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Scientists Take Themselves Seriously

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Posted by John Morgan Powell on February 5, 2001 18:03:18 UTC


You wrote:
"i just figure it's a dangerous thing for either camp to take themselves and their beliefs (mine included) too seriously"

To do something "too much" is, by definition, bad. How much, however, is being "too" serious in the God/Science debate?

Scientists take themselves seriously because they see no other reasonable explanation for reality. The continued progress of humanity depends on making correct decisions about the universe we live in. Are we going to base those decisions on modern interpretations of the superstitious beliefs of shepherds and fishermen of thousands of years ago or on the best science today? Religious people take themselves seriously because they desperately want their beliefs to be true. If they're wrong then life has less meaning for them.

I see the scientist as the instructor of a group of skydivers. The instructor/scientist carefully warns the participants of the rules of the activity. He speaks as if nature behaves reliably every time. Expressed with the greatest seriousness he can, he warns that if you can't get your chute pulled, you will die, no exceptions.

Your statement seems like the foolish reply of a participant. You tell the instructor not to take himself so seriously. He could be wrong. You mention that you've heard of people that jumped out of airplanes and survived. You claim to believe there are laws of aerodynamics that go way beyond the instructor's knowledge. You believe this super-scientific knowledge available from God could allow you to survive without a parchute. You believe God can save you even if your chute fails if you have faith in him.

The instructor warns that it's not something to rely on even if the amazing survival stories were true. He argues that the circumstances for chute-less survival must have been special, but not supernatural, if they occurred at all.

You wrote:
"life's too short, and if it's all serious, it ties the hands to further joy and exploration. circumstances can be rugged enough, it helps to dance between the downpours!"

True enough, but don't blissfully jump out of the airplane without a parachute. Be assured that the only dancing you'll do will be on the way down.

What do you think?

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