Science as a disbelief system

The following is an interesting take from a discussion page at RichardDawkins.net.

It's titled "Science as a disbelief system" and written by the user, "Schrodinger's cat".

I recently had a friend make a comment along the lines of "You believe in science....I believe in religion...they are both belief systems," as if to imply some sort of equitable relationship between the two. I'm sure many of us have had similar experiences.

The friend seemed quite startled when I responded, "Actually no, science is a disbelief system." I pointed out that what makes science different from any other thought system is that while the congregation in religion is shouting 'Hallelujah!', in science they are shouting 'Prove it!' And to cap it all, the scientific high priests are required to provide a means of disproving that anything they say is true! Can you imagine the Pope doing that?

Not only is science not on equitable terms with religion, it is effectively the complete opposite. If science were a religion, then it's the only one where the holy scriptures demand not unquestioning belief but questioning disbelief.

It's high time we got rid of this 'just another belief system' mentality in society. We could start by banning 'faith' schools and their ridiculous notion that teaching science and religion is somehow 'complementary'.

I have never done a repost but this one was interesting enough for me to have done it.

One of core principle in science is the requirement that its theories be falsifiable - and indeed be falsified if evidence ever turns up to falsify the theory however old, popular or elegant. Science is self-correcting and demands that correction be made if one is to remain honest about the state of our knowledge.

That is the beauty of science.

6 comments :

Alfred Chong said...

What about the belief that there is no god? Is that a belief system?

Nox said...

A positive belief that there is no god(s)? That would be a single belief, a single position and does not constitute a belief system.

Alfred Chong said...

Some Christians would also say that they have only 1 single belief, that Christ was raised from the dead.

Nox said...

Granted that some may indeed hold such a position, it is evidently not the case for the majority of Christians. Many hold a combination of propositions stemming from or are congruent with that belief.

That belief does not exist in a vacuum. Christianity includes some form of belief in an afterlife, origins, authority of the bible, morality and etc.

That is a system of belief.

Alfred Chong said...

The same is roughly true for a strong atheistic position.

To me though, a belief system is not necessarily a bad thing. We all do believe in some things. As long as they are evidence-based.

Nox said...

Agreed. Except I'm not sure how a strong atheistic position could be a core belief in a belief system.

Let's set that aside and go back to what's the message of the post. It's not so much whether they are belief systems that's in question here but what the system consists of.

A skeptical view (such as science) prevents dogma from taking hold so that we may adjust our view of reality in light of new evidence. Religion tend to do the opposite - they assert certainty where it is unwarranted. Religions do evolve but they do so usually in spite of their dogmas not because of them.