Article available at The Drum
(abc.net.au). It discusses the common claim that
Although there are some moments of straw, like:
Originally Posted by Argument v person, anyone? Anyone?
For example, critics often call the religious 'stupid': as if intelligence were the only difference between theists and atheists.
...it finally gets to making the following points:
Originally Posted by The Drum
While some scientists might indeed be religious in outlook, science as a whole cannot be conflated with faith. Not because they do not make bad suppositions - they clearly do. It is because of their moral relationship to supposition. Faith, as I have previously argued on The Drum
, is the euphemism given to needful metaphysical belief without good evidence. It is not provisional or contingent, as are scientific hypotheses - it will not be revised or discarded with new evidence. It is belief in an un-testable, often unknowable something, and pride in this belief.
In other words, faith is not simply assumption without evidence, but proud assumption in spite of it: one knows one believes without proof, and one is glad of it. While some religious minds are more comfortable with doubt, it remains a hallmark of the Judaeo-Christian religions that faith goes hand-in-hand with a certain pleased conviction: if not in one's own salvation, then certainly in the existence of a transcendent deity.
This is not generally true of science. Scientists may become accustomed to their assumptions - resting on their cosmological laurels, so to speak. Hence Davies' bold criticism. But working scientists usually have good reasons for believing that 'the way things are' is a necessary part of reality: it works. The success of science in predicting and controlling the world gives many scientists rightful confidence in the truth of their belief. This might not be accurate, but it is a reasonable assumption. And given good evidence that the cosmos might be otherwise, most scientists may respond with bias, haste or anger, but not with happy denial of evidence in general.
The comments (294) are also the usual interesting grab-bag.