Re: Science and Religion

Tue, 10 Oct 1995 11:48:00 PDT

Ottenheimer replies:

"... there are still grounds upon which people who are
doing science stand which are accepted as basic axioms without
testing much as there are those in religion. These concern the very
nature of the enterprise: viz, that there are natural rules governing
objects which are knowable, etc."

Ottenheimer is quite correct; however, we might note that if it
could be demonstrated that no "natural rules" succeeed in providing an
adequate accounting for the nature of the observable and observed world, then
(if we are good scientists) we would chuck the scientific enterprise out of
the window. As an agnostic I might have the same viewpoint about
religion; as a religious person (or at least as I understand religion from my
Protestant heritage) I would exclude testing the foundation of my beliefs
as part of my belief system: "Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief."

Axioms in science are assertions held to be self-evident; the very nature of
religous belief requires acceptance of assertions that are not held to be
self-evident. I would suggest that both are similar in using certain
assertions as "primitives", but differ in terms of the status of these
primitives with respect to observation and ordinary experience.