RE: virus: 'Faith' in science.

carlw (
Mon, 8 Feb 1999 12:01:54 -0600

Hmmm, virginity is a curable disease. Being religious is just like being a virgin. The dominant feeling on loosing either is one of relief.

As for your proposal, on the one side, there is the scientific method. Nothing in that says that we cannot "argue from authority" where adequate authority exists and where we are prepared to provide the source material and perform the experiments to validate our theories at need. We all stand on the shoulders of giants. To be science, there needs to be enough evidence and documentation to permit us to perform the experiments which could disprove a theory for ourselves. The longer a theory has been around the more people have tested it and the less likely it is that performing the experiment will contribute to the strength of the theory. Taking your example, the theory of evolution has been around more than a little while, and has yet to be refuted (To be pedantic we should say the "theories of evolution", as while evolution is a demonstrated fact, there are many theories to explain how it happens). This makes the "theory of evolution" a strong theory.
On the other side, there is the badly named "creation science" which is in fact an oxymoron. There is no evidence for "creationism", no theory behind it, no experiments to disprove it and in fact, no possible way of disproving it. So while science is a method. Creation is a myth. And it is arguments like this one, which you propose, which really rile the few scientifically literate people who still care enough to respond. Your argument seems to suggest that we should give equal time or attention to the hubble-bubble that makes up "creationism" simply because it somebody postulates it or appends science to the term. So far as I know, nobody has withdrawn Ockham's razor. Using this argument the religious should have to defend their gods against the infinitely more rational (and powerfull) IPU. Which they cannot do as the important issue here is that religion is irrational and cannot be discussed rationally or logically. When they try it, the IPU (blessed be her pinkness) will win every time. As would the tooth fairy. After all, there is far more evidence (anecdotal mind-you) for the tooth fairy than there ever has been for "creation" or for any of the gods mankind has saddled himself with in recorded history. While there are people in the "general public w/interest in science" who rely overmuch on the works designed to "explain" scientific concepts, I don't think we should sneer at them, nor compare them to followers of the purveyors of predigested religious pap. Simply not being qualified in a field does not prevent somebody from commenting on that field. It just means that we should seek corraboration for the comments and be more skeptical over their submissions than we would over a peer acknowledged source. It generally takes many years of study to become competent in any one scientific field, and this should not be used to preclude people outside the field from at least attempting to follow what is happening in the field. At least they are thinking, are open to and would welcome discovering that their theories are wrong, and seldom fall back on "because x said so" apologetics.


-----Original Message-----
From: []On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, February 08, 1999 10:05 AM To:
Subject: virus: 'Faith' in science.

Atheism and Theism; two wheels of the same cart.

It seems that a common thread on the CoV mailing list is one of discrediting the religious for their blind faith and belief in the teachings of the bible and of their ministers. For example, a previous poster recanted a time when he
attended a 'debate' on creationism and evolution at a local church. He was suprised to see the congregation support the minister's defense of creationism--even after having heard evidence supporting evolution. In fact,
it seems that religious faith is a popular and easily attacked target for the
'scientific' community. Geez, I think it's time to remove the 2X4 from our
eyes before criticizing the speck in theirs...

Yesterday, I visited Richard Dawkin's website. I went to the "books" link and
there was a short listing of his books with description. The webmaster then gives you a recommended reading order depending on your goals. One of the goals was "I want to defend evolution against creationist", to which, the visitor is then directed to buy "The Blind Watchmaker".

Is there any fundamental difference between this example and a religious person
who reads the bible and accepts it as truth?

How many of us (general public w/interest in science) quickly validate the theories and claims made in the popular science works of Dawkins, Gould, Bloom,
etc., without ever doing our own research or otherwise applying our own
scrutiny and skepticism? Aren't we guilty of this phenomenon called faith? I've heard, "to know without doing is not knowing"; how many pseuo-intellectual--would be scientists among us does this describe?

I am not defending the concept of faith or the religious mind. I just think that in many cases atheists are the evolutionary 'pots' calling the creationist
'kettles' black. We just open a hole in our back large enough for our
ministers (Darwin, Dawkins... whoever)to put their hand in there and then use
us as the ventriliquistic mediums of their work. Regardless of whether these
scientist/authors are right or not, until we ourselves see it, hear it, touch
it taste it and otherwise live out these theories, we are reduced to nothing more than Sunday morning yes men.

Okay off my soapbox for now. This is my first time posting something to this
forum, so be gentle--I'm a virgin! :)

Michael Fulford
Disgruntled Wage Laborer