RE: virus: Faith in knowledge

sodom (
Tue, 9 Feb 1999 14:07:38 -0500

Hum - your experience is very different than mine.

-----Original Message-----

From:	Reed Konsler []
Sent:	Tuesday, February 09, 1999 11:29 AM
Subject:	virus: Faith in knowledge

>One difference has just occurred to me - A Bible reader wants to believe.
>scientific reader has no desire to believe either way - just sides with
>side with the best evidence. No Bible reader can read the Bible then say
>"Based on objective evidence the Bible is true"
>Bill Roh

A scientist has faith that the universe is knowable in some meaningful sense.

I don't think this is true - at least in the sense of the word Faith being used as it is in Religion. As in faith in a God. To say that the "Universe is knowable is some meaningful sense" requires no act of faith. They believe that what is verifiable and reproducible is as close as we can get, and that is fine.

Someone who doesn't care is a nihlist...perhaps even a suicide. Scientists are not apathetic about knowledge, just the opposite.

You like to mix human emotional states on the large scale with your understanding of details - why? To not care about a set of results is not the same as not caring about anything Reed!!!! Scientists are humans and subject to human emotions. But it is not a big task to culture a gillion bacteria and not get excited about the growth in medium X. If they are interested it is usually due to results, not - "I love this molecule - go molecule go - I'll bet on you win or lose" Some scientists would like to be right - of course, but a good one can live just fine without it.

No scientist can say "based upon the evidence my theory is true".

My point exactly - a moment ago you were saying that that is exactly what they do. That they have this "faith". Perhaps poor or very emotional ones do - but I tend prefer the model of what scientists should be as a whole, then to dealing with particular human failings and calling them the law.

I've watched scientists get their head handed them by collegues in the literature and in conference for making such claims. It's hubris. It happens. It gets corrected, and rapidly. If only everyone had the opportunity to experience such feedback.

And everytime it is the Person the scientist - not the field of Science.

Bill Roh


  Reed Konsler