Author Topic: Science is entirely based on faith  (Read 8593 times)

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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #29 on: December 30, 2012, 05:59:16 PM »
I think you’re working too hard on this. You are giving credence to consciousness based on I don’t know what, and assuming that since you’re right that all other views must be wrong.

Now a neuroscientist would say that consciousness arose from evolved brain circuitry that appears to give us a evolutionary advantage over many other living things. Our consciousness and our resulting awareness lets us do cute little things, like predict the future (it will get warm again next summer so lets harvest these seeds and grow more plants like this next spring) and it gives us clear memories (the last time we were here Henry got eaten by a polar bear, so we’d better take spears).

You seem to want the physical world to arise out of the consciousness. Try telling that to the tiger, who will want to eat you no matter what you're thinking.

Now clearly our perception of reality depends on how the brain interprets said reality, but that does not mean that the brain came first, the chicken second, and our bad jokes third. It is not a situation where the consciousness arose from, oh, I dunno, a pile of dirt and then created the surrounding world. Hard to do if there is no dirt in the first place. Instead, whatever it is that is actually real happened to include conditions conduscive to life, and assundry variables happened along the way that resulted in mammals, some of which became us. And as we evolved, we got not only average vision and great endurance, but a brain that happens to be so self aware that it knows it exists. Other critters may have similar awareness, most notably elephants and dolphins and such, but as far as we know humans happen to have the most advanced awareness of self, and not counting egomaniacs, it generally helps. I, for instance, am about to make a sandwitch, and I remember that I like the type of sandwitch I am going to make better if I put mustard on it. I get to rely on experience, memory, lessons learned and other things from my past to help make this next sandwich more enjoyable than if I was just guessing what the fuck I wanted to put on it. Because serendipity doesn’t work every time or we wouldn’t have a word for it.
Anyway, you seem to be saying that consciousness arose and out of that consciousness the world arose. We differ because I am saying the world was out there all along and our consciousness, a product of that world, is not the center of reality, but rather a byproduct. I have no argument with how cool consciousness is, but I do not assign it the importance, the primacy, that you seem to be doing.

You are getting to read this frickin’ essay because you wrote this:
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If I doubt my own consciousness, then who is doubting?  I am!  Thus I have proved my own consciousness by doubting it.  This applies to consciousness but does not apply to material, physical reality which can always be doubted.  What cannot be doubted is the experience, the perception of existing.


You think that since you are aware of yourself and can doubt yourself that your consciousness is the epitome of something. How can you tell? Did you ask yourself, or did your self ask you? I know that you are religious and I’m not and that we’re sure to differ, but where does this consciousness thing that you’re describing come in? This makes no sense to me.

You are assuming the you that is consciousness has some sort of precedence over everything else. I’m not questioning its importance to each of us as individuals, but saying consciousness is the star of everything is like saying the smell of coffee is what makes a good breakfast nutritious. Consciousness is along for the ride. It is not the ultimate sign of existence. It is the tool we use to interpret existence. It is not the end-all/be-all of everything. It is but a component.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the TED Talks video by Jill Bolt-Taylor (Click here), but in it, she describes how, when she was having a stroke and had not yet been able to call for help, she had experienced a varied and interesting number of interesting things. The one that always stuck with me was how she described leaning against a wall and not knowing where her body stopped and the wall started. Which is entirely consistent with science, not at all consistent with a vastly superior consciousness that can be used to describe the world more accurately than the world can. Because what the consciousness actually does is make the world smaller, make it fit inside our head, make it make some sense so that we can eat better sandwiches and remember where we put out keys. What she was experiencing was a loss of her sense of self, something that the consciousness provides. Her head wasn’t working right and the parts of her that were still aware were loosing track of what was what. Her consciousness could no longer do its part and she was getting lost in the world in ways few could ever imagine.

In other words, the consciousness is a limiting instrument, not an ultimate one. We use it to pare down reality into neuron sized pieces and store the results in our innocent little brain cells, using them to create whatever level of naivite we need to survive. We use it to limit inputs and dampen down reality until we find a balance between the world outside and our brain inside. And while most do this fairly comptently, others shoot up schools and profit from ponzi schemes and join in on gang rapes or panic over when JC is going to return. The consciousness is not a superpower. It is a protective cocoon from which few dare to wander.

You're thinking otherwise is part of the game you play with yourself. We all play the same game, but as individuals, we get to make up the rules. It is how well we do that that determines who wins. You can use the bible for guidance if you want, but I’ll use actual knowledge, thank you.
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Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #30 on: December 30, 2012, 07:02:33 PM »
A very good question.  The quick answer is yes, it is still faith, because there is no certainty, but what 'works' is an excellent matter to raise.
I have to ask exactly what degree of "certainty"is required? The fact that science improves upon itself based upon new and better evidence makes it not faith. Faith would be continuing to believe that the world is supported by a huge guy named Atlas. Science is not faith because it is self correcting, it seeks the best explanation given the best possible evidence. Faith is not, by definition, persuaded by evidence. You can't say that two things that are totally the opposite are the same thing. That's argument of the beard.

