Science: Just another Leap of Faith?

When something is “scientific fact”, what does that really mean? As a scientist, I am constantly trying to analyse other peoples’ work and discoveries, and yet when we are told something is “science”, we instinctively accept it as truth. These are not one and the same! I want you to start doubting what you think you know and open your mind up to possibility, because without this, there would be no science.

So, let’s start with what we know. Well obviously the Earth is not flat, you cannot turn lead into gold and humans have evolved from apes. But have we really? Have you looked into the evidence for yourself? Because I have, and recent fossil findings suggest that humans and apes lived alongside each other; there was no steady progression from one to another. True evolutionists know this and believe that we have a common ancestor, nothing more. But doesn’t that explain the mere 1% difference between chimpanzee and human DNA you ask? Another myth I say! In 2006, Matthew Hahn took into account the chunks of missing DNA, the extra genes, the altered connections in gene networks and discovered that there is in fact a 6.4% difference. Granted, that doesn’t sound like much, but if we share 50% of our DNA with a banana and 60% with a fruit fly, I’m pretty sure a little difference goes a long way in the human genome.

The precision of science is another common misconception: it is, quite frankly, an imperfect art. If you’ve ever experienced the novelty of performing your own scientific experiment, you will know that when you repeat it, even if every variable is controlled as much as is humanly possible, the end result still may not be identical. When you look at science as more of a rough trial-and-error-and-explain-with-a-somewhat-logical-hypothesis-and-try-again approach, you’ll start to see that, actually, we should be questioning a lot more than we do.

As for those of you who believe science and religion are mutually exclusive, I ask you to consider history. During the middle ages, science, religion and spirituality were virtually inseparable; even well-respected scientists like Isaac Newton dabbled in alchemy. Astronomy used to be a way of telling the future. Witch-doctors used to cure illnesses with magic and one study found that some of these actually worked. Impossible you might think? Well what do you really know? Let’s face the facts. Science is and always has been what people think they know using evidence that can be interpreted in a number of ways. It is rarely ever truth. It is subjective. It is often proven wrong. And yet, we believe.

Now that science and religion have gone their separate ways, we have started to reject faith (atheism is increasing in scientifically advancing societies), and we do this unquestioningly in the name of science. It seems, the more scientific “fact” there is out there, the less willing we are to believe in what we can’t currently explain, even though we are aware that science is flawed. Have you ever really thought about the Big Bang theory? The idea that absolutely everything in this entire universe originates from a microscopic single point in the fabric of space and time, which exploded for some unknown reason? A theory that relies on the existence of dark matter, which we cannot prove exists, and is just as abstract and yet apparently more believable than the idea of a creator, whom we cannot prove exists? Why are we so willing to accept one as truth and dismiss the other?

Please don’t mistake my intentions. The aim of this article is most definitely not to alter your view on religion. I just want to make the comparison clear: science and religion aren’t so different after all. Religion, like science, still has much to teach us. Science, like religion, is often a leap of faith. It is not meant to be such; we are supposed to hear scientific theories and pick holes in them until they resemble Swiss cheese. But we don’t. We don’t take new scientific understanding as proof of how amazing and wondrous the world can be, making us challenge what we think we know just a little more. We don’t use these advancements as a reminder of how little we actually understand and how far science is yet to progress. Instead, every discovery being made just closes our minds to one more possibility.

And so I ask, if the whole point of science is to analyse, why do we find ourselves believing unconditionally? And if the whole point of religion is to have faith, why are we constantly criticising? What is the difference between one leap of faith and another?

Doñah Sabbagh


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