Friday, November 14, 2008

Science is a Religion, Too


Both religion and science start with basic assumptions that cannot be proved but are taken on faith. Here I note that one basic assumption that is rather common in both enterprises is the assumption that in comparing different hypotheses that all equally explain the observations, the simpler hypotheses are more probable (Occam's razor or the law of parsimony). That is, explanations should be made as simple at possible (though no simpler, since then they would not explain what is observed).

NYU


Anything can become a religion if:

* People put faith in it as an organizing principle
* They see anything that is not-It as the enemy
* They feel a personal reward for believing in it
* They believe it is correct above all else

That's what defines a religion; it's also what defines a cult.

In the hands of the Crowd, ideas get dumbed down and become religious, and then are used to attack and divide the social order so that individuals in the Crowd feel less likely to find themselves at fault by community standards.

Secular humanism is a religion. Liberalism is a religion.

Economics is a religion. Science is a religion.

Drugs can be a religion. Popular culture is a religion.

Is everything a religion? Depends on the person doing the interpretation. Smart people have one religion, which is reality, and they see everything else as a viewpoint to that end; dumb and/or confused people run from religion to religion, never seeing the common truth and lacking non-elected, free-to-speak-their-mind leaders to guide them.

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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