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A large proportion of believers would say that their faith is working for them and/or that they don't believe that their life would be working without it.
Here's the difference: science works, whether you believe in it or not. Its efficacy is not dependent on the belief states of the credulous. 
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Their faith gives their lives meaning, purpose, direction and hope.
Osama bin Laden's faith gave his life meaning, purpose, direction and hope too. I don't see how this is a good thing. The fact that something gives someone these things has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether or not it is true. If you are going to say that faith giving people these things is good, then that has to apply to bin Laden too, or it's not a valid argument. Sorry,you lose.

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You are obviously claiming that science works and we have seen that to be true in many cases.  We have also seen where the use of science has brought significant dangers to the world.
Even in cases where science is used to accomplish something that is not good (i.e. atomic bombs) it's not because the science doesn't work. An atomic bomb works exactly the way it is supposed to. It may not be ethical to use, but it works just as predicted. The difference between science and faith in this way is that religion doesn't work to accomplish anything other than significant dangers, so to speak. It's not by accident either that there are believers who think that homosexuals and adulterers should be killed, that rape victims should be stoned, that women should be silent, that slavery is OK, because the religious books confirm all of these things. Religion gives people specific and direct license to do all manner of wickedness. Science does not operate in this same way at all. Sure, science CAN be used in bad ways, but when something bad comes out of religion, it's almost always because that's what the instruction book says to do.

In addition, how is it that EVERYTHING that has been discovered, created, accomplished, progressed, improved, envisioned, and revolutionized has only ever been because of science, and why is it that religion is constantly retarding, regressing, postponing, sabotaging, distracting, and rebelling AGAINST this process? Why are the most religious countries on earth, where the LAW is religion, such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, the absolute worst possible places to live, whereas the least religious countries on earth (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands) are the best places to live?

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So, yes, we definitely need to look for what works
Please give ONE example of something in religion that works, regardless of the belief state of the observer. I will be waiting until I die.
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- while also keeping in mind that some things work for some people and not for others.
No. Science works regardless of whether people believe in it or not. You just can't try to do this. You can't say "I don't believe in gravity!" and then fly off into the air at will. You are simply making a false comparison. And in the case of religion "working" for people, in the sense of giving them hope, meaning, purpose and direction, there are plenty of things besides religion that can provide these things, and might even work better than religion, but people are just too content to think that the universe was all made specially for them.
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There is very often personal preference involved in determining the answer to 'what works'.
Yes but a religious person could easily find other ways to find meaning etc. in their lives. In fact I think it is very much easier to find meaning and purpose to ones life when you realize it's all you have. You don't waste your time on Sunday mornings listening to an elderly virgin drone on about sin and salvation. You don't waste your time having conversations in your head with an imaginary friend, asking him to help get you a raise and forgive your sins, and please please let me into heaven! You don't have to waste your time saying the rosary (indoctrination much??) or having baptisms or getting fondled by the priest.

Instead, you could sleep in, watch a movie, go for a walk, play a game with your family, spend time with a friend you haven't seen in a while, read, build/make something, pick up a new hobby, mow a neighbors lawn, go swimming, bicycling, hiking, teach your kids something new, chop some wood, walk the dog, go fishing, go boating, skiing, sledding, listen to music, go to a concert, take a few college courses in things you enjoy just for fun, really, anything other than waste a second telling Big Brother that you love him.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline William

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2012, 07:18:05 PM »
- To the extent that Atheism relies on science (as the only reliable source of truth) it is thus also entirely faith based.

All the science I've been involved in relies on statistics, mathematics, reasoning and empirical validation.  Hardcore stuff, but even then when I read science I find the language of conclusions usually quite guarded e.g. "...it appears that...", "...based on these findings...", "...this suggests ...", "...more research may confirm this proposed explanation ..."

Yes, proponents of particular explanations can be somewhat dogmatic and become attached to their pet theories, but science as a whole remains open minded to new explanations.  When old theories are shown to be wrong science happily moves along.

What happens when the bubble of a religious idea is popped?  .... the faithful dig in and generate tons of excusiology .... a froth of new bubbles.

In science, doubting and skepticism is encouraged.  In religion it is belittled and often punished.

I've been involved in both science and religion, and I know which of the two I trust.
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Online Emily

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #32 on: December 30, 2012, 07:44:12 PM »
Lets not forgot that, according to Hebrews 11:1, faith is the evidence of things not seen.

It all comes down to how you define faith. I do have 'faith' in science, but not from a biblical standpoint. The 'faith' I have in it is that it works, and I trust its results. Sure, the results of science today may be different than the results of science 50 years from now, but that's only because I have 'faith' in the progress science makes.

There is no 'faith' required to believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun, of that the Universe was formed 14 billion years ago. There is evidence all around us for that. That evidence is in the form of scientific studies. Same with the other fields of science outside of cosmology.

Atheism isn't based on science. It's based on a lack of belief in a god(s). There is no science required to do so. And there is no faith required, according to the biblical definition of faith, to believe in science.

