Friday, October 02, 2009

Neither Atheism nor Science Require “Faith”

Arguments I encounter constantly from Christians is that atheism requires as much faith as theism, because one cannot prove there is no God, and that science is just a different form of religion. Rather than having “faith” in God, one has “faith” in science. In other words, we have raised science to the status of a god.

Nice try guys but no. Allow me to explain why neither atheism nor science requires “faith.”

Let’s start with atheism. Atheism is simply the absence of belief. It is the null hypothesis. One does not believe in something unless there is adequate evidence to demonstrate that believing would be rational. Or at least so-called rational human being shouldn’t believe is something without adequate evidence.

Different people require different levels of evidence to believe. An atheist simply is not convinced that the evidence for the existence of God is adequate. It requires no “faith;” just as non-belief in leprechauns, fairies, Santa Claus and Purple Unicorns requires no “faith.”

Christians also like to argue that atheism is just another religion, usually when they’re trying to get around the 1st Amendment somehow. Nope, that’s wrong, calling atheism a religion is equivalent to calling not collecting stamps a hobby.

Now let’s talk about science. Faith implies the acceptance of something despite a lack of evidence. If you are a Christian you believe in Heaven even though there is absolutely no evidence that Heaven, or anything even vaguely similar to Heaven, exists or even can exist.

I don’t have “faith” in science, I have “confidence” in science, and that confidence is based upon the overwhelming success that science has had. Look all around you at technology. Modern society is the offspring of science. Its science that feeds you, provides you with fresh water, keeps you warm, entertains you and wards off pestilence.

I don’t need faith when the evidence all around me of the effectiveness of science speaks for itself.

It really is all a matter of weighing the evidence and working out the probabilities. Religion has NEVER been right about the operation of the natural world while science has been right an overwhelming amount of the time. Even when science has been wrong, its self corrective nature eventually weeds out errors. When has religion EVER admitted to being wrong without a war and lots of bloodshed, or the threat of a war and lots of bloodshed?

In any disagreement between religion and science it seems to me that the odds are about 999,999 to 1 that science is right.

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