faith (religious) n.
1. Belief uninfluenced by logical proof, material evidence, or by the results of empirical investigation.
2. Belief passed on from generation to generation, to be accepted without corroboration outside of what is provided by previous generation.
3. Highly confident belief resistant to reevaluation in the face of new evidence.
Examples of the religious type of faith include belief in a God, in an afterlife, in astrology, in gnomes, in ghosts, in racial or moral superiority, or in Homeopathy.
faith (scientific) n.
1. Firm belief resting on logical proof or on material evidence, but still relying on a religious faith in the consistency of logic (logic is taken as an axiom).
2. Belief (in a statistical likelyhood) resting on
induction on the results of empirical investigation.
3. Belief that is constantly subject to skeptical inquiry and to reevaluation in the face of new evidence.
Examples of scientific faith include the rising and setting of the sun, that an apple will fall to the earth when let go, that medication will have certain effects, that atoms exist, that rockets firing in certain ways will get someone to the moon, that a certain combination of circuits and electricity will give rise to a working computer or television, and of course, evolution.
As you can no doubt tell, there is an enormous difference between the religious type of faith and the scientific type of faith. The scientific type of faith is wholly derived from, and only interested in, how the world is observed to operate. If an apple is observed to fall to the ground every time it is let go, then so be it. Scientists have 'faith' that it will fall to the ground the next time it is let go. Of course, it may not fall to the ground. The rules of the universe may change unexpectedly, but scientific faith is doing the best with what it is given. While it may indeed be faith that the apple will fall when let go, no rational person would bet otherwise, because science works. It just so happens that the world tends to work the way it is observed to be.
Religous faith, on the other hand, is little interested in how the world actually works. Several examples come to mind, but for brevity I will only briefly recall one of the most famous. For a very long time the majority of Western Civilization believed that the Sun (and the rest of the universe with it) revolved around the Earth. This was a religious faith, passed from generation to generation, and so totally uninterested in the truth that its advocates were in denial (and even tried to supress the truth) for many years after Galileo uncovered evidence for heliocentrism with the newly developed telescope. The relationship between scientific and religious faith has followed a pattern similar to this on nearly every occasion. Scientific faith always eventually wins out, because it is based on truth and observation, not on fancy. With evolution, the pattern of course repeats itself.
Yes, while scientific faith has humble faith in logic, and in making inferences based on empirical investigation, religious faith is more interested in its own agenda and in its own conception of reality, than how the world really
Perhaps the most powerful piece of evidence in favor of the scientific form of faith is how those distrustful of it will so often choose it over religious faith. If, for instance, when purchasing a product, a religious zealot can choose a product developed by scientists or by those with only religious-faith-based credentials, the zealot would almost always choose scientific faith. If they had a choice between buying a CPU from Intel or from a religious person who sells them at twice the speed and half the price and made out of driftwood on eBay, they would choose Intel. If they had a disease, I think we can all agree that most would choose science over sitting under a copper pyramid devoloped by those with a religious faith in 'pyramid power'. Yes, they would trust with their lives those same scientists who believe in evolution, whose faith they so strongly disagree with.
By the way this is a fun game to play that can go on forever-- simply think of any of the infinite number of modern amenities whose construction relies on scientific faith (especially those that will injure or kill the user if they malfunciton), and ask a religious person to choose between the product developed by scientists, or by someone with a religious faith in their pyramid power technique or whatever.
These people would trust scientific faith to fly them across country in a jumbo jet, and yet, remaining incredibly ignorant of biology science and the type of scientific faith it involves, still have the ironic temerity to shun evolution, stepping off the airplane and saying science, go away, you are not needed anymore. Come back the next time I need you. Come back the next time I take medication or use a computer or drive a car or fly in a plane, or am told to wear sunscreen, or am given medical advice, or am told when the next meteor shower is going to be, or am told how hot to cook a steak, or use GPS to find my way. No, you're not needed until then. I'll use you when convenient, but when possible I will return to my seductive mistress religious faith to explain things in a way that I find more sexy than the truth.
In conclusion, both scientific claims and religious claims rely on a type of faith, it is just that religious faith de facto has no connection with reality, since it does not care to corroborate its claims with how things really are. Scientific faith, on the other hand, is, for all its faults, at least trying its best to understand how the world really works.