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Author: centromere Big red star, 1000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 24926  
Subject: Re: Science, a faith-based system Date: 11/27/2007 11:50 PM
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That discussion has already been going on for days.

Actually it has been going on for centuries. It's the old problem of induction made famous by Hume.

I don't think Davies said anything that is particularly wrong or particularly novel. Scientists do assume that the universe behaves in a manner that is logical and consistent, that what is demonstrably true today will be demonstrably true tomorrow. What justifies that assumption is past experience, the collection of observations that indicate the universe can be described by laws that are logically consistent and, at least so far, constant. It is an inductive belief dictated by a long history of observations and experiments.

What Hume points out is that there is no logical necessity for the future to be consistent with the past. So when scientists assume that past and current observations of the universe will be relevant to future observations, which is what scientists do, that is a belief that cannot be proved. Belief in the absence of logical proof or necessity is a leap of faith.

I'm not sure why that is suddenly so controversial.

Science doesn't eliminate the need for "faith", it simply provides a methodology for testing those beliefs that are made on faith.
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