Taking Science on Faith

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By PAUL DAVIES
Published: November 24, 2007

Tempe, Ariz.

SCIENCE, we are repeatedly told, is the most reliable form of knowledge about the world because it is based on testable hypotheses. Religion, by contrast, is based on faith. The term “doubting Thomas” well illustrates the difference. In science, a healthy skepticism is a professional necessity, whereas in religion, having belief without evidence is regarded as a virtue….But until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus.

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1 Akruranatha

I remember once hearing a radio interview with the late Carl Sagan — a popular atronomer — who spoke of his wonder and absolute conviction that, on the farthest star, at the farthest reaches of the universe, the exact same immutable laws of nature were working in exactly the same way as they are right here on earth.

He sounded to me like a person in the grip of faith, an adherent of some fanatical cult. I mean, I am sure that his data from distant stars, spectrographic analysis of the light that emanated thousands of years earlier and so forth, all must really fit into a rational explanation which would empirically support his conviction. The same elements from the periodic table were burning there, and when you corrected for doppler shifting you could tell that they were giving off the same tell-tale signatures in the light that emanated from them.

But Sagan was not talking about empirical observations and data, and he was not speaking as if this was a hypothesis that was open to refutation; he was waxing poetic on an article of his faith that fascinated him. He was quite open about it and did not bother to hide that this was something he just believed in implicitly and was not open to scrutiny or doubt.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 26th, 2007
2 Pandu das

Hare Krishna.

Links to New York Times articles normally expire a week after the article is published. However, the NY Times provides a service for bloggers that generates links that do not expire. I’ve put this link through that and then copied that to the tinyurl site to make it small. The result is this:

http://tinyurl.com/27gz9h

If the original link does not work, try the tinyurl link (http://tinyurl.com/27gz9h) above.

Here’s a link to the NY Times link generator:
http://nytimes.blogspace.com/genlink

Hare Krishna.

Comment posted by Pandu das on November 26th, 2007
3 Administrator

Thank you Pandu das prabhu. I wasn’t aware of that. I added the generated permanent link in the article above also.

Citraka dasa

Comment posted by Administrator on November 26th, 2007
4 urmila devi dasi

This is a great reference article for preachers.

Your servant, Urmila devi dasi

Comment posted by urmila devi dasi on November 27th, 2007
5 Unregistered

Hari Bol,
PAMHO. AGTSP.
This author has a negative comment about monotheistic religion like Christianity in this article.
Is Gaudiya Vaishnava not a monotheistic religion?
i refrained from forwarding this link to my atheist acquaintances for the fear they will jump on that sentence and put Gauidiya Vaishnava in the same club as other monotheistic religion.
Any comments?
Thanks
Hare KruShNA
your servant
aspiring Vaishnav

Comment posted by asprng_vaishnav on November 29th, 2007

Comments are closed. Please check back later.

 
 
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