Select Page

(Hint: No.) When talking with some online friends about faith and science, this question of whether science was itself a faith came up. It seemed quite important to them to get my agreement that it was. Guess what, it isn’t.
Science is just a way of making sense of the world. To my friends, it seemed that there was a huge faith statement or statements lurking in the middle of science. And this faith statement was… the world is real!
Yes, I think the world is real, and that we all are experiencing the same real world. But that isn’t an unproven assumption that is a faith position or a creedal statement. That is a working hypothesis that is confirmed over and over again thousands of times a day. We learn this idea as infants, not in science catechism.
Why was this argument important to my friends? I don’t want to put words in their mouths, but I’m afraid that it does set up one particular exit strategy to a difficult conversation – the false equivalence of science and any other faith.
Hey, if science is a faith, you have your faith and I have my faith, and who is to say which is better?
That is a sad, lame, and post-modernist exit strategy. Certainly with respect to the areas where science has anything to say at all, there are very many ways to judge which is a better system of explaining the world – the whole point of science has been to refine our ways of understanding the world, and this process has been pursued with zeal for the past few hundred years.
Nor is the idea that the world is real (and we all experience the same real world) very helpful at differentiating faiths. After all, every other faith that I can think of agrees that the world is real. Some faiths might push the idea that there is other stuff that is also real, that is more important or eternal, but even folks who would call this the world of illusion don’t walk off of cliffs. This isn’t the Matrix. There is a spoon.

No spoon?

Pin It on Pinterest