"You've just chosen a different religion, science"
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17-01-2013, 12:24 PM
RE: "You've just chosen a different religion, science"
(17-01-2013 12:01 PM)FICKLEish Wrote:  I think the point was that if science has been wrong before, then science can be wrong now. Therefore, if I believe in evolution or non-creationist explanations for the world then its because I've put 'faith' in science. 1,2,6 - science is a religion *giant eyeroll*


Science is about learning. It's always in progress. We have a ton to learn as yet. Discovering that older notions were wrong is wonderful, it's how we progress.

The texts and the gospel may be artifacts, but so are Brother Grimm's original illustrated fairytales.

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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17-01-2013, 12:29 PM
RE: "You've just chosen a different religion, science"
The difference:

Religion takes some stuff that was said thousands of years ago and accepts it without any proof. Then they don't question it, don't change it, ever. These "facts" remain the same for all time, regardless of whether they are right or wrong because religion doesn't care if they are right or wrong, it just assumes that they are all right because god said so.

Science does exactly the opposite. It looks at the world today, asks tons of questions and looks for answers to those questions. When science finds an answer, nobody just accepts that answer. They test it, research it, try to break it, try to prove it wrong, over and over and over. If they do prove it wrong, they discard that answer and look for a better one. If they never disprove that answer, they are willing to operate as if that answer is right but always knowing and accepting that any day that answer might be disproved and they'll all have to find a better answer.

This is why Science has been wrong before - anything can be wrong. Science can be wrong. Religion can be wrong. BOTH science and religion are filled with errors, but only science has the honesty to admit this fact and keep looking for better answers while religion ignores this fact and clings to it's dusty old (and often wrong) answers.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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17-01-2013, 12:38 PM
RE: "You've just chosen a different religion, science"
Faith based religions start with a conclusion, and believe it no matter what.

Science starts with fact based observations, and follows them wherever they lead.

Science is the opposite of a faith.
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17-01-2013, 12:44 PM
RE: "You've just chosen a different religion, science"
[Image: h945A3670]

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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17-01-2013, 01:08 PM
RE: "You've just chosen a different religion, science"
There is a valid point being made here (albeit in a pretty not-valid way), and it's important to acknowledge that. Science is not actually a religion. It's more of an epistemology. Like faith, it IS a way of approaching the unknown (or simply confusing) and seeking to acquire knowledge and understanding.

Can it "truly" prove anything? Of course not. That's not how science works. EVERY theory and conclusion is a candidate for reevaluation, if the right evidence comes to light. There are no sacred cows.

Does it require faith? Well... We can check, recheck, verify, reverify, question and confirm every damn thing in science. That's what makes it science. But that's not the issue. The point being made here is essentially that while we might see a tree in front of us, smell its sap, here its leaves rustling in the wind, and reach out to touch it, there is still a leap of faith required to believe that what we sense is in fact true. That what we sense has something, anything at all to do with the world is, indeed, a basic axiom of science. Without it, science cannot work. In that this axiom is adopted without evidence, it CAN be called a leap of faith. (Of course, we can take the attitude that science is about studying and understanding what is coming to us through our senses, and that regardless of that reflecting the "true" world, whatever that might be, it is consistent and coherent enough to be worth studying in its own right. Or that if what we sense has no relation to the world around us, we can never find the truth anyway, so mistakes leave us no worse off.)

Of course, most of us wouldn't call it a leap of faith to say that the tree's there in front of us. But science extends this by a great deal. For example, blueshifting of stars, as calibrated against chemical lines in spectography, is taken as evidence that the universe is expanding. While this is very much a valid conclusion, it has nowhere near the intuitive punch of standing next to a tree, reaching out, and touching it.

So, there is SOME truth in what's being said here, and it's important to acknowledge that.

To go from there, to claiming that there is some sort of equivalence with religion is absolutely, utterly false. Some differences:

Faith accepts all its precepts as true, while the scientific ideal is to challenge all assumptions.

Science can admit error in its conclusions, and is constantly seeking to do so. Not so with faith. This is perceived as a weakness in science, but its actually its greatest strength.

The results of science DO boil down to things we can directly sense, while those of faith do not.

Science does NOT demand faith in the current theory of how the universe came to be. Don't believe it? You're welcome not to! In fact, you're ENCOURAGED to go out and gather any evidence you can in order to shoot the theory down! Faith is... less welcoming of disagreement.

