I resent the implication that the entire field of metaphysics and philosophy about reality is mind games. Yes, we are applying the word “faith” in a way somewhat different from religious faith because clearly we don’t mean faith in something supernatural, but we do mean “faith” in terms of something you can’t prove: you cannot prove conclusively you’re not a brain in a vat. We all take it on faith. There is good philosophy going on about whether or not the external world is real, and I think it’s incredibly close-minded to dismiss it because you want science to be infallible.
Not the same kind of religious faith you’re talking about. You are drawing a false parallel.
Science is not infallible, in fact, science admits this and this is why it changes as new data becomes available. Science is what we know to the best of our knowledge and ability as a collective, which can be proven though real word testing of data.
I think we’re talking past each other. I said that it’s not exactly the same kind of faith as religious faith, and then you said I was drawing a false parallel. Can you tell me how? I said that science relies on some premises it can’t prove (e.g. that the external world exists, that our senses work the way we believe them to, etc.—the only way we can “prove” these things is by relying on those things we seek to prove, like our senses). In that way it is like religion.
What I mean when I say you’re trying to make science infallible is not that all of the conclusions it draws are infallible. Obviously that’s not true, science grows and contradicts itself, etc. I mean you’re trying to make the process infallible. You’re trying to say that because it involves empirical tests, as long as it’s conducted right, then it will give us sound conclusions. I think that rests on a faith that there are sound conclusions out there to be reached, that there is a world out there to come to conclusions about.
With all that said, I think science is great and that we should rely on it because the assumptions it makes are ones we all have to take on faith in order to function in our everyday lives (e.g. your broken bone example), but everyone has an element of faith in order to function at all. I think that’s the argument that comes from the philosophical stance, and I think you’re collapsing that argument with one that relies on no sound metaphysics whatsoever.
It may be because I don’t concern myself with the unprovable, except in cases where one asserts that the unprovable is indeed real. There are no conclusions to come to, it’s subjective.
I may not know that I’m not a brain in a jar hooked up to a supercomputer, and as I said in my last post you could technically say that I have faith in this. The problem comes in because “faith” is a loaded word, especially for the faithful.
Saying it requires faith to accept science is the same kind of association “game” as stating evolution is just a theory. It’s using loaded associations.
The word “faith” draws immediate associations in the brain. Just like if someone says “car” the immediate association is going to be a vehicle with the same general over all shape and four wheels. Now, there are several types of cars some have different shapes but in our mind there is an immediate association with the “concept” of a car related to the word.
When someone says, “It takes as much faith to believe in science as it does religion.” this is a loaded statement, you (or the great majority of people) are immediately going to make a mental association with religious faith as used in that context.
This is why I call it a word game. A word is used that while technically correct makes a mental association with a pre-existing concept. Which is why a lot of people reject this statement outright. It comes off as a way of “outsmarting” someone using a technicality because of mental associations that some words draw.
I can say I have faith that I’m not a brain in a jar, I can say I have faith that science in correct, but I wouldn’t mean it in the same way someone who denies science means it. It’s a word association game.
As far as the process being infallible, I understand that, that’s why there are margins of error and why the same experiment may be repeated by several persons or teams under different conditions. Nothing involving humans is going to be 100% infallible because everyone is human and has their own flaws and biases, there is no way around this. Still, this doesn’t mean that a theory or law that has been tested time and time again is incorrect. This why there is also peer review and competing hypotheses among different scientists.
Then ones that make it though tend to be the ones with the most data to back it up, which while not completely infallible is at least very trustworthy.