# Scientism is the religion of our times

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by m0rl0ck, Sep 29, 2002.

1. ### axonio98BannedBanned

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Science works m0rl0ch. Airplanes fly; computares can actually compute; vaccines can save lives; nuclear bombs explode; etc

Science has more than an advantage of majoraty of opinion. It has an advantage of facts.

3. ### XeviousTruth Beyond LogicRegistered Senior Member

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Science has always worked... or has it?

Based purely on Earth-based observations, either Copernicus's model OR Ptolomy's model of the solar system can be correct (as long as one included epicycles). Amazingly enough, many of Tyco Brahe and Kepler's calculations were based on Ptolomy's model, and in fact he found it to be mathmatically more accurate than the Copernican model. In fact, Copernicus retained epicycles in his original solay system model!

The Copernican model eventually won out with Galileo's observations, but it still took a VERY long time to convince everybody because there was good evidence that Ptolomy might still be correct. Even today, if you did not have the benefit of NASA's space probes, Ptolomy's model may still be in general use. Indeedly so, it is still the most accurate model of the solar system for naked-eye astronomy, which predicts the motion of the planets.

The point I am comming to is that incorrect answers might be more accurate to the available data than a correct one, depending on the situation... and unfortunetly, we may not always be able to confirm when we are right or wrong.

5. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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Consider reality to be a set of data, like a line from a complex function on a graph that moves randomly. You can contrive a simple function (say, a polynomial) to describe the graph. Even though your contrived function isn't the actual function that generated the graph, it can be made to fit very closely. Although it will never be perfect, it can be made 'infinitely close' to the real graph, so that if you want to know what the 'real' graph will say under specific circumstances you can consult your approximated function. It won't give you a perfect answer, but it will get you as close as you need to be.

In a way, this can be compared to what science does. We may never know exactly what 'reality' is, but we can develop models that approximate it. It's possible that there might be some 'ultimate' model that explains everything perfectly, or reality might be infinitely complex and impossible to model exactly. Either way, all we can do is continue to improve out models until we either find one that works perfectly or decide that we're close enough and give up. Even though our models might give good results all the time, they might be radically different from 'objective' reality. In that sense, it's possible that two different "conceptual scientist worlds," as Kuhn puts it, could be equally valid. It's important to remember that this does not mean that all world views are equal. Some conform to reality much better than others.

Last edited: Nov 10, 2002

7. ### Active8Spokesman for the obviousRegistered Senior Member

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I like supermodels.

8. ### axonio98BannedBanned

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This is why science is not religion. Religion is based in dogmas, science is based in facts. Sometimes the facts aren't accurate (a fact is not an absolute truth; see definition given by the national academy of sciences), but with time science corrects itself. This is why Science works.

9. ### Active8Spokesman for the obviousRegistered Senior Member

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Science explains the universe through physical observation.
Spiritualism explains the universe through intuition.
Neither observation nor intuition explain the universe completely on their own.

10. ### XeviousTruth Beyond LogicRegistered Senior Member

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"This is why science is not religion. Religion is based in dogmas, science is based in facts. Sometimes the facts aren't accurate (a fact is not an absolute truth; see definition given by the national academy of sciences), but with time science corrects itself. This is why Science works."

Scientists have changed that defintion of the word "Fact" to correlate with it's own philosophies. This is one example of a number of core philosophies and premices which function very much in the same way a religion does. It does not matter if you profess Science to be self-correcting or not, that is not the point. Science is based on a philosophical system, and in that way shares commonalities with Religion. IF those core philosophies become your world-views, then the philosophy of Science is functioning within your life as a religion does. It does not matter what the philosophy is.

That was my point. "Ultimate Truth" seems to be a goal of Science - that is by definition a religious dogma.

Last edited: Nov 12, 2002
11. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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You seem to be asserting that science and religion are the same thing because they can serve the same function. I don't think that this is the case. While they can both serve the same function (providing a context for understanding the world around us) they are not the same. I agree that science and religion are both based on faith, but they are still very different things. Science is based on faith that objective universal truth exists and that reality is governed by deterministic physical laws. Religion is based on faith in supernatural deities. It's not the same thing.

12. ### axonio98BannedBanned

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Science needs faith but goes beyond that. Scientists test their faith in theories constantly. And if facts contradicts scientists faith he has no problem in Stop believing in the wrong idea. This never happens in religion.

13. ### XeviousTruth Beyond LogicRegistered Senior Member

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"You seem to be asserting that science and religion are the same thing because they can serve the same function. I don't think that this is the case."

I think this IS the case. What is the difference between the world-views of Buddists and Christianity? How do you compare the two? How do you compare the Celts to the Jews? How do you compare Shintoism to Christianity for that matter? Religions can be as differnt as apples and oranges JUST as much as science and religion can be as differnt as apples and oranges. My argument has nothing to do with wether or not a deity exists. It has to do with wether or not science functions like a religion. I think it does:

PHILOSOPHIES & MENTAL MOLDING
It requires certain premices assumptions be made to be true. The idea that everything in the past is the process of natural processes is unproveable, because the past is not directly observable, unless a witness or multiple witnesses existed who left a written record. The Scientific method is key - in order to be a scientist, you must learn to think useing the scientific method. In turn, in order to be a Christian, you must accept the definition of what is "Sin".