In particular, science has no preassumptions, AT ALL, save for the one axiom mentioned. Science doesn't have a huge book of weird stuff to be accepted on faith, like the omnipotent being or the talking snake or the world flood. Everything, save arguably that one axiom, is accepted on evidence.

Science ADMITS it can be wrong. Science says that it is better to be a bit uncertain in your answer, but be more likely to be right, than to have complete confidence in your answer but be more likely to be wrong.

And finally? SCIENCE WORKS. Compare faith-healing with real medicine. Compare praying to ascend to the heavens with the Apollo program. Compare exorcisms of demons with psychological care for mental conditions. Compare praying for rain with seeding clouds. Compare birds' blood with antibiotics as a cure for leprosy. Over and over and over again, science proves more effective.

One of the things I LIKE in Christianity is that it says to judge a thing by its fruits. Christianity (at least when it isn't engaging in science, which it sometimes does) has terrible fruits. Sure, it gets some things right about how to treat each other (and some things wrong), but nothing that psychology, sociology, game theory, or even other religions can't conclude on their own, and nothing that MUST be taken on faith. And science, despite a few stumbles like eugenics, has pretty darn good fruits.

Warning Labels: Long-winded. Twisted sense of humor (including puns, literalisms, absurdisms, all complicated by sarcasm and deadpan delivery). Contrarian. Do not combine with high quantities of sugar, acid (corrosive or hallucinogenic), or people who take themselves too seriously.
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17-01-2013, 01:14 PM
RE: "You've just chosen a different religion, science"
(17-01-2013 12:44 PM)robotworld Wrote:  
[Image: h945A3670]

What a great visual aid in explaining how the scientific method works. It does skip the hypothesis step, but for those that probably need this, simpler is better.


Here's a diagram for creationism -


[Image: product-619.jpg]
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17-01-2013, 01:20 PM
RE: "You've just chosen a different religion, science"
(17-01-2013 11:51 AM)FICKLEish Wrote:  I've recently been told that since science can't truly prove anything and we frequently find new evidence to change our minds about previous scientific claims, that believing the scientific view of how the world began (etc) requires faith and is just another type of religion. I don't know what to say to that. It seems obvious in my mind that there is a distinction, but I'm not good at wording it in an argument. A little help please?

The facts never change, only our knowledge of them. And that is what science does, it is not a religion, but a method, whose unbiased eyes cut to the facts like a hot blade through butter, and allows us to update our understanding of the facts of the universe that surround us.

The supposedly sporadic nature of science is a boon to it upon itself; if one does not seek to update ones understanding of the facts, ones understanding is likely wrong. Religion on the other hand only updates when it is threatened, and still seeks actively to obfuscate the facts whilst it stagnates and falls behind.

A single action is worth more than the words it takes to describe it.
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17-01-2013, 01:29 PM
RE: "You've just chosen a different religion, science"
Reltzik: THANK YOU. Your answer really got to the heart of what I was trying to ask. The points you made really helped me work out the parts that were causing me confusion. In the argument that I initially posted about, we started going down a philosophical rabbit-hole which could only lead to "Do we really exist?" "Is anything true?" and that is what frustrated me. Thanks again, I'm going to paste your response somewhere so I can refer to it Smile
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17-01-2013, 01:31 PM
RE: "You've just chosen a different religion, science"
(17-01-2013 01:14 PM)Simon Moon Wrote:  
(17-01-2013 12:44 PM)robotworld Wrote:  
[Image: h945A3670]

What a great visual aid in explaining how the scientific method works. It does skip the hypothesis step, but for those that probably need this, simpler is better.


Here's a diagram for creationism -


[Image: product-619.jpg]
I was under the impression that the diagram for creationism looks something like this Big Grin
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Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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17-01-2013, 01:57 PM
RE: "You've just chosen a different religion, science"
(17-01-2013 11:51 AM)FICKLEish Wrote:  I've recently been told that since science can't truly prove anything and we frequently find new evidence to change our minds about previous scientific claims, that believing the scientific view of how the world began (etc) requires faith and is just another type of religion. I don't know what to say to that. It seems obvious in my mind that there is a distinction, but I'm not good at wording it in an argument. A little help please?
It's nothing but a distraction. It's not like biologists think Godzilla is a true story...

Leviticus does not justify stupidity, but it is more than enough to define corruption of the human mind.

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