Superstition and Science Essay - 644 Words

The problems with this definition of science are myriad. First, it is essentially circular: science simply is what scientists do. Second, the high confidence in funding and peer-review panels should seem misplaced to anyone who has served on these panels and witnessed the extent to which preconceived notions, personal vendettas, and the like can torpedo even the best proposals. Moreover, simplistically defining science by its institutions is complicated by the ample history of scientific institutions that have been notoriously unreliable. Consider the decades during which Soviet biology was dominated by the ideologically motivated theories of the geneticist Trofim Lysenko, who rejected Mendelian genetics as inconsistent with Marxism and insisted that acquired characteristics could be inherited. An observer who distinguishes good science from bad science “by reference to institutional factors” alone would have difficulty seeing the difference between the unproductive and corrupt genetics in the Soviet Union and the fruitful research of Watson and Crick in 1950s Cambridge. Can we be certain that there are not sub-disciplines of science in which even today most scientists accept without question theories that will in the future be shown to be as preposterous as Lysenkoism? Many working scientists can surely think of at least one candidate — that is, a theory widely accepted in their field that is almost certainly false, even preposterous.

SCIENCE VERSUS SUPERSTITIONS Science has changed the living of a man's life

Some creationists cite what they say is an incomplete fossil record as evidence for the failure of evolutionary theory. The fossil record was incomplete in Darwin's time, but many of the important gaps that existed then have been filled by subsequent paleontological research. Perhaps the most persuasive fossil evidence for evolution is the consistency of the sequence of fossils from early to recent. Nowhere on Earth do we find, for example, mammals in Devonian (the age of fishes) strata, or human fossils coexisting with dinosaur remains. Undisturbed strata with simple unicellular organisms predate those with multicellular organisms, and invertebrates precede vertebrates; nowhere has this sequence been found inverted. Fossils from adjacent strata are more similar than fossils from temporally distant strata. The most reasonable scientific conclusion that can be drawn from the fossil record is that descent with modification has taken place as stated in evolutionary theory.


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I am neither Christian nor Jew; but I would stand with the Jews against all enemies. Why? Because I respect the devoted life, and the Jews are the very definition of devoted life. They are defined by their relation to their god. And anyone who seeks Truth, whatever their religious beliefs, will honor that.


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There are pessimists who hold that such a state of affairs is necessarilyinherent in human nature; it is those who propound such views that arethe enemies of true religion, for they imply thereby that religious teachingsare utopian ideals and unsuited to afford guidance in human affairs. Thestudy of the social patterns in certain so-called primitive cultures, however,seems to have made it sufficiently evident that such a defeatist view iswholly unwarranted. Whoever is concerned with this problem, a crucial onein the study of religion as such, is advised to read the description ofthe Pueblo Indians in Ruth Benedict's book, .Under the hardest living conditions, this tribe has apparently accomplishedthe difficult task of delivering its people from the scourge of competitivespirit and of fostering in it a temperate, cooperative conduct of life,free of external pressure and without any curtailment of happiness.

Science vs. Superstition - The Liberator

An additional strength of the falsifiability criterion is that it makes possible a clear distinction between science properly speaking and the opinions of scientists on nonscientific subjects. We have seen in recent years a growing tendency to treat as “scientific” anything that scientists say or believe. The , for example, have often been described, both within the scientific community and in the mass media, as clashes between science and religion. It is true that many, but by no means all, of the most vocal defenders of embryonic stem cell research were scientists, and that many, but by no means all, of its most vocal opponents were religious. But in fact, there was little science being disputed: the central controversy was between two opposing views on a particular ethical dilemma, neither of which was inherently more scientific than the other. If we confine our definition of the scientific to the falsifiable, we clearly will not conclude that a particular ethical view is dictated by science just because it is the view of a substantial number of scientists. The same logic applies to the judgments of scientists on political, aesthetic, or other nonscientific issues. If a poll shows that a large majority of scientists prefers neutral colors in bathrooms, for example, it does not follow that this preference is “scientific.”

Religious Superstition vs Science ..

Harris is aware that external circumstances play a vital role in our sense of well-being, and he summarizes some research that addresses these factors. But most of this research is soft science of the very softest sort — questionnaire surveys that ask people in a variety of circumstances about their feelings of happiness. As Harris himself notes, most of the results tell us nothing we did not already know. (Unsurprisingly, Harris, an atheist polemicist, fails to acknowledge any studies that have supported a spiritual or religious component in happiness.) Moreover, there is reason for questioning to what extent the self-reported “happiness” in population surveys relates to real happiness. that both states and countries with high rates of reported “happiness” also have high rates of suicide suggest that people’s answers to surveys may not always provide a reliable indicator of societal well-being, or even of happiness.