What it all comes down to how the word is defined, which is something a lot of Christians struggle with. For example: a Christian may say the theory of evolution is just a theory - a thought or a guess. When the scientific definition of theory is much different and far more specific. Using faith in terms that science (and atheism) is based on faith is nothing but using a weasel word.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 07:54:24 PM by Emily »
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Offline William

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #33 on: December 30, 2012, 09:52:03 PM »
But I do want to burst the bubble of those who think they have taken some royal high road by accepting science while rejecting all religion.  Those people have simply made a faith based decision.
My bold.

I don't think I've met or read an atheist who rejects "all" religion outright.  Most religions have some good bits of humanist-style philosophy intertwined that look remarkably like the ethic of reciprocity, but often distorted and harnessed as part of meme process to reinforce group cohesion.   

However, I'm quite certain that atheists do reject the notion that the few bits of wortwhile stuff in religion come from a deity i.e that it's the "word of God".

The problem for religion is that their bits of good stuff are packaged together with large tracts utter garbage and vile ancient fiction - and can't be unbundled without jettisoning faith. 

See, the good stuff in religion can all be derived through philosophy - that's why it makes sense!  :police: :laugh: And anyway that is a more plausible explanation of how it got into scriptures in the first place.  Normal thinking humans wrote it into scriptures by flowering up the characters of oral legends, attributing their own thoughts and words to those characters.  All fiction with a moral "message" is written this way.

The memes of religion have acquired and refined the "hooks" of the good stuff for self-promotion and replication.  Look at the way Christians like to ignore the violent God of the OT - somehow the same "eternal" God who suddenly gets portrayed in the NT as sacrificing his only son for our salvation is more real and relevant than the previous version of God who banished, drowned, burnt, and slaughtered for respect.  If scriptures had not been locked down in the canon, the revision and rewriting would be proceeding apace  ;D  by the faithful fighting to stave off modern philosophy and scientific progress

Let face it Dominic, through science we know (without an ounce of faith) that we can't cleanse leprosy by catching two doves then  killing one and letting the other go.  But without science, and through faith in God alone, that's exactly what God's chosen nongs believed - and all because Moses said: "the Lord said..".

Now Mark says: "... pick up snakes and drink poison ..."  Do you do that Dominic?  I think you have too much faith in science to fall for that kind of nonsense.

Religious faith is a cruel trick - perpetuated for the benefit of clergy enjoying the power trip and the benefits of sheltered employment it delivers unto them.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 09:53:40 PM by William »
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Offline cablebandit

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #34 on: December 30, 2012, 10:02:55 PM »
excellent reading

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #35 on: December 30, 2012, 11:29:41 PM »
I flat out disagree with your assertion.  First off, you have not defined what faith is to begin with.  You simply assume that it is required for science because we cannot independently confirm what we perceiving with our senses.  Without an accurate definition of what you mean by faith, this is a fairly meaningless argument.

Second, you make a second assumption, namely that science is based around determining whether something is true to begin with.  This assumption is false; science is not about determining whether things are true, it is about determining whether they are false.  Therefore, science is not a source of truth to begin with, it is a way to systematically remove falsehoods from our understanding of the universe.

Third, it is true that science must make the assumption that the evidence of our senses is reliable.  But to assume otherwise is nonsensical.  It would essentially mean that nothing could be determined by anyone because it was all entirely subjective, yet we can already confirm that this is not the case.  Drop a rock, and observers can see it fall.  Light a match, and observers can see it flare.  So on and so forth.  We know that some things are objective; if a person jumps off of a building, then they will always fall towards the ground; no matter who jumps off, they will still fall, and they can't influence things with 'faith'.  If a person is shot with a fast-moving object like a bullet, it won't bounce off of bare skin because of 'faith'.  These, and many other things, are not subjective.

So, in short, your postulation is invalidated; science is not faith-based.  It works (or doesn't work) regardless of whether someone "has faith" in it or not.  The placebo effect, as you mention later, is not an example of faith in science - it is simply an improvement that cannot be attributed to the effects of whatever medicine is being tested - it could simply be due to the body attempting to meet the expectations of the mind.  Furthermore, it cannot work in reverse - someone taking a medicine can't negate its effects with 'faith'.  Someone who is poisoned can't negate its effects with 'faith' either.

Offline dloubet

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #36 on: December 30, 2012, 11:32:25 PM »
Can we grant that "I exist" does not require faith? If we can't, then this argument is worse than solipsism.

Let's grant that we can justify a solipsistic "I exist" as a non-faith position.

Given that position, the accuracy of my senses is irrelevant. Whether I am experiencing reality exactly as it is or whether I am a brain in a box experiencing a fictional construct, is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it is the only experience I have. None of this takes faith.

Having established that I can only experience what I experience, I can determine how the experiences relate to my well being. I can see how the experiences I have cause pleasure or pain. More importantly, I can see the consistency with which these experiences deliver pleasure or pain. There is still no faith involved, only observation and categorization. And it's irrelevant whether the experiences are a reflection of reality or not. All that's important is the consistency, for with consistency I can claim knowledge. Whether I have knowledge of reality or the Matrix is irrelevant to how the experiences affect my well being.

And all this knowledge is conditional. New data can always change my measure of consistency. Still no faith required. All I'm doing is measuring the consistency of the experiences I get. I can even make predictions based on those measurements, and the success or failure of those predictions will further affect my knowledge. Still no faith required.

