Re: RELIGION: The meaning of Life

Max More (
Wed, 12 Feb 1997 09:27:34 -0800

At 11:50 PM 2/11/97 -0600, Gregory Houston wrote:
>Hmmm. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it would be next to
>impossible to remove the topic of religion from any in depth discourse
>involving science. Would you grant me that subjects of faith are the
>property of religion? ... And that every science is based on precepts
>which cannot be proven and thus must be accepted via faith alone? If so,
>is religion not the foundation of science?

I understand why you would say this, but whenever I hear this view it makes
me choke! Confusing the boundaries of religion and science only plays into
the hands of those who want to maintain their irrational approaches to

No, religion is definitely not the foundation of science, and faith has no
role in science. I do agree that, in a developmental sense, religion has
come before science. The progression: religion -- philosophy -- science
often is real. However, this does not make religion the *foundation* of
science. Certain concerns, such as the nature of the heavens, may start as
the province of religion since people have too little information and may
appeal to dogmas to decide what's up there. Once more systematic thinking
appears, philosophy may take over. Once philosophy has clarified the
problem and once more information is available (i.e. testable observations
become possible) the problem can enter the realm of science.

Yes, science at any point may involve suppositions or axioms or precepts
that are not proven. This is because nothing is *provable* in science, only
refutable. How is this different from faith? It differs in an extremely
important way: In a faith, the precepts may not be challenged. They are
fixed and absolute. In science (and in rationality in general), all
suppositions are open to challenge.

You might read Karl Popper or W.W. Bartley III on this, or a shorter
version: my EXTRO 1 essay "Pancritical Rationalism: An Extropic Metacontext
for Memetic Progress: which is on the web at:


Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute, Editor, Extropy,
(310) 398-0375