PRIESTHOOD
It requires that any new dogma be approved by higher powers. "Peer Review Journals" are the key to approval. Those who are the editors of these said journals have total power over what is published and thus, real power over what theories are considered scientific or not. It does not matter if you publish a book or not which is peer reviewed and recieved well. You were not published in a magazine like "Nature" or "Science News" or the "Royal Society". Therefore, your work is not "Peer Reviewed". Those who edit these magazines function like a priesthood - deciding what is doctrine or not, based on their own interpritations of science. There is also strong power held by those who are science educators. Those who teach Science in classrooms are teaching students the worldview of science in an enviornment intended to shape the thought patterns of the individuals it is teaching. If we call it "Sunday School" we call it religious indoctrination. If we call it "Science Class" we call it education.

WORSHIP
There are those who say that the lack of a "worship" of nature by scientists or it's believers is the final proof that science is not religion. However, what are the standards for worship? If one says that worship is defined by time spent in a temple praising the diety then you are out of luck. The real measure of worship as far as religion goes, is wether or not you try to live your life by the measure of your religion. This is of course, something scientists do.

"Science needs faith but goes beyond that. Scientists test their faith in theories constantly. And if facts contradicts scientists faith he has no problem in Stop believing in the wrong idea."

This is also false for a major reason - scientists are human beings. It does not matter how enlightened one claims to be! Ego and pride are always at play. There have been many theories in science which were nearly stonewalled by the ego's of other scientists. One example is the spectacle between John Ostrum and Chatargee, the discoverer of "ProtoAvis". Ostrum worked nearly 30 years on the Dinosaur-Bird Hypothesis, and ProtoAvis would be a major wedge in that theory. The chatch is that a dinosaur-bird connection APPEALS so much as fossil Bird Expert Larry Martin stated, "As far as the general public is concerned, if I go home and see a cage with a parakeet in it, it's a lot more fun to think that it could be a small Tyranosaurus." Beauty appeals in science. So does the notion of changing the world. How do we reguard people like Galileo, Aristotole, Plato, Darwin, and Einstein? They all changed the world with their theories. The idea of being the next scientist who does this plays on the emotions of ANYONE who is involved in science.

14. ### fadingCaptainare you a robot?Valued Senior Member

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First you have to agree on what religion is which is no small task. (If you which to make 'religion' more ambiguous to the point of no meaning, your argument is worthless.)

Religion is the attempt to represent beliefs in the spiritual or supernatural realm.

Scientism is the refutation of belief in the spirtual or supernatural realm.

Therefore, scientism is in fact the opposite of religion.

15. ### axonio98BannedBanned

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Come on. Take a good look to your arguments. Just because scientists are human beings they can't be honest with themselfs?
They are trained for that you know, and severely judged by the scientific community if they're not honest.
I'm involved in Science and my main concern is doing an honest job. If i wanted fame and glory i would probably be an actor. I don't care about those things. Most of the scientists don't care about those things.
What you are using is the "ad hominem" fallacy. You attack the integrity of the person instead of the arguments. Are you a politicion?

16. ### ClockwoodYou Forgot PolandRegistered Senior Member

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All humans lie at least a couple times a day, though usually they are negligable. Any deviation from cold, pure facts is a form of lying. This includes exaduration, denial, misperception, bias, and the like.

17. ### axonio98BannedBanned

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That's why scientists have a safety net called Scientific Method, and the the severe attention of colleagues. Mistakes happend, but they don't last long.

18. ### Active8Spokesman for the obviousRegistered Senior Member

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Use your mind not someone else's.

You have my gratitude and ears. Science is biased. So is religion. But that doesn't stop me from hearing both sides. Let me ask you a question. If you picked up a freshly fallen leaf from the ground and began observing it for a long time...you have found a piece of god in a way, right? If you pick up a holy book and read for a long time, you have found a piece of god right???
So I say stop putting labels on the essence of life. Stop trying to find a way out of the circles of life. For life only tells you a story when you really want to hear it. Science tells you a story. Religion tells you a story. When you put down your science book or your Bible, realize that it's what you're thinking afterwards that counts.

P.S. I found god in a leaf not a book...but that was before I knew what a leaf was.

19. ### chrootCrackpot killerRegistered Senior Member

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This is incorrect. Ptolemy continued to add more and more epicycles to the model, yet it never quite agreed with observation.

- Warren

20. ### axonio98BannedBanned

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Re: Use your mind not someone else's.

I respect that. You see God in a fresh leaf, i see a fresh leaf. It's all good. I can't say nothing about a man personal experience and neither can science. What i want to show is that science and religion are different things. I know i've failed but i believe that this distinction is good for science and even better for religion. Imagine that one day we decide to aply the scientific method in all religious dogma. It would be a disaster for religion. But we don't need to do that because science and religion are different. Science is a quantitative description of reality and it's very efficient in this purpose, also offering technology for everyone use. Religion is, well, i realy don't know what it is but i know it's not science.
In the end it's all good

21. ### XeviousTruth Beyond LogicRegistered Senior Member

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I for the record am NOT attacking scientists outright by stating they can be biased. I am making a point WELL grounded in human nature and psycology that no matter what you may say, NO ONE, not me, not a politician, not a scientist, not a priest, not a layman will ever be free of.

Science is a human innovation. It will therefore include all the flaws, and all the benefits that human beings offer.

22. ### ClockwoodYou Forgot PolandRegistered Senior Member

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People should accept that they and others are flawed and just deal with it. People will only lie when it is in their percieved benifit to. Make sure it is not.

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Errare humanum est!