Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Having faith" and "having faith in God"

Let's say Marc Hauser's students did not complain about his misconduct. In that case, no one would know that Hauser's works are flawed.

And let's also say that the entire scientific community believes Hauser's reports and does not think it necessary to recreate Hauser's experiment. And Hauser's work is being made reference by many other scientists in their own field as a main supporting argument for their own work. And so Hauser's research is recognized as established scientific data.

Soon, other scientists and educators will just have to cite Hauser's work as an established fact. They will perhaps start their citation in this way, "Scientists have established the fact that..." And so the whole world would come to believe that Hauser has provided a factual finding.

Here is how Michael Ruse described Robert K. Merton's observation: "...science is a community activity. Scientists may not always work together, although of course that is now very much the norm, but they do rely on each other, particularly for the ideas and theories that they use in their own research. In turn, they contribute—and want to contribute—to the general pool of knowledge."

Now, if it is true that Hauser's work is a fraud and no one found out about it, does that make it an established scientific fact?

Yes, it is an established scientific fact as believed by the whole world. But if it is a fraud, it is not a true fact. And the whole world regards this finding as truth by faith, without knowing that it is a fabrication.

Some scientists think that 'faith' is a bad word that connotes irrationality, falsehood, unreasonableness, closed-mindedness, non-objective, etc.

Worse, some atheists cite (and so unreservedly believe) these scientists as an authority to support their own atheistic stance without knowing that their dependence on scientists' claims is an act of faith. Their ignorant despise on those who practice faith is in fact a despise on themselves.

Here is an important question: How many scientists or students of science out there in the world conduct and repeat all the experiments cited in their own report? If no, then the scientific practice and education itself are inevitably grounded on faith; receiving knowledge that are passed down from the tradition of the community by having faith that these knowledge are established truth.

There is a difference between practicing faith and practicing faith in God. Everyone practices faith, while not everyone practices faith in God. Militant atheists charge Christians for being guilty of both. But the matter of debate is really on the latter practice. Christians have long acknowledged the former practice, while the militant atheists are still very antagonistic about it to the extend of denying it.

The debate on practicing faith in God is still not settled. But the Christians at least got the former practice right.

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