Posted over 4 years ago
Can an individual have faith, yet be highly scientific?
Short answer: No.
If an individual acknowledges something as truth, believing the contrary is completely nonsensical. One might argue that faith is, by definition, completely nonsensical, but I disagree. Faith, like many other things, has a clearly defined reason to be held. In the case of religious faith, this reason is personal belief. The belief that there exists a benevolent deity, that created the universe and everything in it. On the other side of the fence, the scientific thinker bases his position on verified facts or theories and is prepared to change his position should evidence that contradicts his current position be presented.
It is for this reason that a scientific believer is an impossibility. Holding a belief that is contrary to the scientific theories you support makes no sense, as you are essentially supporting two wildly different positions. This is something that a scientific mind would not do without proper evidence for both positions, nor is it something that a believer would do, as they are adamant in their faith. For example, if a person was to hold the belief that the sky is green, while admitting the scientific fact that it is (at most times) blue, the resulting contradiction undoes his position as a believer or a scientific thinker, for reasons stated above.
In closing, scientific reasoning and faith can not exist in the same position, as they inherently contradict eachother.
Can religion exist within a single mind whilst the individual also possesses a strong sense of science? The short answer is, yes, though many illogical courses must be taken. It's possible to disregard science and believe something based upon feeling rather than objective theory, while still believing in that same scientific principle that you ignored. For example, the very concept of a God causing the Great Flood isn't supported by any amount of science, making it irrational to believe in. Yet, one can go along with this claim, believe in it (despite being irrational), and still accept the rational explanation as supported by science, where there is an abundance of evidence supporting a claim that is contrary to the Great Flood.
This means, in essence, that you both believe and disbelieve the explanations provided. You believe that God caused it, despite no evidence being shown, and you believe that there is a non-supernatural explanation, which directly contradicts the idea that God somehow caused it. This is entirely possible, and there's no reason for it not to be. The only thing that must be acknowledged is that it is irrational. It is not entirely necessary to follow logic at all times, especially in the cases of philosophy where most things (if not, everything) an abstract concept.
Another important thing to keep in mind when having these illogical ideas where you still believe in something with no evidence despite believing in something with supporting evidence, is that you must accept that both are valid when confined to their own 'genre', if you will. What is meant by this is that having faith without evidence is perfectly acceptable within the grounds of religion, and that believing in what has the most evidence is perfectly acceptable from a scientific perspective. These two things are not completely separated, and for the reasons listed previously, it is possible to have both a faithful, and scientific mind, albeit by making illogical exceptions on occasion.