Faith and science compatible?

June 5, 2009

I originally wrote this as a comment on Jerry Coyne’s blog, WEIT (Why Evolution Is True)

Faith and science compatible?

What, exactly, is faith?

The best definition I’ve been able to come up with for faith is this:

To exercise faith is to deliberately attempt to be more certain of something than the available evidence warrants.

Faith is inherently and inescapably dishonest, because it involves lying to yourself about how certain you should be, and if you’re aim is to find out what’s actually true, exercising faith is very obviously stupid, and there’s just no nice way to state that fact.

Of course there are the usual equivocations by the faith-proponents, “you have faith that that chair will hold you up, etc.” No, I don’t. I do not believe this chair will hold me up to a degree of certainty which exceeds what the available evidence warrants. If I begin to sit in a chair, and it makes creaking noises, I’m apt to get up and give the chair a hard look, lest it collapse on me, just as anyone would.

Faith has an undeservedly good reputation. Faith needs to be given the reputation it deserves, which is this:

Faith is dishonest and stupid.

There can be no peace between science and faith when the latter is nothing but the deliberate dishonest and stupid act of attempting to be excessively certain.

~ by scaryreasoner on June 6, 2009.

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