Is your trust in science based on faith or based on science?

What I mean is this: how much do you actually know about the science most atheists parrot? Most atheists know as little science as most Christians know as little theology. Just as a Christian trusts his priest to tell him what he believes, an atheist trusts scientists with a Ph.D. tacked to their name to tell them what they believe. But how many times have the scientists turned out to be wrong? I only ask this because it seems this is central to the problem that most atheists have. They are repulsed by the phrase “believe” – they are addicted instead to the phrase “know”. But honestly, do you really know, or are you just believing what you’re told? I would like to remind you that in the 1970′s the scientists of the day were seriously concerned that we were about to enter an ice age, and less than 30 years later they are now convinced Earth is about to turn into a desert.

Unless you’ve observed something yourself, or observed and interpreted the evidence yourself and drew your own conclusions, you are just as guilty as faith as any religious person.

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RE: "dogmas really aren't too much different from foundational assumptions in any field of thought" - with all due respect, Bob, I've yet to find a religion that corrects itself when new information is known. Science, on the other hand, does exactly that.

I think you're putting too much faith in science.  It's done by us mere humans the same as any other human endeavor. 

In my religion for 2000 years we've corrected lots of errors, brought in new ideas and methodologies, rejected bad notions that had garnered a lot of followers for a period of time.  I think the process is probably slower than with science, because data comes in more slowly, and we're more like population ecologists or social scientists.  We have to get data from the field with a lot of confounding variables and complexity.  Physical science is much easier, because data can be gathered quickly and from laboratory settings where effects can be isolated.  I confess I like it for that reason.  I just wouldn't necessarily privilege it over other reasoned human quests for understanding.

I must admit your guys did jump right on that Galileo thing, and cleared it up in only 400 years! Heck of a job, Brownie!

Science got a really late start, compared to religion, and it's already faster on the track of progress. And it's still getting faster, and faster.

I can foresee a time when science is leaping ahead so fast that only a few humans can harness it, and a few of them will harness it abusively. Faith can become evil in many ways.

Bob - RE: "Propose a perpetual motion device or a theory of intelligent design and you've wandered too far from the foundational assumptions." - I'm not sure I'd sell the idea (or the stock) short just yet:


In February 2012, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek decided to go public with a strange and, he worried, somewhat embarrassing idea. Impossible as it seemed, Wilczek had developed an apparent proof of “time crystals” — physical structures that move in a repeating pattern, like minute hands rounding clocks, without expending energy or ever winding down. Unlike clocks or any other known objects, time crystals derive their movement not from stored energy but from a break in the symmetry of time, enabling a special form of perpetual motion.

“Most research in physics is continuations of things that have gone before,” said Wilczek, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This, he said, was “kind of outside the box.”

Wilczek’s idea met with a muted response from physicists. Here was a brilliant professor known for developing exotic theories that later entered the mainstream, including the existence of particles called axions and anyons, and discovering a property of nuclear forces known as asymptotic freedom (for which he shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 2004). But perpetual motion, deemed impossible by the fundamental laws of physics, was hard to swallow. Did the work constitute a major breakthrough or faulty logic? Jakub Zakrzewski, a professor of physics and head of atomic optics at Jagiellonian University in Poland who wrote a perspective on the research that accompanied Wilczek’s publication, says: “I simply don’t know.”

Now, a technological advance has made it possible for physicists to test the idea. They plan to build a time crystal, not in the hope that this perpetuum mobile will generate an endless supply of energy (as inventors have striven in vain to do for more than a thousand years) but that it will yield a better theory of time itself.

Again, I think your argument is with religious fundamentalism, not with religion in general.  Fundamentalism makes up only a small fraction of religions, albeit a somewhat overly loud small fraction here in the U.S. and a few other nations.

It's true that my biggest beefs are with young earth creationism (which is necessarily anti-science), intelligent design (which is psuedo-science pushed as real science), eschatology and unquestioned belief that scripture is as infallible as God, and cults that brainwash and isolate their followers from the rest of the real world.

I would join you in all those beefs, @PopePaul.   I think they do an enormous disservice to young people and to religion, in addition to just being rubbish.

@Prof Robert;

ALL religion is a disservice to ALL of humanity.

Gregg, I've benefited from religious charity, and they didn't even push religion on us.

(Damn, come to think of it, it was run mostly by women.)

Maybe someday atheists will also be able to contribute something as visible, for the world to see.

Sometimes they do, Pope Paul.  They just don't do it in the name of Atheism.  I created a 'charity' that feeds 400 Fijian destitute families with a food hamper every Christmas.  Christians, Atheists, Hindus and Muslims all work for nothing to make up the food packages (flour, sugar, rice, potatoes, onions etc) and deliver them to families living in corrugated iron huts.  I and three like-minded friends contribute the funds.

Cool, Strega! (Hear that, guys?)


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