Re: Science and Religion

Matthew S. Tomaso (Tomaso@MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU)
Sat, 7 Oct 1995 10:18:50 -0500

I stand more-or-less with Jay and Dwight on this one. There is, in science
and religion, something called faith which has to do with believing received
knowledge without personally testing it. For example, most scientists
believe in the laws of thermodynamics, but have never consciously tested
them. Some of the received knowledge we get is good, some is bad.
Hopefully, science emphasizes received knowledge less than religion (though
I am often unsure of this even <especially> in my own science) The rote
application of general principles of received knowledge, taken on faith and
used uncritically for interpretive purposes, is bad science. In other
words, application of untested theoretical models or working hypotheses as
assumptions can cripple analysis. The corollary, of course, that religion
has anything in addition to received knowledge, is more difficult to show,
but religions do seem to adapt to their social environments (just look at
the Pope's recent travels) !

Matt Tomaso.
Anthropology. University of Texas at Austin.
Phone/Fax 512-453-6256