Saturday, December 04, 2004

Science vs. faith, in another context

Meteorologist Likens Fear of Global Warming to 'Religious Belief' (via WorldNetDaily): "[S]cience is not primarily a source of authority. It is a particularly effective approach of inquiry and analysis. Skepticism is essential to science -- consensus is foreign,' Lindzen said."

I can't recall the last time I've seen the issue framed as well and succinctly as this. The MIT professor makes the statement in the context of Global Warming, but the origins debates are an equally valid application. In both cases, it seems, the debate is dominated by extremist ideologues who want to claim the mantle of "good science" for claims which are not to be questioned. This is a misrepresentation of what science is.

Truth is neither relative nor determined by consensus, but it doesn't follow that we should fall into dogmatism or obscurantism either. If we are made in God's image, then we can and should freely apply our intellects to answering these sorts of questions. Those who want to shortcircuit such enquiry through appeals to either dogma or consensus are, I think, doing so out of insecurity about the certainty of their position.