Is science a religion?

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

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Religion has a worship aspect to it so from that standpoint, science doesn’t seem to fit the category.

    Do scientists take certain things on faith? Maybe, but the scientific process of observation and experimentation, development of viable hypotheses, and the quest for understanding ideas seem to differ from religion in that it (religion) doesn’t have that same “process” if you will.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    There are not.
    Think a minute - Why are there are no "Kochists" ? When you have figured that out, simply note its application to Darwin and his theoretical contributions.
    Since that rarely happens and doesn't last long, science by that criterion has not become a religion.
     
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Telling lies knowingly is a breach of our site posting guidelines. Please don't do that again.
     
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  7. river

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    Why do you think this rarely happens ?
     
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    There's a lot of errors and presumptions in just this short passage.
    I think unpacking river's view of how science works is outside the scope of this thread.
     
  9. river

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    Highlighted

    I don't think so , at All .
     
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    That depends on what the words "science" and "evolution" mean and on what differentiates science from other sorts of belief systems.

    I'd say that 'biological evolution by natural selection' is an explanatory hypothesis. It's certainly consistent with a huge body of biological observation. It provides us with a story, a narrative, that seems to explain what we see. But it isn't as good as the "laws of physics" in generating testable predictions. So it might not fit all that well into some formulaic "scientific method" model.

    I wouldn't say that it's "shameless" at all. But I do think that some of its opponents along with some of its defenders are indeed shameless. That's almost always in rhetorical writing directed at persuading the lay public to believe as they do.

    What convinces you is up to you.

    A philosophical question arises there concerning what should convince people. That isn't really a scientific question in my opinion but more of an ethical one, a place where ethics and epistemology merge.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics_of_belief

    As for me, I'm pretty much convinced by 'biological evolution by natural selection'. I do have some questions derived from the philosophy of biology about it though.

    I think that biological evolution by natural selection is probably true, even if I can't really justify that "probably" in formal terms. It's more of an informal intuition.

    I can't say for certain that it's all that's happening in the history of life, though as a matter of practice I tend to think as if it is. Apart from the big metaphysical questions about the origin of everything, I see no real reason to think that anything that isn't naturalistic is involved. And biological evolution by natural selection is the best naturalistic account that we have.

    And I can't really say that I know that it's true. It's more that I assume that it's true, as my working assumption when I conceptualize biology.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    OK, let's look at what your view of science is:

    It sounds like you think science is a secret society who is answerable to you to teach you science.

    "Science becomes a religion" - science puts forth models that are meant to be challenged. Opposite of a Religion.

    "only one Theory is Presented" - science is not an entity. Individuals put forth their theories. It's not "science's" responsibility to ensure all theories are "presented" to you. Take some initiative.

    "to the Public ." - Again. Scientists are the public. It's not like scientists live in a science arcology, separate from the rest of the human race.

    "New Thinking is suppressed." How? By whom? The secret cabal of science?

    "Questions ignored." No one is responsible for answering questions you have.


    This is an excellent example of the same problem you are encountering here on this forum. You expect us to present and explain every nuance of every discussion to you at a level where you can understand it. You take no responsibility for bringing yourself up-to-speed on relevant issues. Even when given references that directly answer your simplest questions, you won't bother to follow them to inform yourself.

    Your view of science as some opaque secret society is your own wilful doing.

    You blame others for not doing what you ought to be doing for yourself. Getting educated and informed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
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  12. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I would go further and say river is actually anti science, or more correctly anti mainstream. It seems to me river automatically looks for an answer outside of mainstream., despite the fact that any mainstream acceptance, was more then likely at one time, outside the mainstream box, and as can be shown, became mainstream because of the continued matching of observational and experimental evidence, along with aligning with predictions.
    river from my experience, automatically heads for the more obscure hypothetical...why? havn't quite figured it out as yet.
    I could quote many examples of that which no doubt we are all aware of.

    river, as one bright individual put it, distrusts and dismisses science, and lovingly accepts woo.
     
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Because it is far easier (i.e. requires less knowledge) to destroy idea than it does to develop an idea.

    To develop something you need an understanding of what you're building and what your tools are (physical and mathematical).
    To tear down something you don't. All you need is a wrecking bar. It's the bastion of the ignorant.

    Those who can, do. Those who can't, criticize those who can.
     
  14. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Science IS NOT based on belief

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  15. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    That's just it...science isn't simply a belief system. It is based on the scientific methodology, and the weight of observational and experimental evidence.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I read there is that, yes begrudgingly the evidence is there for biological by natural selection, [darn it!] but I still want to leave the door open for some form of ID.
    Then you go on about shameless "defenders"...what shameless defenders? Me for instance? OK accepted. What about Richard Dawkins? Surely you cannot call him a shameless defender, when all he is doing is promoting the fact that Darwinian evolution is part and parcel of evolution as a whole, as factual?
    Descent with modification and survival of the fittest seem rather observationally validated from my own inexperienced and non professional position, and yes, you could then accuse me of some faith based belief.
    My IQ [many years ago] stands at the higher limit of average, and I see accordingly that "faith based belief ", imo is overwhelmingly supported by the preponderance of evidence and logic.

