Do you believe it is accurate to say that all scientific research is conducted on the basis of faith?  Why or why not?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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One should never believe statements so general as to be meaningless and unprovable. One cannot make statements about "all scientific research" with knowing something about every piece of scientific research that has ever been done, which is impossible. 

There are many different types of scientific research, some strongly theoretical and others grounded in empirical observation. While researchers normally assume certain things (such as the uniformity of natural laws) as they study other things (such as the motion of planets), research does not really count as "scientific" unless it has as a philosophical basis the notion that all assumptions are provisional and can be challenged if they do not fit the data.

Religious faith exists within a different realm, and is based not on the notion of assumptions subject to revision, but belief which serves as the grounds for understanding, as exemplified in the phrase "credo ut intelligam" (I believe that I might understand) in which, especially within Thomism, it is thought that we cannot understand certain events (e.g. miracles) unless we have a firm foundation of faith already in place. In generally, such fideism is not a basis for scientific inquiry about the changing things of the world of experience, but rather an approach to understanding divine and spiritual matters which cannot be investigated empirically. To confuse the two is a category mistake. 

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