Closing our “religion” coverage for the day: From Paul Bloom at Atlantic:
Why Scientific Faith Is Different From Religious Faith
It is true that scientists take certain things on faith. It is also true that religious narratives might speak to human needs that scientific theories can’t hope to satisfy.
And yet, scientific practices—observation and experiment; the development of falsifiable hypotheses; the relentless questioning of established views—have proven uniquely powerful in revealing the surprising, underlying structure of the world we live in, including subatomic particles, the role of germs in the spread of disease, and the neural basis of mental life.
Religion has no equivalent record of discovering hidden truths. More.
Or hidden falsehoods either? Now let’s get serious.
In an age of pleas for replication amid scandal, can Bloom’s social noise explain Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation generates huge levels of information) as “science” and not “religion”?
For example, what about Dawkins’s claim,
“My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of the Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.” — p. 287, Blind Watchmaker” (1986).
The evidence never turned up (cf. Darwin’s finches) but no matter.
People say that kind of thing about their sacred scriptures.
Millions of people believe in Darwinism. It is science that is somehow religion, and need not be validated by evidence. After all, our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth, so how would we know if there were any evidence or not?
Hey, Bloom, fix that, and get back to us.
There’s also crackpot cosmology, but that’s for later.
See also: Evidence-based skepticism goes back to 1954.
Talk to the fossils: Let’s see what they say back
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