Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Faith vs Faith

The world in which I abide most of the time, is a skeptical world where science rules supreme.  For those who really believe that science should rule, I strongly recommend, that like making sausage, they avoid ever seeing "science being made".

As part of my job, I "make science" or "do Science" most every day.  In doing this it strikes me that there are a LOT of parallels between science and religion.  Both are faith commitments.

Both religion and science are notoriously messy, chancy, enterprises with many a mistake, and much misinformation.  When someone is temeritous enough to point out the many, many scientific mistakes that get made, my scientific colleagues quickly defend us by saying,

"Yes but WE correct our mistakes!  If a scientific mistake is made other scientists will quickly correct it and the ship of science will steam on to victory!"

Really?  Doesn't that sound like a faith statement to you?  How could anyone possibly KNOW that all science errors are corrected?  How are we so sure, using the same methods that made the original mistake, that the new information is not likewise flawed?

I used to give a talk called "Science vs. Faith".  Recently I retitled it to, "Faith vs. Faith".  As I have reflected on science and the scientific process, and scientific results, it has become obvious that reliance on Science requires the same foundational faith as reliance on ancient Hebrew Scriptures combined with not-quite-as-ancient Christian Scriptures combined with personal experience (less reliable but quite powerful).

Not to say that we look around and don't see great advances representing the contributions of science.   Sometimes our lives are made better by science, and sometimes our lives are made a bit worse.  By the same token, religion sometimes makes our lives better, and sometimes our lives a bit worse.

I can hear my science colleagues protesting, "Yes but science applied correctly makes us always better, it is only mis-applied science that causes problems!"

Hmm, there are more parallels between faith in science and faith in G^d, than I first thought.

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