However, as we go through the timeline of scientific discoveries, not all established theories have been able to provide us with explanations and evidence. Professor Jim Hill from the University of Adelaide reacted to Einstein’s theory of relativity that up until now there is no substantial evidence that suggests this theory is feasible with any existing transportation mechanism. Nevertheless, it is hard for me to not acknowledge the impact the theory has made in our life such as its application in the production of nuclear energy. Perhaps technology has become the greatest obstacle which hinders our power to thoroughly obtain explanation and evidence on the theory of relativity. Therefore, I am really curious on how evidence less theories could be justified and survived refutes from the science community? As a science student, I always demand reasons on topics that I hardly understand. Since a theory could not provide a convincing reason why it is asserted, I will immediately dismiss it. As I come to think about it, observations in natural science are much influenced by our expectation. Einstein as a reputable scientist is well-respected and his ideas will usually gain attention from the science community as he is highly-regarded as a genius due to his incredible range of theoretical physics publication in the early 1900s. Hence, as we are confident of his findings, we tend to believe that the theory is true without the need of being justified. Clearly, the science community is actually making an ad hominem fallacy. The flaw of natural science through the treatment of double standard shifts the question to be, does the need of evidence in assertions are subjective in natural science? I personally believe that, each assertion deserves an equal treatment of being validate before being dismissed as Richard van de Lagemaat quoted, many scientific discoveries are counter-intuitive and go against untutored common sense.
Logically, as the need of evidence is arguably important in natural science, the same must go to other areas of knowledge, including religion. Nevertheless, proofs of the existence of God are just too vague that they can be easily dismissed by skeptics. While skeptics based their argument of this matter, Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid explained that there are actually three categories of evidence which proves the existence of God, which are the instinctive evidence, tangible evidence and revelatory evidence. Therefore, this explains why religious scholars often based their reasoning that God exists through the existence of the holy book - the tangible evidence. One could still argue that, relating the creation of the holy book with the existence of God is merely a fallacy portrayed through circular reasoning, i.e. what makes you say that God exists? Because there is the holy book. Who created the holy book? God created them. In fact, since the holy book itself is a form of historical document, the holy book could be influenced by deliberate manipulation by individuals to suit their interests. Therefore, if the information of a historical document such as the holy book is altered, the reason to claim that it is a proof of God’s existence is no more valid.
As a Muslim, I have to abide to the 6 articles of faith in Islam which includes believing in only one God. As you can see, believing plays a vital role in my religion and I believe, it is the same in other religions too. However, one could misunderstood the usage of the word “believe” and argue them relating to other aspects such as the weather. One would believe that tomorrow’s weather would be rainy since there is observable evidence through weather forecasts. I would say the term “believe” is used differently in the context of a religion because we believe when there is no observable evidence. This degree of believing is referred to as having faith. Faith is a constituent of humans’ social emotions. In other words, one can only have faith if they are influenced by strong emotions. However, the fact that emotion may affect the other ways of knowing, it can be questioned whether is it reliable enough to resort to our faith in judging assertions made without evidence in religion? Since religious believers claim that religion can’t be proved or disproved with 100 percent certainty as it’s a question of personal faith, not subject to reason or evidence (Christina, 2009), are they abusing the word “faith” in order to protect religion from the conception that each assertion must be supported with observable evidence? From the knower’s perspective, it could not be agreed more that the need of evidence in religion is indeed vague, thus, I personally believe that a fine line must be drawn in order to distinguish reliable assertions and unreliable assertions.
As natural science demands empirical evidence before any assertions can be made, religion has always been associated with metaphysical claims which differ itself from other areas of knowledge. It has been made clear that both areas of knowledge deserve different treatment towards any assertions without evidence. Nevertheless, I believe that the individual who asserts the claim plays a major role in how we evaluate the claim. In natural science for instance, an individual who is highly-regarded in the field of which he is making the claim on, would know what he is asserting. Thus, if this is this case, even if the claim made has no evidence, it is very likely that the claim would be true. The same applies to religion. In a nutshell, reason must be put in front of other ways of knowing when evaluating any assertions. Only by doing this, our decision would be rational and any biasness could be avoided.
The University of Adelaide. (2012, October 9). Retrieved February 6, 2013, from Extending Einstein's Theory Beyond Light Speed: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news56901.html
Al-Munajjid, S. M. (n.d.). Evidence of the existence of God, and the wisdom behind His creation. Retrieved February 6, 2013, from IslamQA: http://islamqa.info/en/ref/26745
Boyle, R. (2010, January 1). Researchers Devise the First Experimental Test of Controversial, Confusing String Theory. Retrieved February 10, 2013, from POPSCI: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-09/researchers-figure-out-how-test-untestable-theory-everything
Christina, G. (2009, December 3). Hey Religious Believers, Where's Your Evidence? Retrieved February 4, 2013, from AlterNet: http://www.alternet.org/story/144354/hey_religious_believers%2C_where%27s_your_evidence?page=0%2C0
Lagemaat, R. v. (2011). Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.