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Do scientists act by faith?

Some time ago, i read an article written by Paul davies, and i get surprised, because he said that faith is closer to science than we think.

When someone asks you what makes a sciencist , or what is "Science", normally you can answer that a scientist tries to see reality and asks himself questions about "What happens here?" or "how can this happen?", and then scientist create an hypothesis and accepts it or not according to the results of their studies.

However, What are the basis of science? I want to say, the reality that we see, that we the true reality? Can science prove anything with certainty without any exception at 100%? Why the universe had been created so that we can demonstrate and describe things that we see with a logical reasoning? It could be that the reality that we see is false and scientists also believe and act by faith. I have discussed that with one friend and i got hurt because he said to me: oh, you
believe in science, you are a great believer!!...

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    Dec 1 2011: Sigh,
    Please watch (or tell them to watch) this for example:

    Or any other talk that explains science...
    Maybe Sam Harris' one

    Science is no belief, it is a method to reduce uncertainty about our understanding of reality.
    Nothing is knowable at 100% certainty (though some things get awfully close)
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      Dec 1 2011: ... which makes it the opposite of belief.
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    Nov 17 2011: It's not faith, since it's built through reason and not despite reason.
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      Nov 29 2011: Do I understand you to be saying one characteristic of Faith is that it exists despite Reason, and, anything consistent with Reason cannot be Faith?
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        Nov 29 2011: It sounds extreme, but why not, let's assume I'm saying just that.
        It'll get a debate going and just might sharpen my understanding of faith, of reason, and of Edward Long's philosophy.

        So yeah, annything consistent with Reason cannot possibly be Faith.
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          Nov 29 2011: May I suggest we use this definition of Faith:
          Accepting as truth that which cannot be verified by the scientific method.
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        Dec 1 2011: I agree, if you agree with my definition of the scientific method :
        A rationnal way of creating hard-to-vary explanations through guesswork and criticism.
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          Dec 1 2011: Your proposed definition for the scientific method is creative, :-) revolutionary even. I am less than comfortable :-( with the use of ambiguous, subjective terms, such as "hard"; "guesswork" and "criticism". I offer the following, from the Oxford English Dictionary, for your approval: "systematic observation, measurement and experiment, and the formulation, testing and modification of hypotheses."
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        Dec 1 2011: I'm ok with your definition, though more emphasis could be made about the "testing and modification of hypotheses" bit.
        It is a creative process, it is free from any dogmatic authority and it's purpose is the constant replacement of misconceptions with less flawed misconceptions.

        But ok, let's use the Oxford definition and get to work on our debate.
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          Dec 1 2011: Oh what have I done? I'm about to debate with a person whose avatar looks like a rat fetus and who is unafraid to contend with the Oxford English Dictionary on matters of etymology. As they say in chess, "Which hand?" (Left hand is your conclusion, right hand is mine).
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    Dec 6 2011: "Can science prove anything...?" I think the important thing to understand, as Christophe already suggested, is that physical science generally doesn't prove anything, if we mean by "prove" absolute certainty. Mathematics can prove hypotheses with 100% certainty within the structure defined by mathematical axioms, but science usually can't.

    Science deals with probabilities, and seeks to find explanations to physical phenomena that are LIKELY to be true. In some types of scientific investigations a scientist can assign a probability of correctness to a conclusion (typically 95-99% is desired), based on the strength of sampling, but in many scientific investigations the data aren't sufficient to allow calculation of probability. In such cases useful suggestions toward a conclusion can be made, but a conclusion with a known likelihood of being correct must await further data.

    It's also an important point that a scientist designing an experiment to test a hypothesis always begins by assuming the hypothesis wrong, even when it's his/her own. Only if observations are explained uniquely by the hypothesis being tested (i.e., not by any other available hypothesis) with a probability of 95-99% will the hypothesis be considered tentatively confirmed. But always only tentatively. Even at 99% certainty there's always that other 1%.
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    Dec 1 2011: Hi Jose!

    I think you should take a philosophy course, that can help…
    I’ll try to answer your comment here with few words.

