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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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.

It's very difficult for anyone to think outside the paradigms that they work in, so that's quite understandable.

What you have to explain is why the western concept of empirical science wasn't developed by any other culture (China?  India? Japan?), many of whom had more resources, more stability, and more human capital than middle-ages Europe.   If it is so self-evident, that is.

For several centuries, we even named major scientific theories "Laws".  Newton's Laws, etc.   That historical artifact we still maintain today as the term for any successful theory from the early age of science when people were looking for Natural Law.

More silliness. Assuming that "That's just how things are" basically IS understanding that there are natural laws. You are confusing the later development of scientific methods with the belief in natural law which amounts to little more than remembering the regularity holding between similar actions and results which came very early on. 

When I say "early on," I mean very early on. Long before man came along, creatures learned how the world worked, even though they didn't consciously conduct experiments, write down the results of their work, or even develop fancy theories to test. This is not the province of higher beings. Observe your dog or cat and you'll notice their intuitive knowledge of natural law and their ability to learn from experience totally without experiementation of theorizing.

The problem, @unseen, is that science IS theorizing.

Simply learning not to touch a hot stove is learning of a sort, but it's not science.  Coming up with a theory of heat which applies to new circumstances or predicts other outcomes is science.

Science IS theorizing? That's the long and short of it? So, there's no empirical aspect to science? No drawing of firm conclusions? Scientists just theorize? They don't actually DO anything?

Hmm... Did not know that. 

Bob seems to be skipping the whole 'testing' phase associated with the theorizing aspect. 

Not skipping any parts, just responding to the issue at hand.  Science isn't only testing.  One has to have a theory to test.  The two go hand in hand.  Theory without some form of observation is not science.  Observation without developing theories is also not science.


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