Yup. Agree with that. But the point about religious belief is that it does not rest on a quest for new information. Isn’t there a reason why it’s called ‘blind faith’?
Can you specify which religion you are speaking off? See my point earlier, I think you are putting all religion into the same pot.
Hindu’s sacred texts are called Rig-Veda, which means: rig = invocation + Veda = knowledge, it isn’t called “Unquestionable truth repository” or “Praise The Only God There Is” :).
Here is a quote a small part of it.
Who knows and who can say, whence it was born and whence came this creation?
The Gods are later than this world’s creation. Who knows then whence it first came into being?
He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not,
He who surveys it all from his highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps even he does not!
Please let me know if you think the above can be called “blind faith” really…?
The confidence with which you make your statement above leads me to *believe* there is a chance you have read all sacred texts and know about all religion… which would make a scientifically true statement. However, as a Bayesian, I shall update my belief with the likelihood that an individual has read all sacred texts and knows all religion is tiny, and more so, the likelihood of a person who is not a theologian (by trade) is even slimmer!
My point, all through this debate, has been that we don’t have the evidence at the moment, and the evidence that we do have is pointing towards the non-existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Therefore, I see this as a belief system rather than scientific theory. My own argument is starting to take on a religious propensity, however, so this may be my final word on the topic… unless I’m provoked
Coincidentally, I just ended a meeting with a similar sentence in it: Our client want to use patient preferences studies to put highlight the value of their drug to HTA agencies that reimburse drugs. Some of the staff is not convinced that this will be a useful effort as there is no evidence it is a useful effort. Patient preference studies is a fairly new activity and so has not been carried out by many manufacturers… So in this case I am not sure that lack of evidence is revealing lack of use!
Anyhow, I digress, my point in this debate was that it’s not Black or White, and so it is neither Belief or Science, but somewhere in between, closer to science than faith… For inability to be science.
Another thing I want to say is that there is a difference between Mathematics, where you can prove things and reveal a ‘TRUTH’ about something, and physical/geological etc. sciences, where you test the validity of things against these truths… I think there is a nuance there.
Can you prove that a coin has a 1/2 chance of falling on head or tail? In mathematics, we use the limit of an equation towards when a variable nears infinity… to describe this, which to me is GREY between the ‘belief and theory’
I don’t know if this makes sense? Ultimately I think we’re saying the same thing.
Your suspicions are correct, Sumitra. I’m certainly no theologian and I’m speaking from essentially a monotheistic, predominantly Christian perspective. I know almost exactly nothing about Hindu.
My point is this: in my experience, people who have religious faith do so for many reasons – upbringing, culture, a life experience, religious study, whatever. But religious preachers and religious arguments tend to turn to religious and/or sacred texts, not scientific process. Is there a scientific process that is ever going to be capable of testing whether one religion is a true religion and that others are false? I suspect not. It is a matter of faith.
Believing/hypothesising/theorising/speculating about the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence is something that can be subjected to scientific process. Our technology may not be up to the job today. And if we were to search and search and search and find nothing, then the chance of there being extraterrestrial intelligence asymptotically* approaches zero. But it’s been a scientific process, not an unchallenged, unwavering belief. Therefore, believing that there may be extraterrestrial intelligence is not, in my view, the same thing as a religious belief.
To be clear, nothing I’ve said has argued that there is no God or that religion is pointless. I’m inclined to the Galileo view that (and I paraphrase) science teaches us about the heavens, the Bible teaches us how to get to heaven. But one is science and the other is religion. And belief in the existence of extraterristrial intelligence is in the former category, not the latter.
* At last: a chance to use my favourite word: ‘asymptotically’
“In the sense that Bayesian theory is in my view grounded in logic,” Sumitra may I ask what form of logic are you using? Because one can take an eclectic approach to information which can lead you in to the trap of sophism.
I’m not sure I can answer this vast question on a forum post.
What I can tell you is that what I do is to use scientific principles to guide policies, and such policies are currently done on an ad hoc basis due to its complexity: Lack of data, inability due to ethical reasons to gather certain data, data that is terribly complex to quantify, or quantitative data that is terribly complex for all stakeholders to understand, and so many stakeholders to bring a shared understanding to, end users who are unpredictable, heterogeneous etc… and so on.
It perhaps is not ‘science’ as you want to call it: CERN science, given the output of what we do is not “The True Answer”: There is no true answer, but it is using science to improve an ad hoc process which is used to make important decisions that affect the lives of people and that are often irreversible.
It is neither “eclectic”, and nor is it perfect. It is not based on Faith, but based on data, with numerous, unavoidable caveats. I think we’re more in the business of using science to make things ‘better’, than making ‘perfect’ science.
Reading my own answer to you, I find myself overly defensive, but unless I misread your post, or your tone – perhaps it is because I found your enquiry to be a little dismissive before you even know what we do, or try very hard to do…
I am sorry you find my enquiry to be a little dismissive that was not my intention, more to find out your thought process as I always believe that I still have a lot to learn and any input is valuable. I was asking a question to better understand.
Andy you are right about atoms being divisible but that was discovered based on evidence.
People I am going to leave this debate now because My position which is like Mike’s based on the evidence as it is presented now, I have not ever ruled out the possibility that evidence could emerge in the future to contradict my position and I will look at it and accept it if it is proved correct. I have always said we should still keep looking and that I accept new data can challenge our understanding i.e. Einstein who build on and improved Newton!
I have always understood the scientific method to include the posing of questions to test any theory and I will continue to do that, I do not want to people to think I am being derogatory or belittling of them so I will leave things here now.
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