    First, science is a method, not a dogma, and theories are revised systematically in the face of new evidence.
    We use the inference to the best explanation logic, let me give you an example:
    Explanation 1: Disease is caused by demons
    Explanation 2: disease is caused by germs
    Those are two explanations, the question is which is the BEST explanation? Which can has more predictive power? Etc (answer is so obvious that I will not comment)
    I don’t know quantum mechanics, but using this logic (inference to the BEST explanation) I’m inclined to believe that to be the best explanation (better than any religion), if a new theory comes and explains reality better I will align with that one. This is obvious to me at least. Does that sound like faith to you?

    To your second point about idealism, if all the information you get from your senses is false, then…, I will not get into that argument, I will only make one comment:
    Do you honestly think that the world you interact with is fake? Does it feel fake to you? You think you live in some kind of “Matrix”? you think that when you take a plane you are actually not flying and the plane was not create by a mix of science and technology? What requires more “faith”, to believe in want you see and touch or to believe that there something else different from what you see and touch (something that no one can prove and depending on who you talk to is completely different)? Why do you use vaccines when you can use prayers?...

    Hope it helps


  • Nov 18 2011: Of course they do.

    They may develop building theory based on reason and sound principles, testing and experimentation.
    Next, they may build a bridge based on what they've learned, what they know
    and what they've proven.
    But they cross that bridge in faith that it will remain upright.

    Science is both open and closed simultaneously as far as I can see. Is this even possible?
    Research, testing, observing and recording, always with the open mind.
    But that mind to some degree is closed, meaning it doubts, doesn't believe
    or doesn't accept until it feels or has proven that it has proven or dis-proven
    some hypothesis or claim.

    They then have faith in what they know, what they have proven.
    One problem exists which is the same for science and those of 'faith' or religion, I suppose.
    Neither can prove or disprove the same thing.
    Our conscious experiences and the reality of them or the truth of them.

    Neither can halve cells that heal wounds of the body, and continue halving them until nothing is left,
    and point and say, with proof, "there, that is intelligence. That is how it knows how to heal. There, that
    is power, That is how it heals. There, that is love. That is what healing is."

    But both may point at that nothingness and say, "it works. It really does!"
    And both have faith in it, and virtually all who have ever lived, are living and will live,
    had, have and will have, the conscious experience of the scratch. Everyone is the
    empirical evidence of "it" doing what "it" does, and no one can see it, prove it, or dis-prove it,
    but only rely (have faith) on it.

    I am a faitheist. I believe in what I know. But I have had experiences I cannot prove and others
    cannot dis-prove. I know they are real as I experienced them myself. I understand them and yet,
    part of them remains a mystery.
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    Nov 17 2011: before the big bang, maybe.
  • Nov 17 2011: I think the deeper one delves into scientific understanding, the complexity of the universe invariably leaves one's mind open to the idea of a higher 'power'; or more rationally, a high 'intelligence'.

    The thing that separates science from religion is that the former is open to ALL possibilities, is there to be scrutinized (and in fact subsists upon this) and always strives to to better understand. As distinct from religion, that is a constant; and as such, is always in conflict with human evolution and our innate desire to understand.

    Although science has its own 'laws', they are not set in stone and are there to be assayed and debunked if empirically doable (see: recent challenge to Einstein's theory on the speed of light). Science has no gospels.
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      Nov 29 2011: Einstein anticipated the existence of particles created with velocities exceeding of the speed of light. What he insisted could not occur was a particle accelerating from less than the speed of light up to and then exceeding it.
      Tachyons and Cherenkov Radiation do not represent a challenge to Einstein, quite the contrary.
      • Nov 30 2011: Presuming the veracity of what you're saying, why then are all those eggheads agog at the possibility of this said 'revelation'?

        I mean, it's even been touted as a discovery to challenge Einstein's theorems...!

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          Nov 30 2011: As a reader and not a scientist I must tell you I am sorry, I do not know, nor would I understand,the technicalities of what the recent excitement is about. I only know that Al predicted faster-than-light velocities. Maybe they physically observed his prediction for the first time all these decades after he made it. Research it, lad, research it!