Monday, 7 March 2011

Should we challenge 'faith method' with 'scientific method'?

'scientific method': A topic that is important and fundamental to some members of Humanists4Science.

Wikipedia has been updating their scientific method page since 2003. As an aside, tt includes an interesting discussion on the definite article 'the'. Should we say 'the scientific method' or 'scientific method'?

In my view, as expressed in crabsallover comment to an Atheism* article about the views of a Muslim woman, (the) 'scientific method' should be used to challenge (the) 'faith method' of religions. In the comments section of this article I said:-

I like your term the 'method of faith' but I prefer to shorten it to the 'faith method' and contrast it to the 'scientific method'. A good way to challenge the 'faith method' is with the 'scientific method'.

The scientific method has been, by and large, spectacularly successful in the last couple of centuries and is the basis on which science, and our knowledge of the world, has progressed.
On evolution, humans are not animals but created by God.
Since Darwin, the scientific method has shown that Evolution by Natural Selection is how all life (including man!) has evolved.
The overwhelming impression I had from our conversation was that there seemed to be no conception of evidence and substantiation required for truth.
That is why we should be extolling science and the scientific method as the best ways of discovering about the world, whilst exposing the flaws in the 'faith method'.
The beliefs were held because that is what she had been exposed to, and they were, to her, unquestionably correct and those who had different beliefs were clearly wrong. And here we come to the fundamental flaw in the method of Faith, that it is belief decoupled from reality, which creates an environment where people can believe anything.
Well said! And faith can be highly emotive, strongly held and people can become offended (or even violent) when there faith is questioned.  Which is one reason why the 'faith method' is a successful strategy to propagate religions. Do ALL 'successfully' propagated religions rely on the 'faith method'?
Although, some of her beliefs could be regarded as prejudicial, luckily they didn’t seem to be that dangerous. But, and here is the danger of Faith, what happens if people who just accept what they are told, by those who they regard as authorities on the matter, are exposed to beliefs of a more extremist nature? The more people rely on Faith the more likely they are to become fundamentalists, and possibly a threat to others.
That is why it is vital that we challenge religious beliefs which use the 'faith method', with science which uses the 'scientific method'.

Atheism is Britain’s only distinctively atheist organization. Atheism challenges religious faith. Atheism’s ultimate goal is the end of faith and of religion, the social manifestation of faith.

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