Basically, if I decide not to care if what I experience is real or not, your claim that I have faith is false.

I think everyone here finds Matrix-style arguments pointless because YOU CAN'T DISPROVE THEM. This means everyone here admits that there could -- in principle -- be evidence presented that our experiences are utter fiction, but that it's pointless to discuss it because these are the only experiences we have.

That being the case, I put it to you that many of us do not care if our experiences are real or not, and thus that your claim that we have faith they are real is false.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 11:35:40 PM by dloubet »
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Offline Skinz

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2012, 12:17:19 AM »
The difference between science and faith in religion was, in my mind, most succintly explained by the fellow in my signature.

True science says "I don't know" when it hits upon something it can't explain. Example, we know that mass attracts mass, and we call it gravity. That's a stone cold fact. We don't know for certain why yet, and we can speculate and test each other's hypothesisisis, but no-one who can be taken seriously has yet stood up and said "I know exactly why!", so it's guesswork so far. No faith required.

As to the questions of extentialism, I find it fascinating but completley unaswerable. That said, in my opinion it is not faith to say "I am here". It's just the first observation.
"Science changes it's views based on what's observed; Religion ignores the facts so that faith may be preserved."

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Offline Astreja

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2012, 12:47:03 AM »
Dominic, an interesting point about the limitations of human perception and instrumentation.  However, please consider this:

Even if human senses don't completely accurately register the results of a measurement, for practical purposes it's sufficient that the {measurement + interpretation} is consistent.  In other words, if there's a thermometer and we read it 3 consecutive times as -30C, we are somewhat justified in thinking that baby, it's cold outside.

There probably is more out there than we can perceive via physical means, but we relate to the universe in terms of what is accessible to us.  Rather than being limited by our senses, I think science does a good job of helping us expand beyond those limitations.

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Offline mhaberling

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #39 on: December 31, 2012, 01:57:45 AM »
Shit... Another theist makes a thread, I see if there is anyway to help with all the responses and it turns out he's arguing against one of my most basic points...

Human perception is defined by what we know... and therefore is always changing... If you gave a caveman a match he would see a stick with dirt at the end... The idea of science is to build off the perception we have to change it t a more accurate one.

Your consciousness is a very unique thing... It understands logic, which is the most basic law of the universe. So if we perceive things wrong, eventually there will be an observable logical contradiction. So to say that our consciousness is to limited is to say that logic might be false...

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Offline Dominic

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #40 on: December 31, 2012, 02:34:53 AM »

Note 1 - This thread does not concern the accuracy of any particular religious claim.  It is about the nature of reality and thus the nature of truth itself.

Note 2 - Recognising the primacy of consciousness does not reject science in any way at all.  What it does is place science and the material world as a subset of reality within a greater whole that is consciousness.  [Obviously other words than 'consciousness' can be used for the greater whole.]  Within the physical subset, science is absolutely essential and brilliant at what it does.

Much of western society tends to assume that consciousness is a subset of physical reality ie the 'primacy of physical reality' (based on sense perception).  This viewpoint gives the impression that science applies to all of reality.  However that is logically impossible because the underlying assumptions of science cannot be tested by science.  Those assumptions may be testable but not by science.

Note 3 - Using a label like 'solipsism' as a battering ram to stifle discussion does not solve the problem.  If someone thinks that these ideas cannot be discussed or assessed then don't join in.

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it is true that science must make the assumption that the evidence of our senses is reliable.  But to assume otherwise is nonsensical.

Note that the very word 'nonsense' rejects anything not based on sense-perception.  That rejection is contained in the word itself.  That demonstrates how the material worldview is built into our language and why it is therefore so hard to consider reality outside of that conventional constraint.

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Lets not forgot that, according to Hebrews 11:1, faith is the evidence of things not seen.

That is a narrow definition of faith.  That definition could be useful for many discussions but not for this one.  If we accepted that definition for this discussion then a hallucination or dream would be accepted as confirmed because someone 'saw' it.

We all agree that science works.  Tests are undertaken and results are consistently confirmed.  Technology confirms its success.

However, we cannot forget that at our deaths none of that knowledge or technology is terribly relevant or useful to the individual.  It was a great adventure but then comes something else.  Atheists believe 'then comes nothing or then comes a return of our atoms to nature'.  Whatever comes next, the whole of life may as well have been a dream from the perspective of the individual at that end moment. You could say it all worked or you could say ultimately it all failed.

Of course this is not a reason to change your beliefs or change your worldview but it is a realiasation that ultimately we are all in the same boat and no-one has all the answers.

Offline Dominic

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2012, 02:52:09 AM »
Shit... Another theist makes a thread, I see if there is anyway to help with all the responses and it turns out he's arguing against one of my most basic points...

Human perception is defined by what we know... and therefore is always changing... If you gave a caveman a match he would see a stick with dirt at the end... The idea of science is to build off the perception we have to change it t a more accurate one.

Your consciousness is a very unique thing... It understands logic, which is the most basic law of the universe. So if we perceive things wrong, eventually there will be an observable logical contradiction. So to say that our consciousness is to limited is to say that logic might be false...

