linking back to

My lab:

Apparently, not much, according to this quote by Daniel Sarewitz: “For those who cannot follow the mathematics, belief in the Higgs is an act of faith, not of rationality” in a recent article in the journal Nature. This sentiment echoes that of many creationists and other religious fundamentalists who vehemently try to smear science as just another religion (oddly enough for people who don't usually use the word 'religion' with such a negative connotation). Richard Dawkins has a very good reply to such notions (from 1997) and it's quite sad that the journal that calls itself "the no. 1 weekly science journal" is now supporting religious zealots all over the world with such blatant nonsense.

Thank you, Daniel Sarewitz and Nature, now the religious nutcases can cite 'a world-leading science journal' when they claim that science is just another religion. I guess a good way of understanding this strange perspective is to see it as the author of this blog post: if you don't understand science, the differences between science and religion get blurred, sort of like many uneducated people in a certain North-American country may think Africa or Europe are countries.

Well, Dr. Sarewitz, I have some hard to swallow news for you: neither Europe nor Africa are countries but continents with many countries inside of them. Instead of wasting the precious space at Nature (they have so little room they can only accommodate 8% of the articles scientists want to publish there) by reinforcing and promoting ignorant falsehoods, someone should have spent these pages explaining how science is different from religion and how religion, if anything, resembles more a contagious disease that infects people and causes all kind of harm, to speak with Richard Dawkins in the piece linked above.

For instance, one could have written that physicists, unlike priests, actually get answers from the entity they're posing their questions to. It's what makes the difference between an experiment, where scientists ask nature questions, and prayer, where people talk to an invisible person which they usually perceive as an old white guy with a beard, hovering somewhere in the sky. Or at least it is most often referred to with male pronouns.

For another instance, the results of experiments can be observed by other people, whereas the answers of the invisible being are usually in the head of one person only - at least there has not been any confirmation of any recorded answer. Another difference is that scientists actually can be unambiguously wrong, unlike most priests. More differences can be observed when the predictions of science are compared with the predictions of religions.

I could go on, but for most of the three readers of this obscure blog the differences between science and religion should be fairly obvious, at least, more obvious than they seem to be for Dr. Sarewitz at Nature.

UPDATE: Just to make this point crystal clear, in case it wasn't already: the contrast between science and religion is so stark and crisp, that you need not even be able to read or write to comprehend it, let alone be an expert mathematician or scientist. Thus, there is no faith involved in the decision about whether or not the evidence is sufficient to claim that the Higgs boson exists.
Posted on Wednesday 22 August 2012 - 16:32:06 comment: 0

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