Generally, we hold that science and other empirical methods of discovery are the best, most reliable, ways to understand our existence.
Humankind relied on superstition and mythology as its means of acquiring knowledge for many thousands of years. The outcomes of this type of thinking were not good.
When people relied on religion as a means to diagnose and treat disease, humanity suffered from plagues, high infant mortality, and short life expectancy.
When people relied on religion to inform social and international relations, humanity suffered oppression, slavery, warfare, and genocide.
When people relied on religion as the primary means of understanding our natural world, humanity labored under such theories as the heliocentric universe, homunculi, and demonic possession.
Our discussion of epistemology (the branch of philosophy that deals with the ways in which people develop knowledge) does not necessarily reject non-empiricism. We recognize that some great discoveries have come about through such inexplicable means as dreams, inspiration, art, or guesswork. We appreciate that life is not exclusively rational, and therefore we’re open to emotive experience and a sense of wonder that some might call spiritual. But when science and non-science don’t agree, science has led us to truth far more often than the other methods—and so we choose to rely on science.
Our position papers are meant to express the official opinion of Freethought Dayton for purposes of public relations and education. Individual members may hold different viewpoints.