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The scientific method vs the religious method

I find it interesting when people cite the fact that science keeps changing as a reason to disbelieve it and to believe instead in the "eternal" doctrines taught by some church or other.  Let's examine why science keeps changing.  Here's the scientific method.

  1. Develop a hypothesis (this means "have a belief").
  2. Design an experiment to test the hypothesis.
  3. Conduct the experiment.
  4. Determine whether the hypothesis is believable based on the results of the experiment.
This is why science keeps changing--because people notice flaws in it and correct them.  People once thought the solar system was geocentric, but now know that it's heliocentric.  How did this happen?  By using the scientific method.  Scientists are willing to admit that they're wrong.  They're willing to give up a bad idea when they see evidence that it makes no sense.  Contrast this with the religious method (simplified version).
  1. Have a belief.
  2. Look for evidence to support that belief.
  3. Ignore evidence that rejects that belief.
  4. Maintain your belief.
Actually, some churches, such as the LDS church, have a much more complicated method that helps those like me who wish to apply logic to their religious beliefs.  Here's a fairly accurate depiction of the Mormon method.  
As you can see, I didn't design this flow chart, but having been a Mormon for 28 years, I can attest that this is the way concerns are treated.  I couldn't even begin to count how many times I either gave or received every single point of advice listed in this chart.  (Oh, and the box at the very bottom isn't part of the flow chart, it's just the author's conclusion.)

Strangely enough, the LDS church (along with many other churches) dog on science for changing all the time and yet it preaches "continuing revelation".  Continuing revelation means that the doctrines of the church change as the current prophet receives revelation from God on what to teach the people.  So, for the church to call science false for changing all the time is hypocritical.  Also strange is the fact that believing mormons (including myself when I was one) have convinced themselves to simultaneously believe that the church's doctrine is eternal and unchanging and that continuing revelation is a reality.  The explanation (or at least one of the possible explanations) is that God's truth is unchanging, but that He teaches it to us line upon line, and so continuing revelation is necessary to help us learn more and more of the truth.

Why is this so strange?  Because it is exactly the concept of the scientific method.  Science contends that absolute truth is available for us to find, that we don't currently know everything there is to know, and that by performing experiments we can draw closer to the truth, weeding out false hypotheses and discovering better approximations of the truth.  So, a Mormon believes that science continually changing is a reason to disbelieve it (or at least reject it if it contradicts religious beliefs) and that doctrine continually changing is one of the reasons that they should believe it, since it shows that God still teaches us line upon line.

I've lost count of how many times I've been told that I should believe the teachings of the prophets over the teachings of men--that I should reject logic when it disagrees with doctrine.  I did that, but I can only suspend belief (in logic/reality) for so long.  I was willing to have lots of questions about how science disagrees with religion (eg, the Earth having geological evidence of being older than 6,000 years) and still believe my church.  But, I had to ask myself, at what point is it too much?  And I suggest that you ask yourself the same question.  If the prophet asked you to believe that gravity was a false teaching, or that people whose bodies were accelerated toward the Earth by gravity were evil and possessed by the devil, would you believe him because he's the prophet?  What if the prophet told you that the sun doesn't exist--that God just turns on a light switch during the day and turns it off at night?  How much are you willing to reject logic in the name of preserving your beliefs?  And I don't mean to be challenging, I mean to get you to think about your own beliefs.  Be introspective.  Search your feelings, Luke.

I no longer believe the prophets because I reached that threshold where I was no longer able to suspend belief in science--in reality.  The prophets say that being in a same-sex relationship will not bring happiness, and yet I am happier in my relationship with Conrad than I have ever been before.  The prophets say that the Book of Mormon is an actual historical document and that the Nephites were a real people, and yet there is no archaeological or genetic evidence to support the claim that the book is true.  No, I will stick to what can be concluded based on actual, verifiable data, not on the teachings of a group of men whose claims are to be accepted solely on faith which, by definition, is the lack of evidence.

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