“Jackal”:http://jackal.motime.com/ has asked an interesting “question”:http://jackal.motime.com/post/520232#comment going about which of the words above stand as most important and why. What is more perhaps more interesting than the question, however, is the discussion which follows it. Several people have pointed out that all the words are religious terms, but I propose that they are as much philosophical _and_ scientific as they are religious. For this discussion I want to focus on how these terms are also scientific.
hope. The scientist has questions about the nature of the world and the universe, questions that he hopes to have answered through intensive research and experiments. He hopes that his answers will bring truth and enlightenment, that the mysteries of the ages will be opened up and revealed before him, that he will learn something new and fresh and desirable that will change the way people look at things forever.
faith. The scientist also has faith — that his science is reliable and valid, that it can, indeed, perform the rigorous tests of observation accurately and consistently each time, that the information the studies reveal is true and descriptive. He has faith that the answers to the great mysteries are knowable, that they have only to be discovered by he who is brilliant enough to find them. His science is, to some degree, his religion because he places great faith in it that it will provide him with the answers he seeks.
choice. There are a lot of choices in science — what questions to ask, what experiments to perform, what evidence to collect, what information to look at, etc. There are so many choices to make in science, choices that have a great degree of importance on the outcome of each and every study. Every step of the scientific process involves making choices with bad ones leading to misinformation and confusion and good ones leading to truth, answers, and enlightenment.
belief. Belief is also a scientific term because somewhere along the process, the information gathered must be believed or disbelieved, with the former leading to new processes and technologies and the latter leading to more studies and experiments.
truth. Science is, by its very nature, a search for truth. Every study conducted, every experiment run, every microscope and telescope focused, every meter and dial and knob turned is a pursuit for truth, specifically the truth of how the world and the universe functions. Sometimes, the truth is easily found, sometimes it requires years of fruitless labor before truth is discovered, if at all. Yet, it is inherent in the study of science to seek truth.
reality. How can one have science is one does not have reality? Science can only function in the presence of reality. This is, perhaps, a philosophical point, but nevertheless in order for something to be examined, it must first exist.
As always, I believe that science and religious faith go hand-in-hand, with philosophical musings servings as the supplemental goodness that fills out the formula. Science complements faith complements philsophy complements science, and so forth. I see no reason why the three cannot work together in perfect unity, providing us with a richness and depth of discovery that must surely be pleasing to God. After all, why would He have created all this for us if not for us to explore it to His glory and pleasure?