Science is based on faith?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 NEXT
 

TAdamson:

This was in an episode titled 'Religion in Games'

And the quote was

"Now we at Extra Credits have deep faith in science, we will defend it fiercely and say without hesitation that it is greatest most ennobling properties mankind has. But we understand just that, faith. The only difference between science and religion is that science takes faith as a starting point whereas for religion its the central tenant."

This is a mush-headed pronouncement.

Simple example: Scientifically if I'm testing the idea that water doesn't ignite I don't simply have "faith" that it won't. I sceptically check this proposition by applying flame to it.

Continuing this simple example: I can then write a paper that offers the conclusion that water does not ignite. Other scientists sceptical of my conclusion try to replicate my result. If they can further papers supporting my conclusion are written. Further scientists accepting my result might then test the proposition that water can be used to dowse fires.

I fail to see how this is faith.

Again I don't think you completely understand what they meant by faith. The science progresses through skepticism and experimentation. Using your example: when you test to see if water ignites you have to make the assumption that what you're observing is actually correct. If I apply a flame to water whatever phenomena occurs I have to assume is actually occurring but I can never be absolutely certain that it is.

In essence the "faith" that is the starting point of science is that what I observe is actually occurring. Since all of logic and science is based upon out observations one could say science is therefore based on faith. I will admit it's rather abstract and really holds no practical use - most people make the assumption that what we see or what we think is actually occurring subconsciously and without this assumption no progress could be ever be made. But I still find no error in saying that science is based on faith - it might be a useless conclusion but not incorrect.

I don't think this hostility toward EC is warranted. I doubt their intent was to "covert" people into believing religion. I took it as an attempt to help create more of an understanding between those who are religious and those who are not. Atheists often complain that religious people are closed-minded when they themselves are just as closed minded. EC seemed directed toward those people of science in hopes of helping them understand religious people people better. I consider myself both a scientist and an atheist and I would fully support any attempt to lessen hostilities between those two groups.

gritch:

In essence the "faith" that is the starting point of science is that what I observe is actually occurring. Since all of logic and science is based upon out observations one could say science is therefore based on faith. I will admit it's rather abstract and really holds no practical use - most people make the assumption that what we see or what we think is actually occurring subconsciously and without this assumption no progress could be ever be made. But I still find no error in saying that science is based on faith - it might be a useless conclusion but not incorrect.

Yeah I'm still not on board. The rather tenuous idea that we must take what we observe on faith then you are playing semantic games to support a very shaky argument.

In their most recent episode they went further into the wilderness with this point by talking about Descartes "evil demon", a topic that might be interesting to first-year philosophy students but has absolutely zero utility.

I will also point out that we currently have scientist testing whether this universe is a simulation. This is scepticism taken as far as it can go and demonstrate how little "faith" scientists have in anything.

I don't think this hostility toward EC is warranted. I doubt their intent was to "covert" people into believing religion. I took it as an attempt to help create more of an understanding between those who are religious and those who are not. Atheists often complain that religious people are closed-minded when they themselves are just as closed minded. EC seemed directed toward those people of science in hopes of helping them understand religious people people better. I consider myself both a scientist and an atheist and I would fully support any attempt to lessen hostilities between those two groups.

It's not hostility. All it is is calling out some very poor surmisations from James Portnow. I don't give a damn about what they think about religion. What I object to is their fucking awful description of science. ie. Saying "faith is the starting point of science".

It is not. It never has been. It never will be. Science only occurs because people are so faithless, for want of a better word, that they have to check and recheck what they believe to be true. This is the opposite of faith and Portnow has contributed to the misunderstanding of science by his pronouncements. He didn't offer the idea up for discussion, he offered it a statement of truth and he deserves to be called on it.

JoJo:
True, we can never be 100% sure that any particular scientific theory is actually reality, but when it comes down to it that doesn't ultimately matter that much. As long as science can produce useful and testable models which we can use to benefit our lives, science will always give incredible benefits to our species. In the end does it really matter if the theories are true or not if they can make our televisions, space rockets and cancer medicine work?

Agreed.

However, as far as I'm aware, there are only two concepts in science that could be counted as unsubstantiated 'beliefs'...

the first being the underlying assumption that science has to make in order to function at all: that everything in the universe can be studied, and eventually, understood.

the second being that: we know enough that we know nothing. (even if you understand what that actually means, its still hard to actually prove that)

But that's the thing, science functions on ignorance. Or more accurately... scientists have to admit when they are wrong or ignorant of something in order for science to progress.

The two 'beliefs' I mentioned don't quite function as 'beliefs' as much as necessary assumptions... or basic premises from which the rest of science flows.

As for the rest of science... well...

To quote Tim Minchin:

"Science adjusts its views based on what's observed;
Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved;"

For context, here's a video of the poem those lines are from:

TAdamson:

It's not hostility. All it is is calling out some very poor surmisations from James Portnow. I don't give a damn about what they think about religion. What I object to is their fucking awful description of science. ie. Saying "faith is the starting point of science".

It is not. It never has been. It never will be. Science only occurs because people are so faithless, for want of a better word, that they have to check and recheck what they believe to be true. This is the opposite of faith and Portnow has contributed to the misunderstanding of science by his pronouncements. He didn't offer the idea up for discussion, he offered it a statement of truth and he deserves to be called on it.

You state that with a lot of conviction- you've got a lot of faith in that belief, don't ya?