Hi mh

Thanks for your contribution.

We don't need to agree : - )

It appears you are making logic into a bit of a 'god' as if logic rules over all.  Logic is a very useful tool but its not an absolute.  I liked a song last week and no longer do.  No real logic there.  I might even like it again in a year's time.   A man was thin when younger and fat when older so in retrospect he was a fat thin man.  No logic there.  Many people enjoy nonsense rhyme.  No logic there. 

Logic is a tool for achieving many practical objectives.  It is often essential in those circumstances but it is not a universal absolute.

You also mention contradiction, which is how we use logic to achieve our objectives.  Note however that with contradiction it doesn't tell you which option is true, it simply tells you that two opposing claims cannot both be used when trying to achieve a practical outcome.  So logic and contradiction deal with consistency and achieving practical purposes.  They do not in fact deal with truth.  We could have a thoroughly internally consistent (logical) worldview and still not have truth, or more specifically still not have any true understanding.

« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 02:54:29 AM by Dominic »

Offline William

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2012, 03:01:00 AM »
One of the key underlying assumptions of science is that human sense perception is able to accurately detect the nature of reality. 

I don't buy this "key underlying assumptions" stuff.  It's a red herring puffed out of all proportion.

Firstly, these days most science is not done by individuals perceiving things in isolation.  We work in teams, often fiercely competing teams. We are usually building on previous work, repeating our own work, often doing our best to show up a fault in the work of others, or taking it further than they did.   

So if we are having trouble with being able to "accurately detect the nature of reality", then that same trouble has to be happening with frighteningly reliable accuracy in other scientists perceptions too  :police:

Secondly, a lot of modern science is done by thinking and working abstractly.  (We can't see DNA, or atoms, let alone god particles or dark matter.)  A great deal of science now involves data collection by sophisticated sensor technology and subsequent processing by computers.  Human sense perception plays a very limited role - sure we read printouts and graphs but that is mainly to supply our brains with fodder for more abstract thinking. 

Potential human perceptual limitations, whether real or just hoped for by a mischievous theist apologist, are in practice not much of a limitation in modern science.  A blind person could do good science - hell here's a perfect example of exactly that - a blind biologist Geerat Vermeij :
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My research centres on how animals and plants have evolved to cope with their biological enemies – predators, competitors and parasites – over the course of the last six hundred million years of Earth’s history.

http://www.scienceinschool.org/2011/issue18/vermeij
He can't see stuff or go back in geological time - but his brain can.

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Offline natlegend

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2012, 03:13:20 AM »
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...the underlying assumptions of science cannot be tested by science.  Those assumptions may be testable but not by science.

Um... I'm pretty sure that when something is testable and you go ahead and test it, you are using science.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #44 on: December 31, 2012, 04:07:00 AM »
Shit... Another theist makes a thread, I see if there is anyway to help with all the responses and it turns out he's arguing against one of my most basic points...
I submit that this demonstrates just how weak, pathetic, and useless the so called "spiritual paradigm" is, considering that NO TWO PEOPLE agree on any of this crap, yet it is supposed to the THE truth as revealed to ignorant credulous desert wandering goat herders by the almighty ruler of the cosmos. Now I suppose that Dominic isn't necessarily advancing a biblical worldview in this particular thread, but I think it's safe to "assume" that his case is in support of some type of religious worldview.

To be honest, I really get sick of the kind of pointless acrobatics that Dominic is doing here, because he hasn't clarified anything, or provided an explanation for anything, or even told us what the rules of the spiritual paradigm are. In another thread regarding souls he is being similarly stubborn. What it comes down to is this. Rather than demonstrating a single way in which his worldview explains anything, describes anything, has rules, or is useful in any way (he can't do this because his worldview does none of these things) he feels the need to try to discredit the scientific method and what he calls the physical paradigm. "It works, and is the basis of all human knowledge, but so what?" is a pretty lame argument, but one that you would expect from a person whose worldview does not work. It's really quite silly. It's like saying "We may know, because of science, numerous ways to produce light. But let's forget all of that, even though it works, because it's all based on the assumptions of science, and instead buy a magic wand and practice the Lumos spell. Only then will we understand anything about light".  In other words, lets conveniently ignore what works, using a bunch of pseudo logic gymnastics to make it look like we are somehow making a point, and then just try to play the "Well we can never really know" card. Personally, I am going to go with what works. The fact that Dominic is expressing these opinions on the internet, and not channeling this info into our consciousness using some sort of "spiritual" means, seems to demonstrate to me that he does not have much faith in his on worldview, because he has to apply OUR worldview to even get his point across.

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Human perception is defined by what we know... and therefore is always changing... If you gave a caveman a match he would see a stick with dirt at the end... The idea of science is to build off the perception we have to change it t a more accurate one.
And this is the exact opposite of what occurs in religion.

