'Do scientists have faith?'
It's a common charge against scientists, particularly physicists. I argue that scientists certainly have assumptions and presumptions, but religious faith has a different moral character. A sample:
[F]aith is not simply assumption without evidence, but proud assumption in spite of it: one knows one believes without proof, and one is glad of it. While some religious minds are more comfortable with doubt, it remains a hallmark of the Judaeo-Christian religions that faith goes hand-in-hand with a certain pleased conviction: if not in one's own salvation, then certainly in the existence of a transcendent deity.
This is not generally true of science. Scientists may become accustomed to their assumptions - resting on their cosmological laurels, so to speak. Hence Davies' bold criticism. But working scientists usually have good reasons for believing that 'the way things are' is a necessary part of reality: it works. The success of science in predicting and controlling the world gives many scientists rightful confidence in the truth of their belief. This might not be accurate, but it is a reasonable assumption. And given good evidence that the cosmos might be otherwise, most scientists may respond with bias, haste or anger, but not with happy denial of evidence in general.(Illustration: Michelangelo)