Science starts with an assumption- to use the water/fire analogy, let's say I want to prove fire affects water. I go into this with an assumption- specifically, that fire appiled directly affects objects by catching them on fire. I'd conclude that fire doesn't affect water becuase it puts the flame out- and I'd be wrong, becuase I didn't account for indirect contact making water boil.

We also assumed the world was flat, that too much blood made people sick, and that planets orbit stars. All proven wrong.

Those assumptions are faith- the belief that what we have learned via science in the past is, in fact, true and applicable to what we are trying to learn now. Just becuase science asks, even encourages us, to question our faith in it doesn't mean we call our belief in things like gravity something else. What else would it be but faith?

I think it makes people mad becuase they're used to the word 'faith' being used in a 'this is how it is so don't ask questions' kind of way... but there's more to it that that. I have faith that specific bits of green colored paper have a lot of value becuase the government says so. Everyone shares that faith, so the currency system works. (Don't try to bring up gold value- I'm in the US and it's all fiat currency. There is no value aside from Uncle Sam's thumbs up.)

Faith isn't the blind belief that things are X or Y forever. It's an assumption that things work a certain way, and until proven otherwise, we continue to believe it. Just becuase you seek proof doesn't change what you believe.

TAdamson:

Yeah I'm still not on board. The rather tenuous idea that we must take what we observe on faith then you are playing semantic games to support a very shaky argument.

In their most recent episode they went further into the wilderness with this point by talking about Descartes "evil demon", a topic that might be interesting to first-year philosophy students but has absolutely zero utility.

I will also point out that we currently have scientist testing whether this universe is a simulation. This is scepticism taken as far as it can go and demonstrate how little "faith" scientists have in anything.

I can see how you might take this as a semantic but that's definitely not my intention. I don't actually know how else to explain it further. I don't think that skepticism and faith are such binary opposites as you would imply. I see skepticism as a method for comparing two different assumptions (or faiths if you will). Skepticism is still dependent on a set of assumption. I would agree that skepticism is very important - it is what allows us to logically choose which assumptions are the most correct but having skepticism doesn't eliminate the necessity of faith.

I'm afraid that was even more semantic than my last response but I suppose I'm having a difficult time properly conveying my thoughts. I will agree with you that the question really has no real utility, save perhaps as a mental exercise.

It's not hostility. All it is is calling out some very poor surmisations from James Portnow. I don't give a damn about what they think about religion. What I object to is their fucking awful description of science. ie. Saying "faith is the starting point of science".

It is not. It never has been. It never will be. Science only occurs because people are so faithless, for want of a better word, that they have to check and recheck what they believe to be true. This is the opposite of faith and Portnow has contributed to the misunderstanding of science by his pronouncements. He didn't offer the idea up for discussion, he offered it a statement of truth and he deserves to be called on it.

I don't really see any issue with the statement that "faith is the starting point of science". It might not be the most useful of conclusions but its intent is far from malicious. I don't think Mr. Portnow has contributed toward any misunderstanding of science. This EC has allowed people to look at science from a different angle. Whether or not you choose to believe is of little consequence. It's helped ask questions and spark debates that can only help to expand our own understanding of science. I consider that a good thing.

As for him offering it up as a statement, I'd have to chop that up to the format of EC. It's rather difficult to really have a discussion with a web show. It was simply EC explaining their opinion on a topic - basically we're only seeing one side of an discussion. It's intent was to spark debates between others on forums. And I must say they have definitely done that much.

gritch:

I can see how you might take this as a semantic but that's definitely not my intention. I don't actually know how else to explain it further. I don't think that skepticism and faith are such binary opposites as you would imply. I see skepticism as a method for comparing two different assumptions (or faiths if you will). Skepticism is still dependent on a set of assumption. I would agree that skepticism is very important - it is what allows us to logically choose which assumptions are the most correct but having skepticism doesn't eliminate the necessity of faith.

First "I see skepticism as a method for comparing two different assumptions". You're on shaky ground there already. Scepticism is not about comparisons, instead it is about questioning stated facts or propositions.

If we go with what I think is the best definition of faith:

"Faith is the acceptance of ideas without needing, without asking for, or without having evidence, and, sometimes despite evidence."

Then this IS the opposite of scepticism.

Now the best that you and EC can come up with to support the idea that science requires faith is the notion that scientists have to accept the idea that reality truly exists. This sort of nonsense is fine for first year philosophy students but as I said before it's utility is nil, clearly this is an argument that Portnow has dredged up to shore up what was a very poorly thought out video essay.

And we don't even have to take this on faith. We can make what is called an assumption and make no value judgement about what we believe whatsoever. We can assume this reality exists and let all results flow from that. And if the opposite possibility were true, would it really matter? If we're in the matrix which has rules and laws that we can observe and have no way out why does this matter? As I said, passingly interesting to somebody being introduced to the history of philosphy, but otherwise? Really?

I'll also point out that we have scientists actually running an experiment that they think will show a positive result if we are in the Matrix. A piece of whimsy on the part of physicists at the University of Bonn perhaps but still: THAT'S SCEPTICISM.

When I, someone who will gladly accept theories of science to be broken over time as new discoveries and explorations prove old theories wrong, have the same faith as someone who unquestioningly, immovably believes in something which is never subject to new discoveries and explorations...

...yeah. No fucking shit I'm gonna get defensive.

