Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Argument that Science Requires Faith

An essay argues:
The heavens declare the glory of God ...

All of this is to say that, not only is there no inherent conflict between science and Christianity, but the Christian worldview actually motivates and supports the scientific enterprise.

Atheist-evolutionist Jerry Coyne disagrees, of course.

Instead of addressing the theology, look at this argument:

Some believe that science is a superior alternative to faith. But if we peer a little deeper, we see that the scientific method actually requires a great deal of faith before it can even get off the ground. For example, here are five axioms that every scientist (often unconsciously) believes:

The entire physical universe obeys certain laws and these laws do not change with time.
Our observations provide accurate information about reality.
The laws of logic yield truth.
The human mind recognizes the laws of logic and can apply them correctly.
Truth ought to be pursued.

None of these can be proved by science; they must be assumed in order to do any science at all. They are articles of faith.

One could say that they are not really articles of faith, because scientists would abandon them if they turned out to be false. Okay, fine. 

I have some more axioms. Scientists assume:

* The world is real, and not a simulation. There are some scholars who have proposed the simulation hypothesis, and maybe some of them believe in it. But productive scientists do not go for this nonsense.

* Logical reasoning. If you discover some physical truth, then the mathematical and logical consequences are also truths.

* Causality. Events depend on the past light cone, and nothing else.

* Free will. Scientists have the freedom to design experiments that test hypotheses.

* No superdeterminism or many-worlds or any of these other theories that are so contrary to science.

Maybe scientists ought to be more explicit about these axioms. More and more I see scientists casually reject one of them, without acknowledging the disastrous consequences.


  1. To know what someone believes, merely watch carefully what they actually do. Actions are the most honest reflections of a person's truths. Sadly, words are quite often used as mere disposable tools to achieve one's ends, and often have precious little to do with truth.

    Look for people who's words and actions align.

    “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

  2. Roger,

    1. Good points. However...

    >> "* Causality. Events depend on the past light cone, and nothing else."

    Causality actually is a much broader concept. It refers to the fact that the nature of actions taken by an entity (the effects) necessarily follows from the nature of entities that act (the causes).

    Of course, in the context of the special theory of relativity (STR), I would not mind using the narrower idea of the light cone, because it does capture the main causality operative there. ... I was wondering though...

    ... I am still studying STR, but isn't it true that only light stays precisely on the surface of the light cone, and that massive objects could be anywhere within the light cone? If what I am saying is correct, then this phrase "nothing else" would fall short for massive particles. Their motion would sure be confined to the interior region of the light cone, but the question of precisely where within that region is something which would get left out, though it would still be ruled by causality. So, you would have to specify more auxiliary data to pinpoint their motions... So, how about this formulation?:

    The zone of dependence for events lies completely within the light cone (or, put negatively: it does not extend outside of the light cone).

    2. On another note: I think it might be better to separate out superdeterminism from MWI. The difference between them is this:

    MWI is a theory, though a "wrong" theory --- actually a meaningless idea. Reason: The idea of the universe, taken as a whole, is not subject to quantifications. Quantification requires finding similarities (common grounds) and differentiations (distinctions). In other words, it requires that contraries or "foil"s be there, at least in principle. But the universe, taken as a whole and qua the super-set, can have no contraries, no foils. That's why, the idea is devoid of basic meaning.

    OTOH, from what I read at Dr. Hossenfelder's blog (including the latest one), I gather that superdeterminism still is not a completed theory; it is rather like a *template* for a theory. It seems that they are still exploring particular options to make some theory which might conform to this template. From what they indicate, I tend to think that even a nonlocal theory should fit their template --- i.e., even if they introduce some new ("hidden") variables. ... There can always be a nonlocal hidden variables theory. They seem pretty tentative about the details, though not about the template. (Mine is a nonlocal theory, and doesn't have hidden variables. But the point is, logically speaking, the structure of their template should allow the aforementioned possibility too --- nonlocal + hidden.) All in all, that's quite different from MWI!


  3. 1. Gee, if only I could come up with a theory that says I am a mindless meat puppet without any ability to think, since I'm merely part of a casual chain reaction due to everything being utterly deterministic... thus having no ability to actually even do science...

    2. Gee if only I could come up with a theory that says I'm a mindless meat puppet across infinite universes and reduce my existence to something so insignificant that the probability of my own existence approaches zero...thus having no ability to much less reason to do actual science since everything happens just somewhere else undetectably.

    3. Gee, if only I could shove every last superdeterminist and many world theorist into a big wood chipper to grant them the mindless nihilist nirvana of oblivion they so desperately desire, freeing up oodles of very finite grants and funding to go to truly curious and skeptical souls who actually have a desire to do something useful in this world besides sneer at their own miraculous existence.

    ...I enthusiastically choose option 3.

    “Nihilism is best done by professionals.” ― Iggy Pop