Thursday, November 29, 2007

Davies Followup.

I know the point to shorters is to make a quick point that underlies the problem with something and move on. However, there is a neat little side note from the article below.

In science, a healthy skepticism is a professional necessity, whereas in religion, having belief without evidence is regarded as a virtue.

The problem with this neat separation into “non-overlapping magisteria,” as Stephen Jay Gould described science and religion, is that science has its own faith-based belief system.

The real difference there isn't that they are NOMA (Not Opposing Metaphysical Asininity) but rather they highlight the difference in the religious and non-religious epistemology. A different epistemology doesn't give you different insights into the world, it gives you a different criteria for truth. And the criteria from truth within religious epistemology has nothing to do with truth it has to do with believing things because somebody say so. Whereas scientific epistemology has to do with checking concepts against reality, stress-testing theories in nature and letting the chips fall where they may.

The article is wrong by equivocating faith with the belief that typical regularities in nature will remain regular. The real is the argument is a tu quoque, basically it's saying sure, we're faith-based and wrong but let me fiddle with the definition a bit and say you're faith-based too... so a plague on both your houses.

Which system do you believe is most conducive to accepting false beliefs?
Science: a healthy skepticism is a professional necessity.
Religion: having belief without evidence is regarded as a virtue.

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