Why Science Is Not About Faith

Great post at Slate by Jerry Coyne — the original headline on the homepage has disappeared, so I’m reproducing from memory in this link:

Why Scientists Have No Faith in Science

The point is science isn’t about faith, not even ‘faith’ in the scientific method or ‘faith’ that scientific laws are valid. Science is about evidence and presumptions, such as the method and the ‘laws’, that have been proven themselves as valid and effective. (Thus our technological society.)

What about the public and other scientists’ respect for authority? Isn’t that a kind of faith? Not really. When Richard Dawkins talks or writes about evolution, or Lisa Randall about physics, scientists in other fields—and the public—have confidence that they’re right. But that, too, is based on the doubt and criticism inherent in science (but not religion): the understanding that their expertise has been continuously vetted by other biologists or physicists. In contrast, a priest’s claims about God are no more demonstrable than anyone else’s. We know no more now about the divine than we did 1,000 years ago.

The constant scrutiny of our peers ensures that science is largely self-correcting, so that we really can approach the truth about our universe.

Spelling it out for the many, many, who remain unclear on this concept, if they’ve bothered to think about it at all.

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