belief for plastering together observations.

Which governs our lives and institutions, secular faith or science?
Secular faith governs society, not science. Many people have no grasp of even basic scientific principles simply because the knowledge isn't practical to their lives. One doesn't need to know about radio waves or battery chemistry or electronics to use a cell phone.

Personally, I think it is a mistake to say that science governs anything. Science is itself governed by our, hopefully objective, interpretation of the laws of the physical universe. Science does not govern the universe. Science exists only within the portion of the mind capable of rational thought. It is also my opinion that the best science is a result of insight and serendipity as much as it is of logical inference. Science does a good job of predicting logical phenomena. Faith, secular or otherwise, is better suited for determining the way in which one leads their life, determines the measure of beauty, and chooses to define their character. I see no reason that the two should conflict. In fact, if they are conflicting then it's probable that one is being used in place of the other. Truth is as beautiful as it is logical, and is confined to neither.
 
  • #221
today my philosophy teacher quoted something that made me think of this thread lol

'Just because the rock will fall 1000000000000 times doesn't mean it will fall 1000000000001.'

forgot who it was.... maybe heideggar? (its who we were reading at the time. :S)
This is the same philosophical nonsense that reminds us that science can't prove things axiomatically. Yes we know this, but why should I worry about that? Call me when the sun doesn't rise tomorrow. Until then no one cares about this pretentious statement.
 
  • #222
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...
So if I see a window then that means I just believe in a window, and that really a window doesn't exist?

And again I don't have faith in science. I don't just read about science and go "oh man, this is so emotionally appealing to me, I think I'm going to believe in it." No, science takes the evidence and formulates concepts to explain the evidence. How anyone cannot discern faith from evidence is beyond me.
 
  • #223
A lot of people in this thread don't seem to understand what science really is so I found a pretty good definition of what science is.

Science is the concerted human effort to understand, or to understand better, the history of the natural world and how the natural world works, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding1. It is done through observation of natural phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate natural processes under controlled conditions. -http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/1122science2.html" [Broken]
 
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  • #224
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The only sane argument that could be used is that empiricism is a metaphysical research program, but foundationalists could simply claim that empiricism is undeniable. The only way out for a radical skeptic is them postulating a Cartesian Demon, and we all know where that lands us.
 
  • #225
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This is the same philosophical nonsense that reminds us that science can't prove things axiomatically. Yes we know this, but why should I worry about that? Call me when the sun doesn't rise tomorrow. Until then no one cares about this pretentious statement.
Oh well then, since you've set the record straight, we can all go home now.

Its too bad you weren't around 2 thousand years ago, we could have saved a lot of nonsense.

Someone tell the moderators to turn the lights out and lock up on the way out.
 

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