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Is science ultimately just a matter of faith?

Religious people and even scientists sometimes claim that science is ultimately just a matter of faith, based on unproven assumptions. The argument is used to cast doubt on all scientific beliefs, as well as demonstrating that scientific attacks on religion are ultimately not only impotent but furthermore hypocritical.

Implications to Other Questions

Are the core truths of science and religion complementary?
Is science ultimately just a matter of faith?

Experts and Influencers

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Experts In Christianity

Answering Genesis    Christian Website
Much of the problem stems from the different starting points of our divergence with Darwinists. Everyone, scientist or not, must start their quests for knowledge with some unprovable axiom—some a priori belief on which they sort through experience and deduce other truths. This starting point, whatever it is, can only be accepted by faith; eventually, in each belief system, there must be some unprovable, presupposed foundation for reasoning (since an infinite regression is impossible).
08 Feb 2008    Source

Experts In Science

Richard Dawkins    Evolutionary Biologist, Writer, Atheism Activist
...whenever I lecture publicly, there always seems to be someone who comes forward and says, "Of course, your science is just a religion like ours. Fundamentally, science just comes down to faith, doesn't it?" Well, science is not religion and it doesn't just come down to faith. ... Science is based upon verifiable evidence. Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops.
01 Jan 1997    Source

Phil Plait    Astronomer
Science is not faith-based, and here’s why. The scientific method makes one assumption, and one assumption only: the Universe obeys a set of rules. That’s it. There is one corollary, and that is that if the Universe follows these rules, then those rules can be deduced by observing the way Universe behaves. This follows naturally; if it obeys the rules, then the rules must be revealed by that behavior.
18 Feb 2008    Source


Add Your TakeOnIt (click to expand, no login required)
0 Points      MTC      23 Feb 2013      Stance on Question: Disagree
Faith is defined as belief without evidence. Science is based on evidence.

0 Points      RobA      22 Jun 2013      Stance on Question: Disagree
Yes, precisely science is BELIEF based on EVIDENCE. That is the difference. So one can BELIEVE in science, and it is NOT a matter of faith.

0 Points      Christopher Maloney      13 Oct 2011      Stance on Question: Agree
The scientific method is a logical process, but science involves faith at multiple levels. When we discuss dark matter, we assume that those doing the mathematics have not erred. When we hear about a particle exceeding the speed of light, we have faith that Eistein's theory will not be so easily disproven. When we swallow a drug, we have faith that the active drug will do what it says on the bottle. Every day I deal with people preparing to die or live because of diagnostic testing.

1 Point      Hugh Geaney      04 Nov 2011      Stance on Question: Mostly Disagree
The 'faith' that we have in a drugs performance is based on clincal trials proving the efficiency of the drug. I would suggest that faith is not like the traditional 'there is no proof for this but i believe it type of faith'.

-1 Point      Foxfire0002      18 Apr 2012      Stance on Question: Agree
Even so, you have faith that your experiences of the past will translate into the future experiences of taking the drug. Just because the sun has risen in the past does not mean it will rise in the future. You have faith that it will rise based on past experiences, and faith that there is high probability that it will of it rising.

0 Points      I.C. Topete      01 Dec 2012      General Comment
You do realize that is just induction? If you considered that faith then every single proposition is to be considered faith based. This sort of radical skepticism is not only unproductive but completely lacking any base in reality.

1 Point      PFrazee      12 Jul 2011      Stance on Question: Disagree
If I look at a guy flapping his arms, then look at the guy riding in a jet, I think I know who I'm going to befriend. That's not faith; that's just a measured choice. The jet seems to work, and that other guy is going nowhere.

Science seems to work. I don't follow it out of faith; I follow it because I like to fly.

1 Point      Benja      30 Apr 2011      Stance on Question: Disagree
Yes, science makes an assumption - that the universe follows rules. Who doesn't? You're reading this sentence right now, but you're assuming "as a matter of faith" that your eyeballs will remain in their sockets, rather than floating across the room, exploding, or turning into plums. If you truly don't believe the universe follows rules, these are all valid possibilities. Right. Valid to the madman. Assuming the universe follows rules is not a matter of faith, it's a matter of sanity. You know nothing without it.

People's actions show that they place no weight on doubting the assumption that the universe follows rules. No one hedges against gravity. It's ridiculous that this possibility is slapped on the table with a straight face. Religious and scientific people alike don't seriously doubt this assumption at all. And this is the assumption that science is based on.