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Your consciousness is a very unique thing... It understands logic, which is the most basic law of the universe. So if we perceive things wrong, eventually there will be an observable logical contradiction. So to say that our consciousness is to limited is to say that logic might be false...
But that's just what Dominic is trying to do, demonstrate that the "assumptions" of science are dubious, even though the shit somehow still works! If one made all of the wrong assumptions, and tested a theory based on those assumptions, and the theory works, every time, without fail, which is more likely, that the assumptions are false, but the results are entirely consistent and prove what was predicted, or that the theory works because the "assumptions" are true? Anyone who would choose the first option would believe in a universe that functions properly and consistently by complete accident, in defiance of all possible odds. It's the same as saying that cars are a functional miracle, because the theory engineers use to design them are just "assumptions". Sure, thousands of different parts put together in the correct way produces a machine that we can use to travel about at considerable speeds, and has worked for over a hundred years, but it's just an "assumption" that the theory behind automobiles works. HOW CAN ANY THINKING PERSON TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY?!?

And Dominic still hasn't told us what the assumptions of the spiritual paradigm are, or what to do with them. He can't explain it, it does nothing useful at all, predicts/explains nothing, answers not one question about our universe, and so naturally he has to dismiss the theory that actually works, because it allows him to ignore the glaring flaws in his own. He has to say that because he has nothing else to go on.

Sorry, given two competing explanations for the universe, I'm going to "assume" that the one that actually effing works is the one that is true. Until Dominic sends me an instant message using the spiritual paradigm, I will continue with this "assumption".
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline Dominic

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #45 on: December 31, 2012, 04:14:51 AM »
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...the underlying assumptions of science cannot be tested by science.  Those assumptions may be testable but not by science.

Um... I'm pretty sure that when something is testable and you go ahead and test it, you are using science.

Nat,

Can you see that before science begins that some ground rules (assumptions) must be defined ?   For example, science places huge importance on the role of observation.  But how many people must observe a result before it is accepted as verified by observation ?   How do we know that observation is accurate ?  These questions cannot be answered by science because they relate to the very definition of science.

[You don't need to try and answer those questions although you can if you like. ]

In practice, these underlying assumptions are simply a consensus or general agreement in order for science to be carried out at all.  Now is that general agreement scientific ?  No.  Logically, the definition of science cannot be a scientific process.

The realisation here is that the whole of science is founded on non scientific principles.  This is not designed to be an attack on science.  It is simply a recognition of the nature of what it is that humans actually do.  Humans agree on principles and then use those agreements for various purposes.  Science is one of those agreements.



Offline William

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #46 on: December 31, 2012, 05:01:56 AM »
Can you see that before science begins that some ground rules (assumptions) must be defined ?   

Not at all.  Science already began a long time ago without "ground rules" - it's VERY successful and gets better and more valuable every day.  New science builds on and validates prior science, or revises it as appropriate.

Trying to chip away at the philosophical foundations of science at this stage of the game is either just grubby theist excusiology or otherwise as stupid as hesitating to make a shopping list for your weekly grocery shop because you are worried that you only imagined the goods might on the shelf.

Dominic, you need a reality check - there's simply no gaping vacuum in the foundation of science that needs to be filled by an acknowledgement of "faith" to make it work.  Confidence in science is essentially based on proven repeatability and practical every day benefits to real people - like the petrol combustion engine that takes you to church or the electricity that lights up your computer screen to read this awesome forum  :) 
« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 05:12:59 AM by William »
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Offline natlegend

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #47 on: December 31, 2012, 06:33:35 AM »
Ok I'm doing this the hard way, on a @#$&% mobile phone.[1]

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Can you see that before science begins that some ground rules (assumptions) must be defined ?   For examile, science places huge importance on the role of observation.

I have a bucket of water. I notice that when I leave it in the sun, it gets warm. I know that fire is hot. I wonder if I put my bucket on or near the fire if it will also make the water warm. I try it out. Oh wow, the water DID get warm! How exciting! I try it again. It works again. For shits and giggles I get TWO buckets and put them next to my fire. They BOTH get warm. Holy crap! Now I really use my noggin and get two buckets of water, but only place one next to the fire. Woah, only that water gets warm, the other stays cool. I show my friend what I can do now. He gets excited cos now we can all have warm water for our baths. I tell another friend about it. They try it out for themselves. Far out! It works for him too! Word spreads and other people try. It works for them as well. Every. Single. Time. Voilla, a simplified version of science!

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How do we know that observation is accurate ?

Because Brian, who heard it from Sasha, who overheard a couple of guys talking about it at the bus stop, tried it for himself and got the same results. Brian hasn't even met me and yet he now has hot water too!

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These questions cannot be answered by science because they relate to the very definition of science.

Dude, thaat doesn't even make sense.

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Logically, the definition of science cannot be a scientific process.

lol and that makes even LESS sense. Are you reading your posts before you hit send? Seriously?

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Humans agree on principles and then use those agreements for various purposes.  Science is one of those agreements.

Maaaaate, you don't get to choose whether to believe in scientific results, they're actually these proven, independently verifiable things called 'facts' now.
 1. Please oh please won't someone make a mobile version of this site? For all us plebs without a computer at home?
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #48 on: December 31, 2012, 07:08:31 AM »
We can't see DNA, or atoms

I'm kind of surprised to hear you say this.  It isn't true.

Photograph of unlinked DNA:



Photograph of xenon atoms arranged to form the acronym "IBM".  Each dot you see here is one atom.



