Pharyngula

Flowcharts for science and faith

A reader sent me a wonderful diagram from Wellington Grey, contrasting faith and science—I see that somebody sent it to Omnibrain, too.

Here’s how science works—it’s got that all-important feedback loop from real-world evidence to our interpretations, so it’s grounded in something other than our fantasies, but it’s also complicated and messy and constantly changing.

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Here’s faith. Wow. It’s so simple. It’s so clean. No wonder some people find it so appealing.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a lot of people who’d look at these two cartoons and even while understanding both, would decide that faith is the path for them.

Comments

  1. #1 Scott Hatfield
    February 20, 2007

    (prodding) Dawkins has suggested something along the lines of getting Jesus’s DNA and determining if he had a human father; if it could be shown that there was no evidence of parthenogenesis, would I be ‘justified’ in rejecting the claim of deity? Conversely, if evidence of parthenogenesis was discovered, would you be ‘justified’ in revising your claim, above?

    Perhaps that is too crude? How about something less polar than ‘justified’ or ‘not justified’, along the lines of more or less confident? What do you think? Because while some claims are impossible to falsify, they do tend to lead to expected consequences which could be falsified. I realize that either of us could probably “ressurect” our previous position by positing some ad hoc condition, but don’t you think it’s at least possible that either of our confidences might be shaken?

    BTW, if you can’t tell, it’s not all black-and-white with me. I don’t claim that I have any evidence that points directly to Jesus’s divinity. It can’t be demonstrated rationally. I’m willing to abandon it, in my mind, if sufficient evidence can be brought to bear to the counter-claim. Establishing Jesus’s lineage, though highly improbable, would be one such class of evidence.

    Surely you could identify a circumstance that might cause you to rethink your position? Or do you want to be in the strange position of a skeptic who holds their views less provisionally than a self-described ‘believer’? I’m not trying to be a smartass or an obscurantist. I just think that the nature of belief is poorly examined by all of us, and attempting to understand it purely through the filter of evidence-based reasoning misses the experiential quality of faith that so many believers find compelling.
    I invite you to continue that discussion with me outside this forum, lest I be accused of evangelizing or some such crap. I have no agenda, only curiousity….SH

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