Perfect Happiness Requires Perfect Ignorance

Happiness and Ignorance - This is gonna get me in trouble. Found this cartoon on Athiest Perspective via Reddit. The child's question exposes a flaw in the logic of his Christian father. Such flaws abound, but don't cause much concern to the devout since faith is beyond reason.

Even science tries to hide behind their faith. As papa Karl Popper declared, scientific theories can NEVER be proven. Scientific theories can only be disproven--or shown to be false. So I cannot prove that the theory of evolution is correct. Results of experiments support a theory, but can never prove it is accurate (a la the black swan problem). But one result can disprove a theory. A single result that goes against a theory's prediction will accordingly disprove the theory.

Since scientists cannot prove their theories are correct, scientist effectively act on faith that their theories are accurate, just as Christians act on their faith that heaven and hell exist.

The difference is that "scientific" theories must be open to being proven wrong. That is, scientific theories must be structured so that they can be proven wrong--that a result can disprove the theory.

That is where scientific faith ends. Once a result proves the scientific theory is wrong, scientists must come up with another theory in their never ending quest for truth. "Never ending quest" isn't cliche since, again, according to Popper, ALL theories are wrong or incomplete.

Which isn't to say a wrong theory is not useful. Newtonian physics was proven wrong by Einstein's theories, yet we still use use Newtonian physics because, though not entirely accurate, in many cases the theory's predictions are good enough.

Religious faith has no such endpoint or acknowledgment. Faith goes beyond reason. Faith is personal and is not structured so that it can be disproved.

Can religious faith be inaccurate but good enough?

Cartoon source - Perfect happiness requires perfect ignorance

The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper

Related Posts