Re: religion bashing?

Aaron Davidson (
Fri, 22 Oct 1999 14:47:12 -0600

>At 07:03 PM 10/21/99 -0600, Aaron wrote:
>>Science has faith at its foundations as well. Science puts faith in a few
>>fundamental assumptions -- universality, inductive proofs, etc...
>>The difference between a science and a religion is that science does
>>everything it can possibly do to minimize the amount of faith needed.
>>Religions are generally based on faith in excess.
>Aaron, while I agree with much of your comment, I have to take exception to
>this. Science does not (or need not) have *any* place for faith, if by
>faith we are talking about beliefs that are held in the absence of or
>contrary to the evidence--beliefs that are given an absolute foundation
>utterly resistant to the possibility of refutation.

Max, me having only taken an undergrad class in Philosophy of Science, and you being a professional philosopher, I am now cowering in the corner. You are probably correct in your reasoning, however allow me to timidly pose a question. Is there any way to escape a solipsistic view without some sort of faith in an external objective reality? I believe that this tiny little leap of faith is a rational choice, but it still remains a leap of faith.

>For my reasons for this view (not original to me), please see
> for my essay on Pancritical Rationalism (my talk
>from our first conference in 1994).

I'll have to read this later today. I downloaded my mail to my laptop and I'm currently stranded away from a net connection.

>I think this point is exceeding important. To grant that science is based
>on foundations of faith inevitably collapses the distinction between
>science/reason and irrational faith. That this view is common is probably
>the fault of a long philosphical tradition of rationalists and empiricists
>who sought indubitable grounds for belief. They just couldn't seem to live
>with the idea that maybe there aren't any. To me, the ability to question
>your deepest convictions is one of the core aspects of being extropian. (So
>go ahead and convince me that science is based on faith in the sense I've
>stated--maybe I'm wrong on this very fundamental point...)

Is this not saying that if there are no indubitable grounds for belief that at the heart of any belief system there must be some little nugget of faith in something without a true proof?

I believe that the sun will rise tomorrow because it has risen every day I have ever lived. I believe that because of scientific induction. But I cannot prove scientific induction -- the only way to prove induction is by an inductive arguemnt. Induction has always been right in the past, therefore it wil hold today. I have faith in induction due to the observed regularities of inductive arguemnts. I think this is a rational belief, but still unprovable and therefore taken on faith. No?


| Aaron Davidson <> |