The Dutch word for science is 'Wetenschap' This can be translated as 'pieces of knowledge on a shelf'. 'Weten' means 'to know', 'weetjes' are pieces of knowledge, 'schap' means 'shelf'.
Science should be seen as a shelf with pieces of knowledge. Most of these pieces are false, a few are true. So science can be considered as a shelf with rubbish and a few precious gemstones.
The scientific methods work like this. Take a piece of knowledge from the shelf and try to falsify it. If you can falsify it, it is no longer useful. Throw it away. Applying the scientific method to the shelf wit pieces of knowledge cleans the shelf.
Scientists are like 'cleaning ladies of the shelf of knowledge'. They apply the scientific methods to clean the shelf with pieces of knowledge. They like to keep the shelf clean.
Falsified pieces of knowledge have a shelf life that is expired. Scientific oriented people throw away these pieces of knowledge. Like sane people throw away food-containers with an expired shelf life. Hoarders like to keep things, even when they are no longer useful. Some religions promote hoarding of pieces of knowledge with an expired shelf life. A fine example is the Roman Catholic Church. When Galileo falsified the piece of knowledge, that the planet earth is the centre of the universe, the church was not amused. Galileo got a guided tour through the dungeons and all instruments of torture where shown to him. He was told, that if he would continue to speak, he would get the opportunity to try all this instruments. That was a long time ago. But today (2014) the church is firmly against homo-sexuality and ignores all the new pieces of knowledge about homo-sexuality and other forms of sexuality. The church simply hoards pieces of knowledge that have an expired shelf life and refuses knew pieces of knowledge on their shelf.
In the previous paragraph I said it: 'on their shelf'. This is very important and shocking to most people (in 2014).
There is not something like an objective shelf of knowledge (science). There is an objective meter and an objective kilogram. There is an international prototype of a kilogram. But there is not an objective shelf with knowledge.
Often we speak about 'science' as something objective. But science never is. Each person has his/her own subjective shelf with pieces of knowledge. It is not objective, we can not show it to others. But everyone has one. Even the most primitive human, even a person with Down-syndrome.
Scientifically oriented people regularly clean their shelf of knowledge. They read about scientific discoveries and clean their shelf. Real scientists are more active cleaners. They focus on a piece of knowledge and try to think of experiments that can falsify that knowledge. Religious minded people don't do that. The more religious a person is, the more he/she refuses to look at the expiration date on their pieces of knowledge.
Most founders of religions had a scientific orientation. When a new religion is founded, the pieces of knowledge on the official shelf of knowledge are up to date. But then the founder dies and the followers do not dare to clean the shelf. The master has made that shelf with all it's contents. That is not something to meddle with. People who do that are heretics. A founder of a religion could say: 'Do what I do'. Meaning: question the world, falsify your pieces of knowledge, find new knowledge. But the follower does what the founder did: take exactly the same steps over and over again. If Christ dragged a cross on his back, then his followers should do what Christ did. Or not.
Someone might say: "Science says ...". With a sentence like this that person demonstrates, that he has not a clear understanding of science. Science does not say anything. People who practise science might say something. But most things they say are not scientific, but personal opinions.
Scientists in a certain field might agree of some of the basic items on their sub-shelf of knowledge. In general, scientists bicker a lot about what should be on their sub-shelf and what not. Even in a small field of science each scientist has his/her own shelf.
Most scientist believe that gravity is real. No one has been able to falsify gravity. In calculations, gravity is a constant on which you can count. But that does not mean that it is proven.
This might come as a shock to you, but you died 10 years ago. There was a car-accident, your body was damaged, but we could safe your brain. It is in a bucket and connected to a computer. The world as you see it, is a virtual world. Gravity is not a universal constant, but a constant we made up when we wrote the computer-program.
You can not falsify this alternative explanation of gravity. If you would find something clever, we would say, that that illusion is part of our program. So there are alternative explanations for gravity.
Scientists agreed that the most simple explanation of something is most likely the right one. In this way, scientists agree on the general accepted explanation of gravity. But that does not proof that it is the right explanation.
Now we come to a very important aspect of science: it's domain. Things that can not be falsified or verified do not belong to the domain of science. The soul, god, life after death, reincarnation do not belong to the domain of science. You believe it or not.
Many things that are really important to us, do not belong to the domain of science. Many things that do not really matter, are at the core of science. That does not mean that science is unimportant. Science is very important to have a good live on earth. But is can not answer the questions that really matter to us.
Many scientific oriented people do not believe in god or a soul. They do not believe. But not many of them will deny the existence of god or a soul.
There are people, who call themselves a-theists. They are anti-theists. They form religious groups in which they promote the believe, that god is unscientific and can not exist. If they had any understanding of science, they would not say those things.
There is a group of people, who believe in the planet Poseidon. Poseidon orbits the sun between Earth and Venus. We can not see or detect Poseidon, because it has a very advanced civilisation and the people have created a clocking shield around the planet.
Most likely you will laugh at this. Perhaps you would say: I do not believe this. But you would not form a group of anti-poseidonists to tell the poseidonists that their believe is unscientific. Astrophysicists probably would make jokes about a group like Poseidonists. But they would not form an organization of 'anti-poseidonists'.
But imagine that that group of poseidonists would grow in number and would get political influence. Imagine they would demand in court, that children should be taught at public schools about the planet poseidon. If that would happen, astrophysicists might form an organization to stop that kind of superstition.
That is more or less what has happened in certain parts of the world. Creationists demanded, that their biblical teachings about the creation of the world should be taught at school like or even in place of Darwinism. All sane people should make a stand against that kind of folly. Opposing religious people when they try to enforce their religion upon us is good. Fighting ALL forms of religion or (verbally) attacking the religion of people is not reasonable.
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