b3ta.com qotw
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » God » Post 393446 | Search
This is a question God

Tell us your stories of churches and religion (or lack thereof). Let the smiting begin!

Question suggested by Supersonic Electronic

(, Thu 19 Mar 2009, 15:00)
Pages: Latest, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, ... 1

« Go Back

Faith in science
Science is all about finding facts based on rules (or vice versa). Religion is about creating something (or imagining someone else's creation) and having faith in it. So anyone who says that atheists treat science as a religion doesn't see this distinction.

While science and religion may be like apples and oranges, 'faith in science' is sort of like a religion. Unless you know everything there is to know about each and every branch of science, you just have to have faith that scientists aren't trying to pull a fast one on you. Atheists may unbeknownst to themselves actually have a religion that's basically faith in science. One thing that they hope for is that the secret of biological immortality will be discovered before they die. There's no set timetable for innovations in biology - they just hope this one Holy Grail will be reached before they die. Also, they have faith that science will eventually unlock all the mysteries of the universe.
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 3:23, 15 replies)
Faith into science won't go
Scientific method has only one underlying assumption, which is that our universe can be described by rules. This solitary assumption implies that to enable the understanding of as-yet-unknown rules, experiments can be devised which will produce repeatable results, the effect of which will increase understanding by reinforcing or weakening the original hypothesis.

Faith takes an arbitrary assumption and prevents it being disproved by obstructing its scrutiny. Religious doctrine ensures that dogma is irrefutable.

If, after testing, a scientific hypothesis appears to be sound, it becomes a theory. Further attempts can and will be made to disprove the theory. Theories which remain sound are assumed to be correct until proven otherwise, as logic dictates. There is no such thing as a proven theory, only one which has yet to be disproved. This is a critical point.

Faith is entirely the opposite. It allows the believer to assume anything without substantiation or further examination. Faith requires nothing more than the ability to unquestioningly maintain an arbitrary assumption indefinitely.

That's why faith works well on gaps in scientific knowledge, but as science advances, those gaps become fewer and fewer, so religious dogma has fewer places to hide.

It's just plain wrong to suggest scientists "have faith" (as in irrational belief) in their work. They do not. They have confidence derived from the results of scientific methods constructed from hundreds of years of fine-tuned, peer-reviewed experiments.
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 8:51, closed)
But doesn't quantum theory throw a massive spanner in the works?
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 9:07, closed)
Not really
It's all work-in-progress stuff, after all.
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 10:01, closed)
It's not just about scientists and their short term goals
It's about ordinary people who for example hope that medical science will advance to the point where biological immortality will be discovered. It cannot be proven whether or not this can happen within their lifetime (unless a scientific breakthrough is imminent), so they hope that it will happen. This is faith in medical science.
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 9:10, closed)
You're confusing
hope with faith.

Faith implies a belief that something will happen, not necessarily something you do or don't want though and certainly not for any particular reason.

Hope implies that you do or don't want something to happen.

If you're talking about people who have reasonable grounds to be hopeful about the outcome of medical research, then that's not faith. It's confidence gained from forecasts which itself is borne from evidence laid out by medical scientists.
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 10:00, closed)
But faith could easilly be spawned from hope.
If you hope for something enough, sometimes, people start to have faith in it. I admit this is pretty irrational, but many people think this way.

While medical researchers have a clear idea of what they're doing, ordinary people can't make any forecasts on the progress of medical science.
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 22:58, closed)
The word 'faith'
has several dictionary definitions. In the context of the QOTW, faith means unsubstantiated belief. We're not talking about faith as a synonym for confidence in a particular outcome which itself is derived from knowledge.

i.e. I might have faith in the pilot to safely land the aircraft, but that's because I know he's trained to do so and I vaguely understand the mechanics of aerodynamics and flight. I have confidence in his abilities and the laws of physics, not unsubstantiated belief.

I think you are focussing on the *placing-your-trust-for-a-reason* definition here, so although you are correct, it's a straw man argument and has nothing to do with 'faith' in the context of religion.
(, Thu 26 Mar 2009, 1:55, closed)
Total agreement with CC here
To sum it up graphically:

What CC said!
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 12:07, closed)
Although that only shows the Abrahamic religions
What about Shinto or Buddhism?
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 13:23, closed)
I totally agree with the diagram
and understand the difference. Science is clearly on the left, but "Faith in science" is just as much a faith as any other faith - hence "faith in science" goes on the right.
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 22:51, closed)
Faith in [$SUBJECT]
is obviously faith, but the meaning is getting muddled here. It's not the wording that is important, but the definition you need to clarify.

I think your original post confuses hope and faith, then later you define faith as a synonym for trust or confidence, rather than having irrational beliefs, which confuses things further.

An example of faith as irrational beliefs which just about fits your original post might be a person who is scared of death, who genuinely believes that medical science will advance within his lifetime, with no particular reason to think so, i.e. no evidence from the scientific or medical community. He wholeheartedly believes it *will* happen, he doesn't just hope so. That's the key difference.

If that's what you're on about, then of course that's faith (as in belief) because it's grounded in nothing but hopes and dreams. It's possible to have an irrational belief about anything, including any branch of science.

If on the other hand, you mean faith as in placing one's trust in the abilities of medical science because you have reason, that's *another, different* definition of faith (the word) which is not the same as the one being used in the QOTW.
(, Thu 26 Mar 2009, 2:01, closed)
This is not about comparing science to faith - this is about describing a religion/philosophy/faith that is based on as yet unproven assertions based on the progress of science (in the same way that most religions are based on an assertion about the supernatural).

I chose biological immortality as an example because several people out there are afraid of dieing, and they like to hope that their condition can be cured, despite there being no evidence that a cure exists. In other words, they have faith that they can become immortal purely by biologcal means. As yet, we still haven't proven whether or not biological immortality is possible.

As for the bit about scientists having faith in their work, I was thinking more about the ordinary people who aren't at the forefront of the latest scientific discoveries - it is they who are the ones most likely to have "faith in science".

So to sum up: "Science" is not "faith". "Faith" is not "science". "Faith in science" is not "science". "Faith in science" is faith.

BTW: For my take on what religion is all about, see this post.
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 22:48, closed)
I have a friend who claims he will be immortal
due to advances in science and technology during his lifetime. He believes that he'll have a cloned body, or a robotic body that he can download his mind into and live forever.

Now that is faith. I think that he might as well wait for someone to discover the elixir of eternal youth, or the holy grail or whatever. I don't have that same faith.
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 9:05, closed)
Now this
is a good case of someone who's become too obsessed with "faith in science".
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 23:00, closed)
I'm concerned about the idea of biological immortality, not hopeful
it's going to lead to stagnation and overpopulation.
(, Wed 25 Mar 2009, 10:10, closed)

« Go Back

Pages: Latest, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, ... 1