Is science a religion?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Yazata, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Me thinkum that he that "confuses/conflates" religion and science, speakum with forked tongue.
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I'm very much a fallibilist myself. I'd say that none of our beliefs is absolute in the sense that it's impossible for the belief to be wrong. Whatever the belief, I'm inclined to think that there's always some chance that it's mistaken. That chance of error might be exceedingly small in some cases, while others of our beliefs are more or less shots in the dark and very likely wrong. (Speculations, Hypotheses...) It all depends on how attached and wedded we are to the belief. Which at least ideally should depend on what kind of justification the beliefs have. (In real life our attachment to beliefs is often much more emotional and irrational than that.)

    So right out of the gate, we are going to have not only our beliefs about reality (however fallible we take them to be), we will also have beliefs about how beliefs should in principle be justified.

    I don't think that making a pragmatic move from what is to what works will succeed in banishing belief from science. We will still have beliefs about what sort of beliefs work. (Otherwise, where would that leave engineering?) We will still have to have some agreement about what "work" means in each instance, about what kind of practical/observational/experimental results represent the ideas working.

    We will still believe that when faced with determining the pressure/temperature/volume relationships in a steam boiler, that physics' familiar gas laws will be more useful than consulting the Bible or listening to the whispers of MR's spirits. (Even the vast majority of devout Christians will agree with that one.) So there are epistemological and metaphysical assumptions being baked into it.

    Paddoboy will still have his beliefs about the superiority of his "Scientific Method" and will still seemingly believe that whatever that method is, it's the model and paradigm for all successful cognition.

    And on and on...

    Pragmatism wasn't intended to banish the idea of belief. It was meant to replace what was perceived as a problematic conception of truth as correspondence between our knowable ideas/perceptions, and the unknowable world as it is in itself apart from our knowing it. It was based on a particular construal of 'observables' (perhaps derived from the neo-Kantianism popular in Germany at the time) as mental states, as ideas. So if we can only know our ideas and perceptions of the world, establishing that those ideas and percepts do in fact correspond to an unknowable world beyond themselves would seem to be impossible. It would require that we be able to step outside ourselves and take a "God's-eye view" of things.

    So pragmatism argued that truth isn't a correspondence between our ideas and extra-mental reality. It argued instead that truth is a matter of relationship among observables, such that when we observe this, we will subsequently observe that. If we observe ourselves heating what we take to be the fluid in the boiler, we will observe the pressure in the boiler increasing in a predictable way. All without having to say anything about what boilers and fluids are in themselves, separate from our observations of them.

    Of course our theoretical physicists are rarely satisfied with that kind of instrumentalism. They will happily spin out their theories of quantum fields or whatever it is, proclaiming their belief that reality is fundamentally quantum fields and their excitations. Or that space-time really does warp in the presence of mass. Even the physicists seem to believe that their ideas are about physical reality, not just about how they take physical reality to be.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020 at 4:42 PM
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  5. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Not really, what you're saying is...

    1) Science is an organized body of ideas held to be true
    2) Astrology is an organized body of ideas held to be true
    3) Science is Astrology

    Notice the "undistributed middle"? Your claim is invalid.

    That's not even required for your argument, because there was no mention of being suitably justified, which was not even necessary to show your claim was invalid in the first place.

    Yeah, I get that, like believing the Sun will rise tomorrow morning. Most tend to not use the word "believe" in such a way considering the belief the Sun will rise tomorrow changes to "understanding" the Sun will rise. That's what the "Process" of Science achieves, turning beliefs into understandings so that we may no longer invalidate our reasoning to conflate Science as a belief system.
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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

    Desperate to drag science down to the level of religion thinking it will boost religion up to the level of science

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