2009-02-27 07:19:44 ET|
In order to believe something, particularly something universal, it takes faith. The scientific method works something like this. If we perform a controlled action a great many times and have gotten the same results every time, then we can make the assumption that no matter how many times we repeat the experiement it will turn out the same.
Lets say that I make the hypothesis that that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I test this theory, and others test this theory over and over again. Say we test it a hundred thousand times. My hypothesis has always held true. However, I cannot, nor can anyone or all of sentient life combined make the claim to have witnessed every action ever made, being made, or ever will be made. We need a certain degree of faith in order to believe that this theory is true. This is also explained in The Philosophers Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods by Julian Baggini and Peter S. Fosl in the chapter in which they discuss logic and reasoning methods.
Religion, by definition, also requires faith. It requires faith because, again, it is defined by the action of belief in something. Certainly a stronger, more devout faith is required, but this is still a common link between Religion and Science.
Science can then be equated to a Religion because it requires faith. Faith in the system and faith in the results and faith in the experts who tell us what it is that Science and its scientific method deem to be true.
Consider for a moment this, from Lectures on the Philosopy of Religion by Georg Wilhem Friedrich Hegel:
"We know that in religion we withdraw ourselves from what is temporal, and that religion is for our consciousness that region in which all the enigmas of the world are solved, all the contradictions of deeper-reaching thought have their meaning unveiled. . . the region of eternal truth, of eternal rest, of eternal peace."
Now, compare that with this excerpt from Science and Hypothesis by Henri Poincare:
"Experiment is the sole source of truth. It alone can teach us something new; it alone can give us certainty."
Now, it seems to me that the attributes given to religion by Hegel and the those given to experiment, and science by way of experiment, by Poincare are awfully similar. That thing that provides us with truth. Truth that can only be believed through faith, in any case.