Since this blog’s inception, I’ve tried to keep it as non-partisan as possible. Regular readers can probably deduce my leanings, but I have purposely strayed from any controversial subjects. Today that ends. With the near year this blog is going to address some of the most controversial topics in science and shed some much-needed light on important issues. First up: the relation between faith and science.
Before diving in, let me clarify the question. I am not asking whether science and religion can coexist. Many scientists are religious and have been for centuries. This is a fact. Rather, I want to explore whether science and religion make sense together, if they are compatible systems of discovery. Let’s stir the water.
Remember your fifth-grade teacher’s class about the scientific method? This procedure is the basis of science and all modern technology. It is a system based on evidence, experimentation, and empirical thought. Observable, measurable phenomena are tested rigorously to determine truth. More importantly, every hypothesis is falsifiable and claims are assumed untrue until proven otherwise. These foundations allow the system to build upon and correct itself. No blind conjecture can stand unquestioned, and theories are accepted only so long as the data supports them. As theoretical physicist Michio Kaku likes to point out, science is a self-refining and ongoing process.
Faith, religion, spiritualism, or any other name for it, is another system of discovery. Whereas science requires all claims to be falsifiable, faith relies on unconditional acceptance of assertions. No amount of evidence or analysis can prove something correct or incorrect—propositions are defined as true or untrue and are immune to such testing. Similar to science, faith uses empirical analysis to deduce truth from established claims. The systems differ, however, in their treatment of conclusions. Since propositions in faith are assumed to be unquestionably true, anything that follows from them must also be true. This can lead to the existence of contradictory statements, both of which are valid. Like science, faith seeks truth, but it does so from preconceived notions.
So are faith and science compatible systems? Clearly, the answer is no. While science relies on evidence, data, and falsifiability, faith jettisons these in the name of absolute truths. The two construct trees of knowledge from diametrically opposed foundations, examining the world through irreconcilable lenses. Though their boughs may occasionally overlap, this is no more meaningful than a chance pattern of leaves. Propositions of faith have no place in science, and science stands foreign among the leaves of faith.
At least that’s my opinion on the matter. Do you think faith and science are compatible? I want to hear your thoughts. This is my most controversial post yet, and I hope it sparks some minds. As always, please like, share, or reblog this post if you enjoy it. That small click really helps me out! Be sure to check me out on Twitter and Facebook as well. Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for new content every Wednesday! IT’S FREE!
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Comment question of the week
Are faith and science compatible? Why?