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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our gallant trojan horse visitor appears to be merely ruining your precious summer...

Somehow I am able to enjoy the both of you, and most others as well! I am also noticing how easily some of we of little faith get blown off topic. But not lost forever. And often gifted, even if conspicuously so.

Speaking of off topic, I spent $175 on gas last week riding my motorcycle add to that the cost of burning thru a rear tire every 2500 miles, my effort to find Nirvana in the twisties is sure adding up.

@uldis, I wish I were on your boat!   Stuck here dealing with grant applications.  Our National Science Foundation has been tied in knots by the budget battles, and is only now shaking things out it seems, with a rush before the end of the government fiscal year.   A sailboat would be delightful.

Folks, can we for a moment imagine someone who lives happily and is predominantly good to those around him and manages to do so without a god (or the god). If the above were true at least in my case, then faith is irrelevant, insignificant, - a mere triviality.

I can certainly imagine folks like what you describe. I am blessed to know a good number. 

I don't think the second bit follows, however.  The people I knew, and I suspect you as well, all grew up in cultures that were largely religious, at least historically.  They were probably surrounded by religious language, watching movies and reading books from The Matrix to Harry Potter with predominantly religiously derived themes, in nations where not just the laws themselves but the system of laws have religious roots.

It's a bit like growing up on a boat being sailed by others across the ocean, arriving at a certain spot, jumping off the boat and saying "look at this nice swimming hole, boats are trivial!".  You're right.  For you, in that spot, right then, boats are trivial. 

To go further, to have a spot to rest when it gets dark, for sustenance and shelter when you're done swimming, though, perhaps a boat is still useful.

RE: "They were probably surrounded by religious language, watching movies and reading books from The Matrix to Harry Potter with predominantly religiously derived themes" - not untrue.

Fortunately for us, movies like "The Ten Commandments," "The Robe" and, "The Greatest Story Ever Told," evolved into, as you say, the "Matrix" and "Harry Potter" series. Also fortunately, we evolved as well, from believing that Noah sailed the ocean blue in BC three thousand and forty two, to the warm, charming and affable folks you find before you today.

Ta daaaa --!

I think it's more spin-offs.  We've had spin-offs forever.  Shakespeare, Dante, Milton, Tolkein, etc.  J.K. Rowling is just one of the more recent and more fun.

I'll agree, though, that we humans are slowly learning over the centuries.  Or at least I hope we we are.   Besides, who wants to sail around on a boat with a bunch of pairs of odd, stinky animals?

RE: "who wants to sail around on a boat with a bunch of pairs of odd, stinky animals?" - I suppose that depends on how long they can tread water.

All this establishes is that religion is a sufficient but not necessary for the development of science.

I think it's the other way around, @terrence.  Necessary, but not sufficient.  One has to believe in stable natural law before one goes to look for it.

Ironically, the Crusades may also have been necessary, or at least instrumental.  It seems that the introduction of Arabic ideas to Europe as a result of the Crusades certainly spurred things along, from the re-introduction of Aristotle to the conversion to Arabic numerals.

Claims?  That's a bit strong.  How about "speculations", though certainly I'm relying in part on some of the peer-reviewed literature from the historians.  Aristotle and Arabic numbering were introduced to Europe by the Crusades, and they did have major cultural impacts (including being somewhat instrumental in spurring the development of what would become modern universities). 

As to the development of Western science, there is a comparison group in other major (and in some ways socially/economically more advanced) cultures around the world, which had all of social and economic capital for longer periods of time.

I think it's the other way around, @terrence.  Necessary, but not sufficient.  One has to believe in stable natural law before one goes to look for it.

What a silly notion. Our forebears simply noticed causal relationships and in no way needed to believe in them first.

RE: "One has to believe in stable natural law before one goes to look for it." - I doubt that it will come as an earth-shattering surprise Bob, but I don't agree.

Imagine the first person to discover a natural law, let's use something easy like gravity for example. He has no belief, but he observes that everytime he drops something, it always falls down. He tests it, by throwing rocks in all different directions, but none ever fall up, or sideways, or in any direction other than down. THEN, based on his observations and experiments, he comes to believe that there is a law that governs this behavior. Or it's magic - he has that option.

Again, I think you underestimate the importance of paradigm, @arch. 

The most likely thing is that the person sees such things happen and assumes that's just the way things are.   It's not something to think about.  Doing tests, conducting experiments, logging observations, developing theories are not something humans ever consider until after they have come to believe in Natural Law.  There is no reason to even think in those terms until then.

I simply can't agree with that, and you've given me no reason to do so.

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