Grenge Di Origin:
When I, someone who will gladly accept theories of science to be broken over time as new discoveries and explorations prove old theories wrong, have the same faith as someone who believes in something which is never subject to new discoveries and explorations...

...yeah. No fucking shit I'm gonna get defensive.

Whose saying you do?

kenu12345:

Grenge Di Origin:
When I, someone who will gladly accept theories of science to be broken over time as new discoveries and explorations prove old theories wrong, have the same faith as someone who believes in something which is never subject to new discoveries and explorations...

...yeah. No fucking shit I'm gonna get defensive.

Whose saying you do?

Did you watch the EC episode, or do you literally have nothing to say here other than calling people out?

If your theory of the universe can't explain science AND faith then your theory is incomplete. You can't discount either as just "wrong" without understanding it completely.

If you believe in religion but discount science then you should re-evaluate your relationship with your religion.

If you believe science is all that matters and totally discount faith then your theory is incomplete and missing something.

Any system of belief that fails to understand another system of belief is incomplete.

I think the problem here is that the words "belief" and "faith" are treated as the same thing.

Faith is belief without evidence, you can believe in something that has evidence for it but that isn't faith. Let's not forget that a major excuse given for God not revealing him/her/itself to the world is because giving concrete evidence would interfere with the concept of faith.

The only reason the current scientific literature would believe something is if the evidence points towards it. That by definition flies in the face of faith.

floppylobster:
If your theory of the universe can't explain science AND faith then your theory is incomplete. You can't discount either as just "wrong" without understanding it completely.

If you believe in religion but discount science then you should re-evaluate your relationship with your religion.

If you believe science is all that matters and totally discount faith then your theory is incomplete and missing something.

Any system of belief that fails to understand another system of belief is incomplete.

What exactly is missing from a scientific worldview that faith can provide?

What makes you think science can't explain faith? Faith is belief without evidence, and it happens largely because people can't handle the idea of not knowing how something works, and either make up an explanation that suits them or follow someone else's idea.

Yes, the current model is incomplete. There will probably always be knowledge gaps in scientific theory, but that doesn't mean we should start filling it with mythology or you just end up with a "God of the gaps" situation where the divine becomes increasingly hard to justify as the gaps are filled in with pragmatic knowledge that doesn't require it.

Eddie the head:
How do you define faith? I always defined it as "belief that is not based on proof." Under that definition no, no it's not. But if you define it as "confidence or trust in a person or thing" yeah I guess. In any case I think it was a poor choice of words due mostly to the fact that it has heavy religious connotation to it.

It's like if call "Through the worm hole with Morgan Freeman" propaganda for science. It's not incorrect, but propaganda has such a heavy negative connotation behind it that it doesn't get the point across well. So in the end a poor choice of words, but technically correct.

Most people do.

Basically EC decided to use an outdated definition of the word the effectively strip it of any meaning in hopes to sound edgy or educated.

That's the only reason they've gotten shit on by people, they ran into a room saying "Hey everyone I feel gay today!" and then wondering why nobody thought they meant happy.

Heck there are 8 pages of comments after yours almost entirely because one (or more) words are being used poorly.

Basically any argument that falls on the side of "Science is faith based also" is nihilistic. Because at a certain point if you won't just accept certain things as true (such as you existing) there is no point. No point to talking or debating, its a boring belief structure and it leads to nothing.

Which I suppose is the point of nihilism.

gritch:
If I apply a flame to water whatever phenomena occurs I have to assume is actually occurring but I can never be absolutely certain that it is.

Nihilism.

Assuming you mean you can't be certain what is happening is actually happening.

Now if you are assuming the mechanisms behind the reaction might be different from what you assume they are, then cool, I agree.

Otherwise boring nihilism and painfully pointless.

TAdamson:

First "I see skepticism as a method for comparing two different assumptions". You're on shaky ground there already. Scepticism is not about comparisons, instead it is about questioning stated facts or propositions.

If we go with what I think is the best definition of faith:

"Faith is the acceptance of ideas without needing, without asking for, or without having evidence, and, sometimes despite evidence."

Then this IS the opposite of scepticism.

Now the best that you and EC can come up with to support the idea that science requires faith is the notion that scientists have to accept the idea that reality truly exists. This sort of nonsense is fine for first year philosophy students but as I said before it's utility is nil, clearly this is an argument that Portnow has dredged up to shore up what was a very poorly thought out video essay.

And we don't even have to take this on faith. We can make what is called an assumption and make no value judgement about what we believe whatsoever. We can assume this reality exists and let all results flow from that. And if the opposite possibility were true, would it really matter? If we're in the matrix which has rules and laws that we can observe and have no way out why does this matter? As I said, passingly interesting to somebody being introduced to the history of philosphy, but otherwise? Really?

I'll also point out that we have scientists actually running an experiment that they think will show a positive result if we are in the Matrix. A piece of whimsy on the part of physicists at the University of Bonn perhaps but still: THAT'S SCEPTICISM.

And there lies the crux of our entire debate here. We're working with to entirely different definitions of faith and skepticism. I would definite faith as simply: an assumption one makes without proof. It needn't have such a negative connotation. One has to make the basic assumption that what they observe is actually reality and base subsequent logic from that. That is what is the faith behind which science has been constructed. Science and skepticism are methods with which we interpret our world from a set of observations which we have to assume are true - therefore science is based upon our faith in out observations. It doesn't matter if our original assumption was true or not or even if we acknowledge it, we still had to make it to get to this point. I... I just don't know how to explain this anymore. I feel like all I've done is repeat myself but... I'm unable to think of any other why of putting it here.

