“Faith is a belief held without evidence. The scientific method, a loose collection of procedures of great variety, is based on precisely the opposite concept, as famously declared by Thomas Henry Huxley:
The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.
Huxley was one of a long tradition of British sceptical philosophers. From the Bacons, through the likes of Locke, Hume and Russell, to the magnificent climax of Popper’s statement of the principle of falsifiability, the scientific method was painfully established, only to be abandoned in a few short decades. It is one of the great ironies of modern history that the nation that was the cradle of the scientific method came to lead the process of its abandonment. The great difference, then, is that religion demands belief, while science requires disbelief. There is a great variety of faiths. Atheism is just as much a faith as theism. There is no evidence either way. There is no fundamental clash between faith and science – they do not intersect. The difficulties arise, however, when one pretends to be the other.
The Royal Society, as a major part of the flowering of the tradition, was founded on the basis of scepticism. Its motto “On the word of no one” was a stout affirmation. Now suddenly, following their successful coup, the Greens have changed this motto of centuries to one that manages to be both banal and sinister – “Respect the facts.” When people start talking about “the facts” it is time to start looking for the fictions. Real science does not talk about facts; it talks about observations, which might turn out to be inaccurate or even irrelevant.
The global warmers like to use the name of science, but they do not like its methods. They promote slogans such a “The science is settled” when real scientists know that science is never settled. They were not, however, always so wise. In 1900, for example, the great Lord Kelvin famously stated, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” Within a few years classical physics was shattered by Einstein and his contemporaries. Since then, in science, the debate is never closed.
The world might (or might not) have warmed by a fraction of a degree. This might (or might not) be all (or in part) due to the activities of mankind. It all depends on the quality of observations and the validity of various hypotheses. Science is at ease with this situation. It accepts various theories, such as gravitation or evolution, as the least bad available and of the most practical use, but it does not believe. Religion is different…
Read the complete article by John Brignell here: http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/religion.htm