Saturday, November 6, 2010

Faith in Science

Lately I've been talking with people on a particular forum about religion vs. science, and after a class with Matt Draper and some of my own thoughts, I've come to the conclusion that you have to believe in science in just the same way that you have to believe in religion.

Let's take gravity for example.  We know that if we throw something in the air it will eventually fall to the earth.  We can try that experiment as many times as we'd like and it will be true.  We can also notice that bodies will move toward each other.  What we cannot empirically notice is a force called "gravity."  Calling what we see a gravitational pull is us taking a leap of faith that a force called "gravity" is doing what we observe. No one can explain how gravity actually works, or that it really exists at all. What we can do, is notice that things we throw up come down.  It is just as viable to say that a God is pushing down on things and pushing other things together.  We could even say that the God doesn't think about helium as something that needs to be pushed down on, so He doesn't.  One is just easier to believe because the "smart" people in our society say it's stupid to believe in God doing anything. 

Evolution is much the same way.  We notice fossils of animals that we don't see anymore.  We notice that some look similar to each other.  So we fill in the similarities by saying that they must have evolved from one into the other.  It takes a leap of faith to believe it.

It should be said here that scientists who are worth their salt will say that they prove nothing and even some laws (like gravity) are only observations with a fancy explanation that may or may not be true.  Most that I've talked to merely cling to the theory as if it's Gospel and metaphorically put their hands over their ears and say "I'm not listening" in a high pitched voice, but some do understand the limitations of their field and understand that their assumptions can be compared to those of religion.

I must say that I am not trying to knock science off of its semi-know-it-all throne. I've taken leaps of faith when it comes to gravity, evolution, medication, computers, and lots of other things science has given us.  With that leap of faith, I also realize that science may be wrong, and there are other plausible explanations for all of the things I take for granted.  I've merely had a few observations of my own and it is easier for me to believe in those things than not, but my belief is still a belief.

What I really think science and religion need to do is come to an understanding.  Religion has personal revelation, brought on by observation, where they find truth, and science has observations and make hypothesis that often cannot be truly falsified where they derive truth.  Both are valid.  Both are similar.  Both bring about good.  Let's just get along.  We can BOTH be right.

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