    The majority of people are average, obviously, and many of those have an in built fear of the finality of death, as indicated by science. That fear is strong, and this, along with religious teachings that promote an eternal life after death, helps them maintain that warm, fuzzy inner glow of warmth. That's OK...I do not personally go out to destroy that, unless that individual, decides to mount a white charger with sword in hand and start some silly crusade against science.
    When that happens they get what they deserve. I don't force my way into a church and tell the congregation, that they are being led up the garden path by the nose!
    OK, to me anyway, it appears you still have some nagging doubts. sadly I'm not educated in this field enough to convince you one way or the other.
    Personally, I was raised as a Catholic and was also an Altar Boy. I have nothing but respect for them generally speaking, and in my time at school and as an Altar Boy, never once, even remotely, was confronted with any type of sexual harassment, and neither were any of my old school friends of which 9 still remain in our regular get togethers for a piss up. That despite the many revelations of school children being abused by religious teachers. Mine were the Christian Brothers.
    I also have a Parish Catholic priest still as a personal friend and acquaintance, despite our obvious differences, just as I have many friends of all different colours and persuasions.
    We often discuss science together.
     
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    So nobody believes that the scientific ideas that one encounters in textbooks and in science classes are true? Nobody believes that the account of the natural world that science provides is the best possible? Nobody believes that scientific methodology (whatever that is) is somehow superior and privileged? Nobody believes that it's somehow good to base both personal worldviews and human social life in general on the ideas of science?

    It seems to me that Sciforums participants typically have lots of beliefs about science, its detailed contents and its relative position in human cognition. Not just Sciforums participants but scientists themselves who obviously have all kinds of beliefs about whatever it is that they are doing.

    Everyone has beliefs about science and (for those trained in science) about its detailed contents, highly regimented beliefs controlled by judgments of true and false, correct and incorrect and all that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020
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  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Science is nothing if not a systematic body of ideas which are believed to be true. So that in itself would seem to make it a belief system.

    The truth of scientific propositions and the suitability of scientific procedures is justified by belief in the existence of "scientific methodology" (singular or plural). Apparently based on some poorly formed ideas about evidence having some sort of bearing on the truth of conclusions and that whatever "methodology" it is that connects them is in fact truth-functional. Put another way, there's a whole lot of logic implicit in what's being asserted about science that is never fully revealed, explained and justified and seemingly is just being taken on faith. Once again, a belief system.
     
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  19. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    That's the fallacy of "undistributed middle"
     
  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    How so?

    I'm basically arguing that

    All organized bodies of ideas held to be true are belief systems (by definition)

    Science is an organized body of ideas held to be true (observed to be so)

    Hence Science is a belief system

    Seems perfectly valid to me.

    All men are mortal

    Socrates is a man

    Hence Socrates is mortal.

    The second part of what you quoted addressed the possible objection that "belief" is being used to mean ideas that are held to be true but aren't suitably justified. My observation about the rather opaque logic of science was meant to suggest that science continues to qualify as a belief system (an organized system of in this case poorly justified beliefs) even if we give the word 'belief' this stronger definition. I think that this stronger definition is an incorrect understanding of the word 'belief', but I want to show that adopting it doesn't really impact my argument.

    And after all, the objections to my observation that science is a belief system (a rather innocuous comment) are seemingly motivated by understanding the word 'belief' in this stronger way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020
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  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    No. Not 'believed to be true'.

    'Have a working model for until such time as the working model is either shown to be wrong or supplanted with a better model.'

    We have a working model of how the curvature of spacetime manifests as gravity. It allows us to build GPS satellites with a high degree of precision.

    It does not require belief in it - no one doubts that it will eventually be subsumed by a more universal model.

    We use it because it works.
     
  22. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I said it is not "simply" a belief system, and your obtuseness has not changed that. It is based on evidence, both observational and experimental...Unlike religion, [which afterall is the point of this thread] it is not simply a system of beliefs based on convention, fear of the unknown, and ignorance. It is a system based that is based on the scientific methodology, and may change as our observational and experimental data improves. It also [scientific theories] gain in certainty over time, as it further matches predictions and aligns with data. The theory of evolution is one example that is now so certain, it is fact.
     
  23. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry

    Let me amend my post specifically for you

    Just for Yazata

    Science is not BASED on belief

    Hope that helps

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