The Atheist, the Agnostic & the Scientist

  (24 May 08)
  by Greg Spearritt

David Miller argues for agnosticism as the position most compatible with science.

"As an agnostic", says Miller, "I do battle with the defenders of the faith. Not only with the theists but also with the militant atheists who hold science as their religion."

 

3 comments

David, you are to be commended for your middle of the way stand for agnosticism.It seems to me to be a logically argued position to see both ways and moderat the excesses of each so that you free up the party line from the "truth"
Robert

Posted by robert halsey

Bishop John Spong says religion is about people needing security, not about the finding the truth. Science, however, should be about the truth, yet I'm continually amazed at how partisan scientists seem to be. The idea that scientists should be glad to be proved wrong seems to fall into the same category as the notion that Christians should love their enemies: a worthy aim but seldom enacted.

Posted by Greg Spearritt

There seems to be an important difference between "scientists being proved wrong" and "Science being proved wrong". And of course it is related to "revealing the truth" and saying "what is true". Scientists working scientifically are always trying to discover whether their working hypothesis or theory is true or not. Here "true" means "on course" (like a ship).. closer to the next testable idea: "no" is as useful as "yes".. It makes no sense to suggest that the scientist has a claim on any transcendental truth outside the cumulative account of "errors discarded". Each new step is founded on an act of informed imagination. The informed imagination clears the path for the science to follow. In addition to a rational account to human knowledge, Science (the product of scientific work) provides lots of material for speculation. But we can easily forget that scientific knowledge of nature cannot go beyond the process by which the knowledge has been achieved: the human imagination and experimental skills that have created the science. Scientists sometimes gain notoriety when they climb the ladder of science and find themselves in the belfrey of religious speculation. Then we can fall into the error of attacking the ladder.

Posted by Garth Everson

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