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I am a new parent. My interests are secularism, learning, parenting, religion, career planning, and adult education.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Science Doesn't Require Faith!

Every couple of years it seems I have a conversation with a religious person about some scientific principle or theory. Now, I'm not a scientist myself, but I do enjoy learning about the world and what scientists have discovered and what they continue to find. And even when I was religious, I never equated "believing in science" with "beliving in God". I believed what science said, because I could really review the evidence for myself. I believed in God, well because I wanted too and had reasons for doing so that had everything to do with magical thinking regarding interesting coincidences in my personal life and a great amount of confirmation bias that caused me to only "see" the things that confirmed my faith and to ignore the things that contradicted it. Of course, I didn't see it that way at the time.

So I can't for the life of me understand why, when the topic of evolution comes up, religious people often end conversations on the topic of evolution vs. creationism with "well, you have faith in evolution and I have faith in creationism - it all comes down to faith." It doesn't.

Let me put it this way. I actually do think the bible defines faith quite well in Hebrews 11:1

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Faith is all about hope and a substitute for understanding the things that can't be seen. Science, on the other hand, can be described as this:

Science is the process of asking questions, and testing hypotheses through observation, experimentation, and data collection, which produces evidence to discover and explain what can be seen.

I really think that if science classes in primary and seconday school focused more on scientific process rather and memorization of scientific facts, people would see that scientific "facts" are grounded in observable evidence and do not need to just be taken on faith. Enough ranting for now.

In related news, the children's book Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be by Daniel Loxton has been recognized as the Best Canadian Science Book for Young Readers. I highly recommend it!