Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Science and Belief

People develop belief systems trying to make sense out of their lives and the world around them.  Belief systems can and do answer all questions, leaving nothing to uncertainty.

Unfortunately, their answers are not always satisfactory nor factual.  However, belief system power structures usually come down hard on anyone who dares question their answers.  How hard depends on the degree of political power they wield at the time.

Consequently, those who would pursue factual verifiable truth must be to some extent non-believers since the belief systems have all the answers.  I tease some of my relatives that if it were not for atheists we would still be living in caves, lighting fire with sticks and believing the sun went around the earth.  Yet Atheism itself is a belief system in that one cannot prove or disprove there is a Higher Power. But it does free the mind to look for answers elsewhere than in sacred writings.

Belief systems have had a go at eliminating science and failed.  Science is having a go at eliminating belief systems and will also fail.  They deal with two separate issues – the knowable and the unknowable.

Science can only answer the WHAT, WHEN and WHERE of our lives and the earth around us.  Belief systems can only truly answer the WHO and WHY.  Using one to do the other’s work only leads to confusion, bitterness and ignorance.

Belief systems can be absolutely certain.  Science cannot.  Science can only be as certain as the facts before it today.  Tomorrow new research, new findings, new facts can add to what we know or completely turn it around.  The debate is NEVER over.  If science stops debating and only accepts one version, even when confronted with solid evidence, it becomes a belief system and is then totally useless to us.

One of these days, I will blog about my understanding of WHO and WHY.  The last sentence in my last blog about our homeless dog generated a few comments from my readers, as it was intended to do.  They deserve an answer.


  1. Nice. Really liked your take here. I don't describe myself as an atheist for the very reason you point out. It means I have instilled another belief system on myself.

    The one I have seems to work best for me.

    Who? Who cares?

    Why? Well, just because.

    I have my pants full keeping my own boat afloat. Never mind worrying about how others keep their's afloat.

    I break it all down to Physical and Spiritual. No matter what, I believe all of us have both inside us. Even atheists.

  2. If you have all the answers you haven't asked all the questions.

    Can't remember who said that, but it is a superb comment.

    Blessed Easter to you and all.


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