This comic brings up a couple of excellent points. The first of which is that science, even that most “pure” of sciences which is physics, is full of approximations, guesses, and hypotheses. None of which is to say that it isn’t good science, or reliable, or accurate. It just isn’t the pure and completely objective thing that so many people make it out to be. Observations, and therefore humans, are involved with all our concurrent foibles.
The second point is almost as relevant. It is the final question of the comic.
2 thoughts on “What is your research?”
Evidence (Hebrews 11) is part of the definition of faith! O taste and see (Psalm 34) assumes that there is an evidential reply from the Lord. Science is a process of thesis, test, and ‘observation(s)’ as evidence. We know from science that there are things we cannot observe. Things unseen. We know that our predisposition biases our seeing (not to mention our other senses). Nonetheless we must persist. Persistence is part of our bootstrap in all things.
Much of the prophets and the wisdom writing explicitly connect understanding and creation – he made a decree for the rain (Job), founded the heavens with understanding (Proverbs), Psalm 148 has the heavens praising the Lord who gave them the commission and they were created. Our faith is that they will ‘stand fast for ever’. Observation as evidence is supported in these ancient texts – but not the complete self-referential human-only explanation. It is as if Godel was implicitly ‘known’ before such knowledge was. Even before and after are strange quarks.
The more we do science, the more wonder there is. I don’t think it is possible to do this without ‘faith’ even if it is faith in what we cannot name and thus control.
There is a little proverb floating around R&D:
Everyone believes the experiment, except for the experimentalist; but not one believes the simulation, except for the analyst.