I don't really see the argument going anywhere. I think it'd be best to accept that we're just not going to agree on this one.

I do believe that Extra Credits are confusing "Faith," with "Hypothesis." Look up the dictionary definitions guys, as they are certainly NOT the same thing. A scientific hypothesis is grounded in reason, namely, as they point out, a certain chain of postulates. Now they say that you must have faith in the validity of these postulates in the first place, so science is an evolution of faith, Q.E.D. However, these postulates are mostly, (I say "mostly" to avoid the inevitable "Oh, so every postulate made by anyone ever has always turned out to be true? *sarcasm*," replies) grounded in Logic. Logic is defined as "reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity," so for example, Joe Average-Caveman might have caught a fish and noticed that it soon dies without water, so he then says: "Hmm, well it seems that fish die without water." This is a postulate constructed from a logical basis, in that he observed the fish die after prolonged exposure out of water. Now whether he is correct or not is irrelevant, (He is not, I mean not ALL fish die without water, like the Lungfish :), as the point is that he made an assertion grounded in reason. Faith is different. It is the formation of postulates without any empirical evidence to support it. So say Joe's good friend Gullible Average-Caveman came to him and said: "Hey Joe, you know Karl? The one from the other village over? Anyway he totally told me that he walked through fire unscathed! All he said to do was to hold your hands above your head and say 'Doo-Daa-Laa-Laa-Laa' as you walk and you'll be fine!" So Gullible walks into the fire and catches alight. You see the difference between the two examples is that Joe had some empirical evidence to construct his postulate, where as Gullible hadn't even seen Karl walk through fire but believed him anyway, even though he had no good reason to do so. For what ever reason, Gullible had chosen to trust in something something that was not grounded in logic and rationalism and paid the price for it. This is, in my opinion, to be the fundamental differentiation between Faith and a Hypothesis.

P.S, If someone has already said all this, I apologize, but this thread is far too huge to read every post.

gritch:
I would definite faith as simply: an assumption one makes without proof.

Which is fine except that means you are going to walk into every single discussion confusing your target audience because this is not how it is popularly used.

The words meaning has changed, there are better words to describe what you are talking about.

Perhaps like one you've already used "assumption", because I don't think you make assumptions when you have proof. When you have proof you make statements >.>.

Or even "hunches".

Faith, like many words, has been taken and now means (in common conversation) something new.

Welcome to Language.

LordLucan375:
I do believe that Extra Credits are confusing "Faith," with "Hypothesis."

You are correct and it was obnoxious and them doubling down on it just made it worse.

It's like when people on Reddit say that "Fag" means "annoying people" now and is totally cool.

No, just because you really want it to mean something new doesn't mean it will or even if you want it to mean something it used to mean doesn't mean it necessarily will.

Bugs me, Language is fun and beautiful and it would be nice if folks could just move along merrily with its changes.

Grunt_Man11:

Snip

You could miss the point more. The fact is faith as a word has a heavy inclination to mean "religious." No it's not what it's defined as but you are forgetting the connotation behind the word. Look at the Connotation, not just the definition.

theultimateend:
snip

Yeah basically ignoring what something means in favor of it's definition. Then screaming that "Technically I am right." Technically you might be right, but you are ignoring the feelings or ideas that that word invokes.

theultimateend:

gritch:
I would definite faith as simply: an assumption one makes without proof.

Which is fine except that means you are going to walk into every single discussion confusing your target audience because this is not how it is popularly used.

The words meaning has changed, there are better words to describe what you are talking about.

Perhaps like one you've already used "assumption", because I don't think you make assumptions when you have proof. When you have proof you make statements >.>.

Or even "hunches".

Faith, like many words, has been taken and now means (in common conversation) something new.

Welcome to Language.

That's always how I've thought the word faith meant. Having faith in someone means that you trust them and not necessarily having to have reasons for that trust. Whatever I give up. I say we all convert to binary.

I hate language so much...

It really depends on how you define faith.
However, it is true that science does require a vast amount of assumptions.
However, you can't really accurately say that you do/don't believe in science. It all comes down to whether or not you accept the evidence and/or see it as enough evidence to draw a conclusion from.

gritch:
I would definite faith as simply: an assumption one makes without proof.

Faith is not assumption. It is, in it's most basic definition, the complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
An extended definition would include the lack of evidence in the definition.

I do not have complete confidence that this reality is not the matrix or that my senses are real. Therefore I am not carrying out an act of faith. But I assume that it is real because that's the only sensible course of action. That's not to say that I think that this universe is the matrix is particularly likely.

Now you and EC claim (As a rather tedious caveat to support a really poor argument) that this assumption is the same as religious faith. This is somewhat ridiculous because If you asked a physicist whether this world is the Matrix he would say "I don't know, but I think it's unlikely" whereas if you ask the Pope about the the veracity Immaculate Conception he would say "Yes absolutely, this is our domga and it is true."

That's the difference.

gritch:
........

I've got to say that if assuming that this universe is real is an act of faith then the word "faith" has no meaning because suddenly everything is an act of faith.

