Faith versus Science

Excerpt from "A Lay Sermon"

On Improving Natural Knowledge; i.e. science
delivered in St. Martin's Hall on Sunday, January 7th, 1866,
and subsequently published in the 'Fortnightly Review'.
Author: Thomas H. Huxley

As regards the intellectual ethics of men,
What are the moral convictions most fondly held by barbarous and semi-barbarous people?
Some of them are the convictions
There are many excellent persons who yet hold by these principles, and it is not my present business, or intention, to discuss their views. All I wish to bring clearly before your minds is the unquestionable fact, that the improvement of natural knowledge is effected by methods which directly give the lie to all these convictions, and assume the exact reverse of each to be true.

The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him,

And it cannot be otherwise, for every great advance in natural knowledge has involved and the most ardent votary of science holds his firmest convictions, but because his experience teaches him that whenever he chooses to bring these convictions into contact with their primary source, Nature--whenever he thinks fit to test them by appealing to experiment and to observation--Nature will confirm them. The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by faith, but by verification.

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