Re: religion bashing?

Max More (
Fri, 22 Oct 1999 01:56:41 -0700

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.

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 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...)