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The Idea that Scientists Aren’t Influenced By Faith

This is a common discussion I find myself in whenever I meet a radical science proponent who believes faith has nothing to do with science. I just had this dialogue via IM, so I thought I’d share with you as an example.

DD: tell me how you know they’re (scientists) telling the truth. and you won’t be able to.

Other: who, give me an instance.

DD: you can go back to Descartes and you’ll end up admitting you know nothing absolutely. you only live by varying levels of “being convinced” by signs, images, and ideas you choose to trust (have faith in). you don’t know that what you see is real. ultimately, you choose what to believe, and live your life around those choices of faith.

Other: i can show you that radiation cures cancer.

DD: you don’t know that what you feel is real. you don’t know that what you experience isn’t a dream. you live by faith. it is the only way to live. you only make choices by trusting other people whom you cannot prove. all you have to do is use a more powerful logical microscope, and EVERYTHING boils down to faith and doubt – what you choose to believe, and what you don’t.

Other: all i ask for is peer review and duplicatable experiments. that is not faith.

DD: that’s because you’ve taken everything that leads up to peer review by faith and not acknowledged it. it’s selective logic. it says, “i’ll analyze this portion, but NOT this portion”.

Other: duplicatable experiments are not faith. just as I can make an experiment for homeopathy like we discussed.

DD: you’re avoiding the inevitable. how do you know the duplicatable experiments have happened? how do you know they were precise? whose word are you believing? who are you trusting? if there are let’s say 50 levels of truth you can analyze and you only review the top 2, it’s all based on a system of thought you’ve yet to analyze. and therefore, you are taking it by faith. Other: when the scientific community tries the experiments out, and peer reviews are published, then I say, most likely correct. no faith involved.

DD: okay, that’s your faith. 100% faith involved. you have yet to respond to the molecular argument. how do you know anything? how do you know what is real?

Other: i’m not going to have a metaphysical debate with you.

DD: you can’t use the scientific method in a metaphysical debate because it hasn’t been formed yet. well, that’s your choice. but you’ve ultimately left yourself vulnerable to question. you will pick your battles to how they suit you best. that, to me, is unscientific.

Other: put it this way, If you say, hypothesis, “fire hot,” experiment “put hand in fire.” then a lot of other people put thier hands in fire and write a review that says “fire is hot,” I’m inclined to believe them, no faith involved

DD: except that’s an untrue statement. it is absolutely faith involved. you just don’t want to call it that. you believe them.

Other: ok, we will agree to disagree, I have to get some stuff done now

DD: faith and belief are interchangeable. all of which you use every single day to navigate through life.

* I’m not challenging the scientific method so much as I’m challenging the concept that science is independent and free of faith. Because if we are using a faithless science as our emotional support for rejecting God, then our motivations have made our assumptions suspect. When a person refuses to agree that all of their decisions are informed by faith, then you proceed to have a logical discussion.

I make the assertion that refusing to accept the word faith is not a scientific choice, but rather an emotional one. I would agree that the scientific method has some merit, but I will not deny the obvious faith involved in every moment of life, including every experiment.

And if a person is unwilling to examine their own motives long enough to discover that faith is indeed integral in the process of their beloved scientific method, then I challenge whether I can indeed “trust” their conclusions, since they’ve obviously refrained from other levels of rather obvious observation before drawing immensely important conclusions.

**FYI, I use Google AdSense on my site, and many of the ads automatically chosen do NOT reflect my personal beliefs or values.

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