Suppose you had a friend who saw the world in terms solely of his football team. If you are discussing politics, he refers to the boardroom of the team; if you are talking morality, the on-field ethics of his favourites stars. Now you start to talk about science, and he says: “Well, science is just another game.” What would you think about that?
It is true that there are aspects of science that are game-like. There’s competition, goals, and rules. But is science just another game? Only in the sense that having children is just another economic decision, or choosing to continue to live is just another career choice. There is a fallacy of thinking that leads you to think everything is like something you personally value. I will call it the Gamer Fallacy.
Instead of games, though, consider religion. If everything looks like a game to gamers, everything looks like religion to religionists. So, if there are assumptions that are fundamental to some activity, that’s “faith”. If something is a sufficient explanation for a domain of the world, that’s “dogma”. If you have a view of things, that’s just a “worldview”. Reason becomes religion, and thus it is all about your game competing with mine in the public sphere. That’s all there is to it, really. The Gamer Fallacy in spades!
On this account, there is no rational position to take. You take a leap of faith and live on that basis, and my leap is at least as valid as yours. Mind, if your leap has led you to the moon, to curing the bulk of cancers, to preventing diseases and manipulating the building blocks of matter, while mine still thinks mental illness is a moral failing or demonic possession, that doesn’t matter, because, you see: the very criteria of success are leaps of faith too!
Why, you are just playing your online game like I am. In your game, travel around the solar system and fixing diseases matters. In mine it’s all about the moral and psychic choices. Surely you can see that it all boils down to faith?
Arse biscuits, it does! Science is about living in the physical world in which we find ourselves. You can pretend it doesn’t exist, or give abstract philosophical explanations of how it is all really Maya, but when it comes down to it, if you believe things that are false, tough for your religion. You are invited to challenge science the way Hume’s skeptic was invited to challenge gravity, by leaving through the upper floor window.
People who see things in terms of deities think this is somehow the default view that all things must be seen in terms of. They are like the football fanatic, who thinks what he believes defines the way the world is. Science, on the other hand, assumes that it doesn’t have a handle on the world before it investigates, and seeks to learn about the world. Which is more like an act of faith? The believer who “knows” before learning, or the learner who investigates before believing?