Suddenly everytime I open a door I have faith that entropy hasn't done something enormously unlikely and sucked all the O2 into one corner of the room. When decide to move around suddenly I have faith that laws of gravity mechanics and friction still hold and I won't float of into space, or skid around on the floor unpredictably. Everytime I eat something I need faith that my stomach acids haven't turned into jello.

All of these make as much sense as the matrix assumption and that's the only way that you or EC have managed to tenuously link science with faith.

I agree that parts of science are based on faith. Science is overrated in her use of evidence. While normal everyday achievements are impossible to discredit, these have more to do with human ingenuity than "SCIENCE". In the realm of macroscience and cosmology, Einstein is the benchmark, but also the Achilles Heel of it all. Science has become almost religious and borders on metaphysics and spirituality. At the same time, science has become dogmatic, believing in fairy dust while pounding anyone who disagrees with it. The days of Newton are long gone. What we now have is quite silly. Year after year we have to push the Big Bang further back in time, because they keep finding older and older galaxies. The current Big Bang theory is absolutely dumb, dumber than the old "flat Earth". Anyone who has studied cosmology knows this to be true. Yet all of science's dodgy methods with unclear facts, results and ultimately fascinating (but wrong) conclusions are portrayed as scientific truths.

In case you're too bored to understand the above, at least consider the multiverse theory. Let it sink in... Then read a Bible and you'll encounter less bullshit per sentence than what we find in the last 20 years of physics. Also read about the experiments regarding the Fine Structure Constant (which is anything but) and ponder what a variable lightspeed "constant" would mean for our current image of an expanding universe. Burning bushes make more sense than it.

xPixelatedx:
I know mentioning Extra Credits here is somewhat taboo, but I am not so much interested in them as much as the can of worms they just inadvertently opened. In their recent two videos they pointed out that some of science's roots were grounded in belief, because we are dealing with things we cannot prove (however likely they may be). This started a discussion that caused a lot of people to become rather defensive and upset. They recently made their closing statement on the argument and I have to say I agree with them.
Science is still based on evidence, it just so happens the evidence we currently have for any given topic could be wrong, we might not be seeing the whole picture or the limitation of us being human is whats causing us to error (in other words we will never know the answer). Because of all that we have to take some degree of faith into it to make many of our theories work at all. I just think people are frightened at the idea that science might not be entierly infallible, even though it's usually not a big deal when our facts turn out to be wrong. After all, if we knew everything, we wouldn't learn anything.

What do you guys think?

I'm 99% sure you're not even close and are looking at it half-assed backwards. "Prove" is a mathematical term, so no scientific theory can ever be proved, and science isn't entirely infallible no scientist says it is. It's why scientific theories are constantly being altered and changed when more information if found, claims of being infallible is only done by Religions not science.

You're also taking faith out of context, you should of at least looked up both definition before making this thread because there are two. Having faith in a persons athletic ability for instance is completely different than the religious context of faith. It's as absurd as holding up a picture of a ball bat and than asking people how can bats fly.

karamazovnew:
I agree that parts of science are based on faith. Science is overrated in her use of evidence. While normal everyday achievements are impossible to discredit, these have more to do with human ingenuity than "SCIENCE". In the realm of macroscience and cosmology, Einstein is the benchmark, but also the Achilles Heel of it all. Science has become almost religious and borders on metaphysics and spirituality. At the same time, science has become dogmatic, believing in fairy dust while pounding anyone who disagrees with it. The days of Newton are long gone. What we now have is quite silly. Year after year we have to push the Big Bang further back in time, because they keep finding older and older galaxies. The current Big Bang theory is absolutely dumb, dumber than the old "flat Earth". Anyone who has studied cosmology knows this to be true. Yet all of science's dodgy methods with unclear facts, results and ultimately fascinating (but wrong) conclusions are portrayed as scientific truths.

In case you're too bored to understand the above, at least consider the multiverse theory. Let it sink in... Then read a Bible and you'll encounter less bullshit per sentence than what we find in the last 20 years of physics. Also read about the experiments regarding the Fine Structure Constant (which is anything but) and ponder what a variable lightspeed "constant" would mean for our current image of an expanding universe. Burning bushes make more sense than it.

I'm pretty sure 99% of all cosmologist would disagree with you, if not 100%. We also don't measure the age of the big bang by the distance of the farthest galaxy, we use microwave background radiation measurements, we use models like NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe to show this.

You obviously have no idea what you're talking about, than again you think we should believe in the bible instead which states that symbolically eating the flesh of a dead Jewish zombie will some how save our souls from inbreed evil, which we all inherited from the first women who was made from a rib, and ate from a magical knowledge giving tree that she was convinced to do by a talking snake.

Yep the bible and talkin snakes are much more believable than the evidence put forth for the Big Bang Theory............

karamazovnew:
I agree that parts of science are based on faith. Science is overrated in her use of evidence. While normal everyday achievements are impossible to discredit, these have more to do with human ingenuity than "SCIENCE". In the realm of macroscience and cosmology, Einstein is the benchmark, but also the Achilles Heel of it all. Science has become almost religious and borders on metaphysics and spirituality. At the same time, science has become dogmatic, believing in fairy dust while pounding anyone who disagrees with it. The days of Newton are long gone. What we now have is quite silly. Year after year we have to push the Big Bang further back in time, because they keep finding older and older galaxies. The current Big Bang theory is absolutely dumb, dumber than the old "flat Earth". Anyone who has studied cosmology knows this to be true. Yet all of science's dodgy methods with unclear facts, results and ultimately fascinating (but wrong) conclusions are portrayed as scientific truths.

