How did Science become a dogmatic religion?

This requires a brief foray into epistemology (the philosophy of knowledge).

Knowledge comes in two forms:

  1. A true belief (a dogma or axiom).
  2. A belief that can be justified through reason by starting with the true beliefs (See: 1).

Variants of this are called the JTB model of epistemology, though many texts skim over 1 or leave it out altogether.

The proper title is not "science", but instead, "the natural sciences." Use of the word "science" to mean "the natural sciences" is a kind of dogmatic reflex in its own right, and it can suggest that the speaker either is not aware of the definition of a science, or that they do not believe there is any other kind of science.

To get to the heart of the question I'm going to ignore the use of the word "religion" (because this answer is not applicable to every instance of the category "religion"), and instead talk about a particular religious faith, one that rests on and requires both faith and reason, in proper relationship and proportion. This religion recognizes, just as philosophy and the natural sciences do that there are some things that we must simply believe are true. An example of this is that sense images tell us of something that is existent, external to us, and not created, controlled or changed by our perception of it.

There are other dogmas of science, one of which is shared by one of the more common proofs of the existence of God, and one which is fundamental to proving that gravity exists. Indeed, in a quite important way the proof of the existence of gravity and one of the proofs of the existence of God use and *require* the use of the same dogmatic belief. In the religion I'm speaking about, blind faith in the existence of God, faith without a reasoned argument to justify this belief, is incompatible with practicing that faith.

So, for one religion (please, stop using the word "religion", as for nearly every question or statement, the use of that word is a false equivalence or false generalization logical fallacy), we've demonstrated that science and that religion share and require two common, core dogmas.

No surprise, as it was an adherent of this religion that formulated the scientific method. Indeed, it is because he WAS a practicing member of this religion that he connected the dots and created this methodology.


It never did.

However I suppose you refer about the supposedly dogmatic nature of scientific consensus. Some people, generally those that want to push some political agenda or have an unproven theory they wish to sell as "the truth" like to say that they are the new Galileo and that dogma in the scientific community is keeping it blind to their discovery.

Now, there are quite a few things that are wrong in this approach. The first is the accusation that scientific consensus equals dogma. Scientific consensus simply means, to to the best of our knowledge, that particular framework is the best we have. Every scientists knows that it is not perfect (if it would be scientists would be unemployed) and probably has some contradictions. The reason a framework is not ditched at every experimental contradiction encountered is that you should never drop a model that works until you have a better one to replace it.

This is where scientific career comes into play: every scientist that is able to present a model better than what we have will be prized with fame, glory and probably tenure and money. In other words, the pinnacle of a scientist's career is to be able to prove everyone wrong.

To go back to the Galileo fallacy it must be remembered that not other scientists but the church was condemning him and that any scientific discovery ever since has come from other scientists.


Science is not dogmatic, but it does have three general principles (meaning taken as self-evident). From my astronomy class:

1. The first is the principle of natural causality. Events result from natural forces, and evidence from nature has not been deliberately distorted. The universe ‘plays nicely' with us. (eg. God didn't put fossils in the rocks to fool Darwin)

2. The second is the principle of similar perceptions. Any other researcher will perceive the same events and make the same observations, so it is logical to accept the observations of others as reliable. If we didn't assume that researchers have similar perception, how could we determine if experiments were repeatable?

3. Finally, the cosmological principle, which is the foundation of astronomy, states that on large enough scales, space and time are uniform, and that the laws of physics apply everywhere in the universe.

Karl Popper criticizes the cosmological principle(s) on the basis that they are dogmatic. I think his point is noteworthy but incorrect. We can define the laws of physics as being that which apply everywhere and at everytime, and then when we find the laws of physics to not fit nature anywhere or anytime, we need to modify the theories. So it isn't a situation where "our lack of knowledge a principle of knowing something" as he says, but more a framework wherein we set a task for ourselves to be able to know the universe in a universal or unified way.


I think you have no clue what science is, and/or what dogmatic means.

  • dogma ˈdɒɡmə/ noun A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.

Science is the opposite of dogmatic. Scientists spend their whole lives trying to point out how previous scientists did something wrong and/or incomplete. The entire point of science is to question authority and show that things that appear to be incontrovertibly true are, in fact, not so. Our biggest scientific heroes like Einstein are the ones who overturned the most supposedly incontrovertible "truths".

Religion, however, is dogmatic by construction. There are many things one cannot question. Not so in science; everything is fair game. The only thing is, if you want to make a claim, you had better be able to back it up with reproducible evidence.


What are the two things that come to your mind that are well established scientific theories? Probably Relativity and Evolution, right? If in this precise moment a paper was published refuting the two with a new theory of whole universe that had better explanatory power and improved predictions, it would be studied, retested, discussed and ultimately, after the shock, it would reign supreme as the top scientific theory and both the relativity and evolution would only be part of the history of science.

Science updates knowledge every single day. To do this it drops old knowledge. Science as we know it exists around 500 years. It has written and re-written itself millions of times. How can this be considered dogmatic? There's nothing dogmatic about science.


Some things discovered over the past few hundred years are so well supported by evidence that it is insane to question them. In reality, these things are not science, but are general knowledge, like the observation that the daytime cloudless sky is blue.

Just a few of these are the ideal gas law, which applies for all moderate pressures and temperatures, Ohm's law, which relates potential difference, current and resistance in direct current circuits and the various relations among mass, force and acceleration first formulated by Newton. It is neither rational nor honest to dismiss these.

Further, the proposition that the Earth is far older than any Biblical calculation can make it is supported by vast amounts of evidence from counting varves in lakes to radiometric dating. It is neither rational nor honest to dismiss this evidence.

Then there is massive evidence that biological evolution is real. It is neither rational nor honest to dismiss this evidence.

Just because it disagrees with your prejudices does not make it dogmatic.


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The strongest evidence is that a meteorite found on Earth, is supposed to have originated on Mars, and it appears to have fossilised bacteria.Allan Hills 84001

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