Thursday, 13 October 2011

Science Will Save Us

The way to see by faith is to
shut the eye of reason
There are things in the universe we inhabit that we don’t fully understand and things we have yet to discover. Where exactly does this leave us? How exactly are we to come to understand anything? The answer: science. Science is the best tool our species has developed to help determine true things from false things. The best thing about science that it is self-correcting: it acknowledges its flaws and makes an effort to correct them.

For many people, they see this as a deep flaw within science, and therefore reject the whole notion that science can help us answer anything. The problem with this view is that the methods of science have been shown time and again to be the only effective method at discovering the nature of reality. Not prayer; not revelation; not divination: nothing other than hard science. 

Yes, humans are the conductors that drive science, and are therefore privy to flaws and biases and all of the others things that make us human. Every scientist has their own little pet theory, and will go to the end of the world to defend it. The best part about science is that this person’s fellow scientists are in the game of disproving competing theories. It takes a lot for someone to change their mind, especially when they’ve dedicated their lives to a theory, but to realize that the evidence runs counter to your belief is what any follower of science must do.

A claim should also be falsifiable. This means the claim must be able to the tested to show whether or not it has any merit. If we have no way to show whether or not a claim is true, you are just advocating for something by fiat; mothing more than just wanting to claim it exists. A perfect example is the existence of deities: people claim that we can in no way test whether or not god(s) exist. Well, I’m sorry, if we have no way to testing the claim, how can we know if it’s true or not, other than your assertion that it is true?

Philosophy is also an integral part of how we determine truth from falsity. Scientific theories and enterprises must be logically consistent and be able to be defended on philosophical grounds. Is this experiment ethical? What are the limits of science? How do we know if that object or being can actually exist? All these are answered within philosophy, and only through the union of science with philosophy, do we have any hope forward. 

This is what makes science and philosophy interesting: it allows you to peer at the line between what is known and what is unknown. Humans have gotten very far. We’ve outsmarted our fellow hominid species, we’ve managed to survive and even thrive in climates that would kill most species, and we have built complex societies. Yes, we have a long way to go, from making sure equality is had by all: from world hunger, to making sure we don’t destroy the world around us. These may seem like things that are unattainable, but by using the tools given to us by science, and appreciating the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake, we as a species can develop and even solve many of the burdens facing our species today.

Originally posted by: 

Science, religion and perceptions of reality  by Noel A. Tanner, available under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Browsing through your blog, love the name, though sad to find out I didn't make up the word Gaytheist.

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