In case you're too bored to understand the above, at least consider the multiverse theory. Let it sink in... Then read a Bible and you'll encounter less bullshit per sentence than what we find in the last 20 years of physics. Also read about the experiments regarding the Fine Structure Constant (which is anything but) and ponder what a variable lightspeed "constant" would mean for our current image of an expanding universe. Burning bushes make more sense than it.

Maybe you should actually read some science before commenting on it.

Science = Based on evidence. Most religious texts = Not based on evidence. How is this hard? Or are you actively discrediting the work of hundreds of thousands of the smartest people on earth because you don't like what they're saying?

SecretNegative:
Maybe you should actually read some science before commenting on it.

Obviously science needs more car chase scenes to appeal to the mass market.

RhombusHatesYou:

Obviously science needs more car chase scenes to appeal to the mass market.

Give the nobel price to Michael Bay, and we'd see more scientists than ever before.

SecretNegative:

RhombusHatesYou:

Obviously science needs more car chase scenes to appeal to the mass market.

Give the nobel price to Michael Bay, and we'd see more scientists than ever before.

Yes but what field would we give him a Nobel Prize in?

Grenge Di Origin:

kenu12345:

Grenge Di Origin:
When I, someone who will gladly accept theories of science to be broken over time as new discoveries and explorations prove old theories wrong, have the same faith as someone who believes in something which is never subject to new discoveries and explorations...

...yeah. No fucking shit I'm gonna get defensive.

Whose saying you do?

Did you watch the EC episode, or do you literally have nothing to say here other than calling people out?

I did and I said what I wanted to say about it. I'm just saying its weird to act like someone is saying you have the same faith as extremists when they aren't saying that at all

Katatori-kun:

Jonluw:
Short version: I recognize that in some circumstances, for example in sociological studies, defining religion by practice rather than faith might be useful, but I also mean that in ordinary conversation the term 'religion' is not used in accordance to the definition used in that part of academia;

I'm sorry, you are wrong.

You're trying to establish an academia vs. real world debate, and it's completely wrong. 'religion' is only used in a way that requires faith to be a component in a limited set of discourse you are familiar with because you come from a society where the world's main religion that is focused on faith has dominated the discourse. You're trying to force all the religions of human history to play by Christianity's rules, and it just doesn't work that way.

No. You're the one who's trying to force a huge part of the world's cultural practices into a term that originated in said christianity-dominated environment.

I personally would not call the actions of the Buddhist you mention religious for example.

At the risk of being overly blunt, I don't care what you'd call it.

And I couldn't care less what you'd call it. So long as you don't use your definition to shoot down arguments about religious faith by saying that religion doesn't necessarily require faith. Because that's just dumb.

It's religious. It's a practice. It doesn't involve faith. The shrine is religious, the priest is religious, the person making the prayer believes they are engaging in a religious act, it's religious.

What category the person performing the action believes the action falls under means jack all to me categorizing his actions by the categories used here in the west. See my fruit and vegetable example.

You don't get to re-define every other religion in the world just to fit neatly and tidily in the box you've invented in order to make a rhetorical point.

I'm not redefining every religion in the world though. I'm just saying it was a dumb idea to include these cultural practices under the term religion in the first place. I'm not redefining Buddhism at all. I'm redefining the word religion, to fit better to common (practical) usage. Buddhism is a system with a religious component (worship, belief in Nirvana, etc.) and a cultural (or secular, if the fact that 'religion' can fit under the blanket term culture bothers you) component (Shrine offerings and such). The religious Buddhists most often participate in both the religious and the secular component, while the cultural/secular Buddhists merely practice the secular component, while not being religious.

Faith is not an essential component of religion, any more than bread is an essential component of lunch. Just because you often see it there and can't imagine it being otherwise doesn't mean that's the only way it can work.

Imagine a society where every lunch consists of eat least a decent bit of bread. This society has developed a word to describe this. It's called 'Lunch'.
It also happens that one of the favourite things for people to discuss in this society is Lunch. And when luch is discussed, apart from in certain academic circles with particular interests, the subject of focus for the majority of the time is Bread.
You see, while everyone agrees that there's nothing bad about eating, Bread is quite philosophically dividing.
As this society gains more knowledge about foreign cultures, they see that for example these Asian fellows eat a meal at the same time of day as them. However, a lot of people in these parts don't include bread in these meals.
When the question comes up of what to call this stuff that the Asian people do, there are two options:
1) Call that meal they're eating 'Lunch' and include this breadless meal that some practice under the definition of 'Lunch', or
2) Refer to those people including bread in their meal as eating 'Lunch' and to the people forgoing bread as eating a 'Lunchtime meal'.

To me, it is obvious that the latter option is the more desireable to aid clarity. And avoid people who are criticizing Lunch on account of them not liking bread being interrupted by other people going "But over there in Asia, they eat lunch without bread, so your criticism of Lunch is invalid".

I'd call them cultural,

All religion is cultural, it's a meaningless distinction.

Certainly not meaningless when you're discussing the merits of faith, which is quite different, philosophically, from cultural practices.

I think a lot of people on this thread will automatically equate faith as being a belief in a high power, as opposed to the other meaning of believing in the unknown. I mean Newton had to believe that gravity had to exist in the first place or his entire work would be flawed from the start. I think people tend to misuse the term "faith" much like how religious zealots tend to misuse the term "theory" when they bash on something like evolution because they don't have an understanding on what the word means.

