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Monday, 23 June 2008

Faith in Science

This morning I was catching up on my podcasts when I heard something familiar said about the divide between religion and scepticism in society. The point wasn't laboured, but I felt the need to explore it myself - so here I am.

It regards the public campaign for critical thinking, and the criticism of this from the religious camp. Their argument is that atheist pots are simply calling the theist kettles black when they criticise them for preaching their dogma. Isn't scepticism just another dogma spread by its adherents in the same way as religion?

Well, no. While the public presentation and the processes of dissemination can seem similar, the point which is being missed by the theist side of this argument is that what sceptics and critical thinking proponents are advancing is basically the opposite of dogma. What we are advocating is not faith - it is the absence of faith, the end of reliance upon faith. It is simply a questioning mindset, a process of reasonable doubt rather than a set of unquestioning and unquestionable beliefs.

Science is not being held up as the source of all knowledge and wisdom in the same way that sacred texts are by their adherents. The most important difference, overlooked by the aforementioned critics, is that self-doubt is built in to the scientific outlook; this is forbidden - or at least frowned upon - in religion. At its most basic, to promote the sceptical cause is to promote the freedom of inquiry; to call this "just another faith" is to completely misunderstand and misrepresent that view.

2 comments:

Guenther said...

once somebody starts to believe and have a relationship with God/Jesus, the doubt is over. but people who judge about faith from the outside, will always be sceptical. we christians can't explain you about faith/God/Jesus in the same way as nobody can explain the colours to a blind person. it is mostly Pride, who hinders people to believe, because faith has much to do with the Gift Of Grace+Mercy. a proud person will reject it, a humble person will accept it and will thank God for for it and for the humbleness, which comes from God like every Good Thing !!! i bless every reader !

Darkwinter said...

Thanks for the blessings, and for the definition of "kool-aid". Perhaps, however, you'd like to read the actual entry and respond to that instead.