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let alone god particles or dark matter.

On this one I would add, "at least, not yet".  There was a time not so long ago when it was generally agreed that it was impossible to see atoms, too, and that turned out to be false.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #49 on: December 31, 2012, 07:51:28 AM »
Can you see that before science begins that some ground rules (assumptions) must be defined ?   For example, science places huge importance on the role of observation.  But how many people must observe a result before it is accepted as verified by observation ?   How do we know that observation is accurate ?  These questions cannot be answered by science because they relate to the very definition of science.

For what its worth, I grok exactly what Dominic is saying, I believe.  Its a solipsistic (sp?) point that says we can't REALLY know whether the universe we experience is correct, or if it is all an externally programmed illusion and we are all REALLY brains in jars.   Rebutters are essentially saying "look at this book, do this experiment", but how do we tell if the book is REALLY there, or not?

If a hallucination can be so all-encompassing that there is no way from the inside of telling it is a hallucination or not, then how can you be sure you are not hallucinating?

Like I say, I see where Dominic is coming from.....the thing is, though, I just don't care.   ;)

Two (or more) alternatives: the universe is "as it appears", or it is all a jar-brain hallucination....insert whatever additional alternatives you fancy.  If I appear to push a pin into my thumb, I will experience a sensation of pain....and if I hammered a spike into my head, I would experience the feeling of "death".  Frankly, if the sensory effect is identical, whether I am real or whether I am a jar-brain, then I couldn't care less which one is true.  If I can never determine the true nature of reality, then there is no benefit to me in not accepting the reality that appears in every respect to be correct.

Call that faith if you like.  But its a faith that is corroborated 100% of the time, so far as I can tell - and to shoehorn the word "faith" into such a circumstance just cheapens the word and makes it meaningless.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline William

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #50 on: December 31, 2012, 08:54:52 AM »
I'm kind of surprised to hear you say this.  It isn't true.

Photograph of unlinked DNA:
...
Photograph of xenon atoms arranged to form the acronym "IBM".  Each dot you see here is one atom.

 ;D Haha ;D yes I concede - but only very slightly.  I worked extensively with DNA/RNA without ever seeing a pic of the actual stuff I was working with at the time - and I'm quite sure practically everyone currently doing the same does not look at pics of the molecules they are handling/processing.  In any case that pic is of a very large macro-molecule - certainly not resolving the genetic information in any way - which is the resolution of real interest :)

I also did a lot of chemistry without ever seeing the atoms I was actually working with.  The VAST majority of scientists doing chemistry and biochemistry do not work with visual confirmation at the level of atomic resolution.  But I do concede that some fields of material science and nanotechnology do sometimes work with sophisticated imagery of high resolution.   

My argument is intact regardless - a lot of modern science is conducted by thinking abstractly and without engaging human perception or "stunt" pictures  ;) 
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Offline Dominic

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #51 on: December 31, 2012, 08:57:53 AM »

For what its worth, I grok exactly what Dominic is saying, I believe.  Its a solipsistic (sp?) point that says we can't REALLY know whether the universe we experience is correct, or if it is all an externally programmed illusion and we are all REALLY brains in jars.   Rebutters are essentially saying "look at this book, do this experiment", but how do we tell if the book is REALLY there, or not?

If a hallucination can be so all-encompassing that there is no way from the inside of telling it is a hallucination or not, then how can you be sure you are not hallucinating?

Like I say, I see where Dominic is coming from.....the thing is, though, I just don't care.   ;)


A perfectly reasonable position to take.

'I don't know any way out of my current dream so it's all that I have.  I accept it.'

Another analogy is a cell in a body if it was aware.  How can it know what it is and how many layers down (or up) it exists.  All it knows is what it senses by whatever sensual faculties it may have.

However, when the situation that we are in is recognised, it does require a little humility.  If another cell, or another ant, or another human starts to question the nature of its reality and see if any bigger insights can be gleaned, it is not right to tell him to shut up and conform.  It's not right to tell him to be satisfied with his senses and not to question.

Conforming to sense perception as if it was the sole guide to the nature of true reality should not be considered best practice nor must it be the default position.


Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #52 on: December 31, 2012, 09:11:16 AM »
I worked extensively with DNA/RNA without ever seeing a pic of the actual stuff I was working with at the time - and I'm quite sure practically everyone currently doing the same does not look at pics of the molecules they are handling/processing.

Very likely, yes.  Most of the work that gets done with DNA probably doesn't require having to see the actual molecule itself, and since scanning tunneling microscopes aren't exactly cheap, a lab probably wouldn't spring for one unless they really needed one.

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In any case that pic is of a very large macro-molecule - certainly not resolving the genetic information in any way - which is the resolution of real interest :)

I found that photo after only a brief image search.  I found another one that was much more close up, but I wasn't sure whether it was a photograph or a graphic.  There probably are closer up photographs of DNA out there, but I didn't have time to do an exhaustive search... only had a few minutes before I had to get out the door to go to work.

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I also did a lot of chemistry without ever seeing the atoms I was actually working with.  The VAST majority of scientists doing chemistry and biochemistry do not work with visual confirmation at the level of atomic resolution.