Jonluw:
Because that's just dumb.

Well, as long as you're backing up your claims with rigorous arguments...

It's religious. It's a practice. It doesn't involve faith. The shrine is religious, the priest is religious, the person making the prayer believes they are engaging in a religious act, it's religious.

What category the person performing the action believes the action falls under means jack all to me categorizing his actions by the categories used here in the west.

This is absurd hair-splitting. You're trying to propose that if 200 people go to a shrine and do the exact same things, they belong in two entirely different categories based on the western-obsessed concept of faith. According to you, some of them are engaging in religion, and some of them are engaging in a cultural practice, even though their actions are 100% the same.

What happens when, as thoughts can be fleeting and shifty things, in the middle of the act of worship someone changes their faith? It happens all the time. A person momentarily doubts that whatever the tenets of their religion are, are true. Or the reverse, a person who doesn't really believe momentarily gets caught up in the pageantry or fervor of the group and for a few seconds does have faith. Do they suddenly switch categories, only to switch back when their mind changes?

And making this more absurd is that you've invented categories that can never be populated because they depend on observations that no objective party can ever make. Consider in a Christian church, a person who swears they fervently believe not because they actually have faith but because they want to fit in with the group. According to your categorization system, a system you invented just to support your argument that all religions require faith, we can never accurately categorize this person's behavior. What about agnostics? If an agnostic person engages in religious ritual every week, devoutly follows every rule of their religion, but when asked if there is a God says, "Well, I think so. I mean, I'd like there to be one. But we'll never know for sure," does that suddenly shift everything they've ever done out of the religious category to the cultural practice category?

I promise you, every person who has ever claimed to have faith has wavered at some point in their lives. Every person who has claimed not to have faith has made decisions based on unknowable things they believe in. Our minds are fluid and changing. Trying to categorize the nature of someone's activity based on a fleeting mental state is ridiculous.

You don't get to re-define every other religion in the world just to fit neatly and tidily in the box you've invented in order to make a rhetorical point.

I'm not redefining every religion in the world though. I'm just saying it was a dumb idea to include these cultural practices under the term religion in the first place.

Under your definition, the only religion that exists then is Christianity. Even then, it only exists temporarily in the minds of certain practitioners. I hope I don't need to elaborate in order to demonstrate the bias inherent in such a claim.

Mr Dizazta:
I think a lot of people on this thread will automatically equate faith as being a belief in a high power, as opposed to the other meaning of believing in the unknown. I mean Newton had to believe that gravity had to exist in the first place or his entire work would be flawed from the start. I think people tend to misuse the term "faith" much like how religious zealots tend to misuse the term "theory" when they bash on something like evolution because they don't have an understanding on what the word means.

Um no Newton did not have to believe that gravity had to exist. Newton attempted to find out why things fall through the observation of things falling which lead to the theory of gravity.

poiumty:

Jacco:

For instance, we know gravity works because we interact with it every day. But its still a "theory" as we don't completely understand it, hence the name "Theory of Gravity." Evolution is the same way. We think it happened and is happening and have evidence to support that, however we can never proof 100% that evolution is real. That's what science is. A constant revision of what we think we understand to something more likely.

The theory of gravity is a theory because it's an explanation, not because it isn't proven.

It's not that science isn't 100% proven. Some theories might be. It's just that we can never allow ourselves to think it really is, because that's what science is based on - scrutiny, doubt, skepticism. One thing's for sure though: science is about the most proven thing we have, the one domain that is closest to the truth through the methods it employs. You don't need faith to adopt it - for the educated free-thinker, it's logically the best path to take.

I think EC shot itself in the foot when it declared that science is based on faith, or faith is the basis of science. Just because I expect the sun to rise tomorrow morning doesn't mean I have faith that it will. I'm fully aware it might not, but I live as if it will anyway. I think they twisted the words in an attempt to placate everyone, and it backfired. Ironically, they now get to learn why the conflict between science and religion isn't such an easy thing to tackle.

They aren't wrong on the most basic of basic levels, but beyond "Believing in the universe and our ability to understand it." and yadda yadda, Beyond this, faith has no place in science. So really all their statement needed was an asterisk. :P

Katatori-kun:
This is absurd hair-splitting. You're trying to propose that if 200 people go to a shrine and do the exact same things, they belong in two entirely different categories based on the western-obsessed concept of faith. According to you, some of them are engaging in religion, and some of them are engaging in a cultural practice, even though their actions are 100% the same.

Quite so. There's more to the world than that which is observable with the naked eye.

What I'm proposing is that there is a difference that the human mind is able to recognize between, for example, Jews that believe in God and Jews that don't believe in God. Namely whether they believe in a god or not.
That there is a difference should be self evident. If there wasn't, I couldn't have formed those last sentences.

What happens when, as thoughts can be fleeting and shifty things, in the middle of the act of worship someone changes their faith? It happens all the time. A person momentarily doubts that whatever the tenets of their religion are, are true. Or the reverse, a person who doesn't really believe momentarily gets caught up in the pageantry or fervor of the group and for a few seconds does have faith. Do they suddenly switch categories, only to switch back when their mind changes?

