Wednesday, March 5, 2008

«Science vs. Faith»

I've seen this image before, and it holds a lot of truth:

Science vs. Faith flowchart.

click image to view full

The problem with faith, it has to be rigid. The bible is the "word of God" and "God's word shall stand forever" [Isaiah 40:8], "God's word is perfect" [Psalm 19:7]. Someone with a religious faith can't admit their faith might be wrong about anything, because that would shake the foundations of their beliefs. How can it be the word of a perfect God if it's wrong?

Questioning one's faith is a scary endeavor. You might realize all that you thought you knew is wrong. Years of your life studying the bible and going to church wasted. It's much easier to just ignore the contradicting evidence. After all, ignorance is bliss.

Science doesn't have that luxury. If a theory has contradicting evidence, it has to be explained or the theory is thrown out. It doesn't matter if the theory was someone's life work; if it's found to be wrong it's wrong. You don't just ignore the contradictions and continue to teach the theory as if it's fact.

This brings me to philosophical contradictions. These philosophical arguments make too many assumptions. They try to compare two dis-similar things and assume they follow the same rules. An example would be an engine and a life form; an engine has a designer, so therefore the life form must as well. Or a mountain was created by volcanic activity (like Hawaii), therefore all mountains must have been as well (note: most major mountain ranges were created from tectonic plate movement, not built from volcanism). A philosophical contradiction is not evidence, because it is not a fact or even observed. It's based on and created with assumptions.

Now I'll sit and wait for the comments that say scientific experiments are also based on assumptions, and science is nothing more than philosophy itself. Well I've got news for you; the difference is, science is tried and tested. Philosophy is good for coming up with ideas, but they need to be tested before they become "evidence".


  1. Giggle! Obviously you have never worked in high tech R&D. This is the kindergarten view of science. It is a bit like saying that politicians' primary goal in life is to do good and serve the people.

  2. There is some truth in Looney's suggestion that we can have too rosy a vew of science - but it is also a misleading comment.

    The truth comes from the fact that day to day science can be quite a doog eat dog competetive affair and that there is clear unequivocal evidence that some scientists have even gone so far as to create fctitious results.

    This is to address science as a fallable endevour in its day to day workings.

    However Looney's comment is also only a half truth because it fails to recognise that the very nature of the scientific endevour means that such fictitious or erroneous results are invariably discovered, not least by the failiure of others to replicate experimental results.

    There are numerous exapmles of this.

    Lonney would have us believe, by leaving a doubt hanging in the air about the veracity of the scientific endevour, that somehow we should douby not only the theory of Evolution but also the observed facts of Evolution.

    But two hundred years of trying to overturn the evidence has failed to substantially dent either the evidence or the core theory.

    Our decendents will look back in another hundred years read what we have all written and wonder at the foolishness of the creationists and ID'ers and their backward thinking. Unless we are living in a Theocracy by that point of course !

  3. The recent events involving Airborne would be a good example, I suppose.

    That was a corrupt study trying to prove the product did something. Although two guys as the only test subjects isn't exactly a "study". However, when the results were not duplicated by others, their product came into question by others and it was found the ingredients don't do anything. The truth did surface.

    As the news report I linked to above says: "Lots of people swear by it, but probably they're getting a placebo effect from it," said Dr. Kim Mulvihill, a physician. "There's nothing in this, none of the ingredients or all of them used together have ever been shown to prevent colds or to shorten the duration of colds."

    Hmm... A lot of people swear by it and yet there's nothing about it that helps people other than a placebo effect. What else is like that? Oh! I know... Prayer.

    So why hasn't there been multiple intensive studies by independent groups that came back and found prayer to be nothing more than a placebo? Well, there has been, and they all came back with the same result; Prayer does nothing. In some instances there wasn't even a placebo effect. This is the type of thing the religious folk simply ignore, or come up with poor excuses for.


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