And, again, I'm sure they don't, for the same reason I gave above.

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But I do concede that some fields of material science and nanotechnology do sometimes work with sophisticated imagery of high resolution.   

My argument is intact regardless - a lot of modern science is conducted by thinking abstractly and without engaging human perception or "stunt" pictures  ;)

True.  I was only speaking to where you said we can't see atoms or molecules.  Which isn't strictly true, any more than it's strictly true that we can't send man to the moon.  We can, but because of the cost and effort involved, we almost never do (and haven't for about forty years, but that's a different discussion).
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Offline Iamrational

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #53 on: December 31, 2012, 09:40:16 AM »
Word games here, that's all.

Here are the definitions from Webster's:

"1a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs"

So this is what it boils down to. This person is playing semantics. Nothing more. Trying to get the big ZING on an atheist.

As I look through the 3 definitions the first doesn't relate because it deals with promises. The second clearly doesn't relate because it deals with religion.

The third is the only one that loosely relates ONLY because it talks about a general belief, especially with strong conviction. So there you have it. Sure if you want to lay out a blanket statement like that well then it is faith. Notice what words are lacking in that 3rd definition, "lack of evidence."

So you want to sit here and play semantics, fine that is a time waste but all right. So I have a strong belief that science is real and God is not (not saying these are related either). If you want to say that is faith, so be it.

If you want to be the 2 year old that says, "Oh I got the atheist to say he/she has faith," well then you need to open some books and read something that actual matters, like the FAITH(something that is believed especially with strong conviction) in SCIENCE.

(as a side note atheist friends, Please read the Wiki definition of faith and you will see a section about "Fideism." This person seems to draw something from that version.)

Offline William

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #54 on: December 31, 2012, 09:40:58 AM »
However, when the situation that we are in is recognised, it does require a little humility.  If another cell, or another ant, or another human starts to question the nature of its reality and see if any bigger insights can be gleaned, it is not right to tell him to shut up and conform.  It's not right to tell him to be satisfied with his senses and not to question.

Um that is a gross distortion of the progress already made in this debate.  Dominic, you are using the topic to attempt to create wriggle room for religious faith to coexist with the same respectability as confidence in science.  That is just bollocks because religion does not satisfy the same standards of evidence that science does.  If a theist's perception of truth can't be perceived by others, or satisfactorily explained, or produce empirical evidence beyond that predicted by chance alone then atheists are quite entitled to deny respect to that perception.

One thing atheists do value is open mindedness - but not to the extent of tolerating unsubstantiated woowoo lala of "another cell, or another ant, or another human" for any length of time.  At some point you've got to explain things adequately to be respected - there is no inalienable right to be taken seriously just because your perceptions are different.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #55 on: December 31, 2012, 09:59:22 AM »
Yep, the word 'faith' does have multiple meanings and this is exactly what Dominic can't accept. he is working with the meaning he uses of his religion, i.e.

Trusting i something for which there is no evidence at all. It might be called blind faith

Science, and the non-religious world use -

Trusting in something because it has shown it works in the past and there is good evidence to suggest it is still true.

Examples of the latter would be

my trust that the car will start in the morning - it has each day since I have had it so I have good reason to expect it will again.

No stepping out of an upstairs window because I know that everything dropped from there crashes to the ground. True I might be able to float but there is nothing to suggest this is true.

Plotting a course for a spacecraft to go to Mars. Newtonian physics is all that is needed but there is still faith that gravity will work as it should - that the rocket motors will work as they should. Mind with everything tested and nothing to suggest gravity might change, this is hardly risky!

Religion, on the other hand, wants us to believe that praying to a god for something will result in that god acting in our best interest, which may not result in us getting what we pray for. If we don't get what we pray for, there is no way to know if that is because there isn't a god to respond or that the god doesn't feel like acting. As it is rare for prayers to be answered and there is usually an explanation other than a god for the effect claimed, faith is needed in huge measures to act by praying to a god!
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #56 on: December 31, 2012, 12:25:44 PM »
I don't have faith in science.  That would be like saying I had faith that my heart wouldn't stop beating before I finish this post, or that I had faith that electrical conductivity would continue to operate, allowing my computer to run so I can finish typing said post.

The assumptions that science makes do not mean it's a faith-based system.  A person who doesn't "have faith" in science will not stop it from working for them.  And that....is the whole point.  What religious faith-based system can possibly claim as much?  Half as much?  One percent as much?

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Science is entirely based on faith
« Reply #57 on: December 31, 2012, 08:27:00 PM »
Why do theists try this shameful trick? Isnt it embarressing? I wish I had more to add, but all I could really do is shake my head. All the shit around me that works due to science and theists try to posit the idea that I'm using faith when I turn on my TV... its just a desperate ploy that will never work on anyone with a functioning brain.

Isn't it, just?

Theists read their bible, and their senses are telling them what's in the bible, so that's the science based level. Then they have to have faith that their interpretation of it is correct; so, that's two levels of faith.

Then Dominic says that their faith apparently "works", so it's not faith at all. Anything that works is science. However, Dominic then wants to say that science is faith based, so it's not science, but religion is actually science, ...

It really makes my head spin.

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