I'd say that's up for discussion. For now, I'd leave that to the person categorizing.
In my personal opinion, they had a spiritual experience; a momentary insight into the mindset of a person from the other category. Whether this convinces them that whatever truth claims the religion in question makes about the universe are correct and they keep this belief after the experience is over or not, for me makes the difference between someone who became religious on accout of a spiritual experience and someone who simply had a spiritual experience.

i.e. I personally see spiritual experiences as something different from gaining religion for a moment, but others might not agree. Some might say the changed categories for a moment. That isn't really problematic. There are no rules stating a person have to belong to a category for a minimum amount of time every time they change categories.

And making this more absurd is that you've invented categories that can never be populated because they depend on observations that no objective party can ever make.

They're as easy to populate as the categories of "People who have eaten a lizard in the past" and "People who haven't eaten a lizard in the past". That is to say: not very. At least until science comes up with a brain-scan machine advanced enough to tell when someone's lying.

Just because the categories aren't based in a tangible matter like rituals, this doesn't mean they are invalid. Would you propose you couldn't separate the world into "People who like country music" and "People who don't like country music"? It certainly isn't an easy job, and some people will probably be placed in the wrong category on account of lies or similar; but in the end, you just have to take what people say about what goes on inside their heads on good faith.
Until science invents a brain-scan machine advanced enough to tell whether a person has faith or not (or likes country music), that is.

Consider in a Christian church, a person who swears they fervently believe not because they actually have faith but because they want to fit in with the group. According to your categorization system, a system you invented just to support your argument that all religions require faith, we can never accurately categorize this person's behavior.

We certainly can, but it depends on whether we know this person is lying or not.
The fact that it's possible to fool the one attempting to categorize does not make the categories less valid.
A woman can pass off herself as a man, but that doesn't make her any less a woman by the definition that goes by physical/physiological properties of the body (In fact, if you're of the kind which is often found in transgender discussions, believing one's gender to not be determined by the physical properties of ones' body, the religious v. not religious and man v. woman questions are fairly analogous.)

I would also like to clarify that I have not attempted to argue that all religions require faith. That completely depends on how you're defining religion in the context of the particular discussion you are having. Like I said earlier, I recognize that using the word 'religion' to denote cultural practices as well as faith is useful when you're studying the effects a religion has in a society for example.

The argument that I'm making is that in the average laymen's discussion, the definition of religion that should be "in play" is the one I'm explaining, unless a different definition is specified as the relevant one, implicitly or explicitly.
The word 'religion' can be used in many ways and can mean many things, so jumping into a discussion and saying "your argument against religion is flawed because religion can also mean [x] which your argument does not consider" is faulty, because it is implied that a different use of the word which does not incorporate [x] is currently in play.

I'm saying that the standard definition used in a laymen's discussion should be the one I'm using unless otherwise is implied.

What about agnostics? If an agnostic person engages in religious ritual every week, devoutly follows every rule of their religion, but when asked if there is a God says, "Well, I think so. I mean, I'd like there to be one. But we'll never know for sure," does that suddenly shift everything they've ever done out of the religious category to the cultural practice category?

Agnostics are what agnostics are: a sort of gray area between religious and not religious. They can of course lean towards either side of the spectrum.
The way I see the person in your example, they have faith, but they don't consider their faith a great authority on the nature of the universe.

It also seems there's a slight misunderstanding here. I do not aim to categorize their actions as either cultural or religious.
I see the faith as the religion, and the rituals as the cultural actions assosciated with the religion (the orthopraxy). i.e. The actions are cultural regardless of what the person performing them believes. Some people practice this culture to express their religion and some people practice the culture simply as culture; secularly. By virtue of this see a person as either religious (someone who subscribes to the truth claims of the universe that these actions sprung from) or as a non-religious practitioner of a culture (someone who doesn't believe these truth claims, but practices the culture that sprung from them).
You could very well call the latter ones, say, Buddhists, but in the context of a laymen's discussion you would have to specify that they are purely-orthopraxic Buddhists. Whether these people count as religious or not depends entirely on what is practical for the purposes of the debate at hand. Whether you choose to consider these people as religious in your daily life is up to you, so long as you, in a given debate, take care to use the definition of a religious person that is currently in use.

I promise you, every person who has ever claimed to have faith has wavered at some point in their lives. Every person who has claimed not to have faith has made decisions based on unknowable things they believe in. Our minds are fluid and changing. Trying to categorize the nature of someone's activity based on a fleeting mental state is ridiculous.

The fact that one of my buddies who doesn't ordinarily like country music at some point listened to a country song and thought "this isn't so bad", doesn't mean it isn't practical to have a list of which ones of my buddies not to play country music around.

Under your definition, the only religion that exists then is Christianity. Even then, it only exists temporarily in the minds of certain practitioners. I hope I don't need to elaborate in order to demonstrate the bias inherent in such a claim.

"Under my definition, the only life-view where every cultural practitioner is also religious is Christianity." is what I'd change what you wrote to, to more closely represent the particular definition of religion that I'm talking about.
I wouldn't agree though, since I myself might be called an orthopraxic Christian (I'm not religious, in case there was any doubt). I celebrate easter and christmas and the pentecost and whatnot, and I occasionally go to church.
Of course, Christians won't let you identify with them if you don't state that you believe in The holy trinity, but this doesn't matter much to an outside observer who (for the purposes of some debate or study, I guess) merely seeks to place all the people practicing Christian culture into one category.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here