Scientific Skepticism

There are those that claim that “faith in science is just as blind as fundamentalist religious faith.” That statement demonstrates an inherent misunderstanding of how science works. I talked about this is a previous post, but recent events got me thinking about it again.

For someone who’s world-view is based on evidence rather than faith, nothing is ever 100% certain. That’s the whole point. No matter what I believe about a subject, it’s always possible that I don’t have all the information and could be wrong. The only way I could be 100% certain is if I’m omniscient, which my wife can assure you that I’m not. You can be extremely confident, so much so that you base your life decisions on it, but never 100% certain.

While this may be uncomfortable to some, I think it’s beautiful. The willingness to be wrong is one of the values I admire most in my heroes. Accepting your errors means that you’re always striving for a greater understanding of the world around you, which I think is pretty darn cool.

As a wonderful example that just came across my computer screen, check out this scientist’s reaction to finding out that his life’s work has been validated. Not, “I knew it!” Not, “I’m awesome!”. It’s, “boy I hope it’s true, I’d hate to believe something false just because it’s beautiful.”