Science and belief essay

Now, back to my point. This whole “don’t believe in science” canard amounts to ackamarackus bordering on flimflam. Even if you were a 100 percent “denier” of climate change, that wouldn’t necessarily mean you don’t “believe” in science. Indeed, many of the hardcore rejectionists I know are really, really, really into the science of climate change (tell the guys at CEI they don’t believe in science, I dare you). They just tend to think the prevailing “consensus” is a politically and journalistically contrived sham. But even if you are a “denier” without being a science dork, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t believe in “science.” Rejecting one scientific finding — whether accurate or inaccurate — doesn’t mean you must reject all “science,” never mind suggest that you don’t “believe” in it.

For instance, how do the radio astronomers in Contact (the Jodie Foster movie based on Carl Sagan’s novel of the same name) infer the presence of extraterrestrial intelligence in the beeps and pauses they monitor from space? The researchers run signals through computers that are programmed to recognize many preset patterns. Signals that do not match any of the patterns pass through the “sieve” and are classified as random. After years of receiving apparently meaningless “random” signals, the researchers discover a pattern of beats and pauses that corresponds to the sequence of all the prime numbers between 2 and 101. (Prime numbers, of course, are those that are divisible only by themselves and by one.) When a sequence begins with 2 beats, then a pause, 3 beats, then a pause… and continues all the way to 101 beats, the researchers must infer the presence of an extraterrestrial intelligence.

We might think that there is a simple and straightforward solution to the Gettier problem. Note that my reasoning was tacitly based on my belief that the clock is working properly, and that this belief is false. This seems to explain what has gone wrong in this example. Accordingly, we might revise our analysis of knowledge by insisting that to constitute knowledge, a belief must be true and justified and must be formed without relying on any false beliefs. In other words, we might say, justification, truth, and belief are all necessary for knowledge, but they are not jointly sufficient for knowledge; there is a fourth condition – namely, that no false beliefs be essentially involved in the reasoning that led to the belief – which is also necessary.

The same types of responses are already being documented on divisive topics facing the current administration. Take the “Ground Zero mosque.” Using information from the political myth-busting site , a team at Ohio State presented subjects (PDF) with a detailed rebuttal to the claim that “Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam backing the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque, is a terrorist-sympathizer.” Yet among those who were aware of the rumor and believed it, fewer than a third changed their minds.

Science and belief essay

science and belief essay

The same types of responses are already being documented on divisive topics facing the current administration. Take the “Ground Zero mosque.” Using information from the political myth-busting site , a team at Ohio State presented subjects (PDF) with a detailed rebuttal to the claim that “Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam backing the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque, is a terrorist-sympathizer.” Yet among those who were aware of the rumor and believed it, fewer than a third changed their minds.

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