30 May 2006

Merapi, bird flu and creationism

Some people believe in mountain spirits, others in a biblical account of creation. Many others -- hopefully including some readers -- put their trust in scientific rationalism. But why do we believe in it? It's nothing more than faith and familiarity. So how is it different from believing in mountain spirits and a deity that worked 7 days in a row? Full essay.


Anonymous said...

I can tell you why I believe in scientific rationalism:

1) It proves daily that it works to a significant enough degree.

Although I do not doubt that not all scientific theory is correct, what it gets wrong has no real significant impact in our daily life currently and has no big logical flaws. Almost all of it can be proven by evidence if you bother to learn about it and you can rationally arrive at most conclusions with a clear cause and effect.

2) It does not make 'excuses' for things happening. The great thing about scientific rationalism is that if something happens that one cannot explain, then it goes about trying to explain it rationally by learning and expanding its knowledge. It does not conveniently find excuses such as 'Oh God is usually a nice dude but it just happens that he is punishing us for our sins by sending the Tsunami', which closes the mind to accepting anything new as everything has to be explained by some age-old tradition/custom/scripture/etc

Ben said...

Hi. I read your blog regularly and find it enjoyable and educational.
Unlike previous blogs, I didn't quite get your point.

For example, creationism doesn't address the issues how how we make daily decisions, understand the operational world around us, etc.

Early education, desensitization, and counter-desensitization are common strategies for any agenda.

SgEveryman said...

It is difficult for anyone, even for scientists when it is not their specialised field, to fully understand the processes and results of complex research.

However at the bottomline, the evidence is there if we care to get at it. Also, the scientific method is basically dependent on the use of our physical senses directly or otherwise. Science is an extension of how we interpret the world through the physical data we receive about it.

This is unlike religious beliefs which are basically unfalsifiable. Religionists talk about a being called god without ever directly experiencing meeting such a being.
At the same time, one can never prove this being does not exist (since non-existence can never ever be conclusively verified).

The charge that science is therefore just another cultural perspective cannot stand. There is a clear qualitative difference between scientific thinking on the one hand, and all the various religious beliefs on the other.