Faith in Science [was The "Package Deal" & Religion Bashing]

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sun, 24 Oct 1999 19:43:23 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 24 Oct 1999, Clint O'Dell wrote:

> When you try something 1000 times and it "accidentally" produces the same
> result all 1000 times then it's not an "accident". No faith involved.
> You still haven't shown me where faith enters science.

Faith is involved if you "believe" it will produce a different result the 1001st time. :-) In science you trust your senses and rational thought. In religion you trust your beliefs.

In a sense, science involves a "faith" in the honesty of your senses, your ability to think rationally and trust other people to do so as well. If you cannot trust your senses or your own rational thinking (which to some degree has to do with the complexity of what you can grasp mentally) or other people, then science could not work. Science is less "real" (in a personal sense) than "religious faith" because you have to trust the process and trust the people involved in the process. With religion you only have to trust (have faith in) your own personal beliefs. If you get handed those beliefs early enough you don't have the ability to judge whether or not they are valid. Religion never says: "Trust but verify"

Its interesting to compare concepts of "sin" in religion (breaking God's "laws") with scientific misconduct. If you sin you only harm yourself. If you are guilty of scientific misconduct you have harmed the entire system in which scientists have "faith" because so much of it requires believing in the data, experiments and publications of the other scientists.