Faithful to Science

blog on science and religion

Tag: New Scientist magazine

Mathematics is not as much about finding proofs as it is about finding concepts

Added note. This is a note added for readers in the Oxford area.

I am giving a lecture at Headington Baptist Church on 12 September. Doors open at 7:30pm; talk from 8:00pm, with questions and discussion afterwards. The subject is basically the theme of this blog and my book of the same name. The venue is the church building at 78 Old High Street, Headington, Oxford OX3 9HW; click here for a map.


 

Reading New Scientist magazine this week I came across a statement I very much like:

 “Mathematics is not as much about finding proofs as it is about finding concepts.”

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Humpty Dumpty

Here is a letter that was published in New Scientist magazine about two months ago.

“I was intrigued by your claim that science is not a belief system (4 April, p.5). Surely what it is not is a faith system. Science is belief based on evidence: faith, on the other hand, is belief irrespective of evidence.

“Science gives rise to beliefs that fit the existing evidence, allowing for them to change should new evidence make that sensible.

“Faith takes beliefs and puts them on an untouchable pedestal where they remain, no matter what contradictory evidence there is.

“Most of us frequently employ a fairly scientific belief system. Take the simple example of the day of the week. When I woke up this morning, I believed it to be Thursday, based on the evidence of my memory. Had I then looked at my computer, my phone and a newspaper and seen that day given as Friday, I would have changed my belief, trusting the evidence of the computer, phone and newspaper over my memory. However, if I applied a faith-based belief system, I would have refused to take note of the contrary evidence and insisted that the day was Thursday, no matter what.

“It is lack of faith, not lack of belief, that makes science so special and so wonderful.”

Kate Szell, London, UK

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