Saturday, October 08, 2005

Faith-based airplanes

A letter in today's Boulder Daily Camera, reminded me of
the common confusion and occasional down-right horror
expressed by some of the "ascientific" that science is, by
its very nature, atheistic.

Often, the authors of such letters argue that 100-400 years
ago, most major scientists believed in god, and that many
modern scientists believe in god today - but what they fail
to mention is how rare it is for scientists, even the devoutly
religious, to "call upon" god in their scientific work

Such a call would be seen (and rightly so) as either a failure
of imagination or an opportunity for other to explain what is
thought to be inexplicable in natural terms.

In my own letter to the Camera (sorry, I could not help myself,
I wrote...

"Mr. Riggs is right. Biology in general, and evolution theory in
particular, is a-theistic (without god). So, for that matter, are
chemistry, physics, astronomy, mathematics, and engineering.
Why? because experience reveals that the "god hypothesis" is
not required for a understanding the natural world - more to
the point, a-theistic science and engineering works. The question
boils down to a simple one - would you like bridges, computers
and drugs built and tested according to reproducible rules and
objective evidence (so that the chances of them working is high),
you are willing to risk your life on "faith-based" bridges, airplanes
or medical treatments."

Of course, the sad truth is that there are many who do opt for
"faith-based" approaches to health - what is good is that, at
present at least, they cannot stop others from embracing a
scientific view-point.