How Does Science Work? Believers Need to Become Scientifically Literate

Isn't it interesting that the more someone becomes scientifically literate the less is believed? It's not just the conclusions reached, although that is clearly important, it's understanding the process of how science itself works. Believers love to focus on the demarcation line between science and non-science, on cutting edge science which is still as yet unsettled, and ask endless questions about the precise description of the scientific method. But only by truly understanding how science works can they see why faith is an utterly unreliable method for understanding the nature and workings of the universe. To understand this process I heartily recommend the following books. According to one of them, written by Dennis Trumble, "For many people of faith the issue isn't about determining which beliefs are true and which ones are false but, rather, deciding which beliefs are good and which are bad." (p. 30).

In no particular order here they are:

Richard Dawkins, "The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True"

Donald R Prothero, "Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future"

Dennis R. Trumble, "The Way of Science: Finding Truth and Meaning in a Scientific Worldview"

Mike Mcrae "Tribal Science: Brains, Beliefs, and Bad Ideas"

Victor Stenger, "God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion"

Carl Sagan, "The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark"

Jerry Coyne is writing such a book, which I think could possibly be the best one of the lot. At the present time Stenger's book is the best.

Now for a practical book, one that shows how science worked and how it changed the modern world.

Steven Johnson, "The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World"

If you want a great primer on the existence of a multiverse watch this PBS program. Take particular note of how cutting edge science works.

Watch The Fabric of the Cosmos: Universe or Multiverse? on PBS. See more from NOVA.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I find it astonishing that some folks demand what amounts to an absolute, irrefutable, universally accepted disproof of an entity which they, themselves, are unable to prove exists.

A prime example is one commentator, who in his challenge to atheists defines acceptable as:

"that has done the following within the constraints of empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable scientific methodology:

a) Explore every cubic inch, every cubic angstrom of space, during every femtosecond of time – historically, current, and future, for a deity which is not material in any sense, with instrumentation data on the lack of discovery
at every point onthe universe;"

This is an astonishing reversal of the burden of proof for something that, supposedly, is everywhere at every time.

It does seem as if some believers will go to astonishing lengths to erect barriers around their cherished beliefs.