BloodRedSun on /. put into eloquent words something I’ve been trying to say for ages. Quote:

“I agree with you to a certain extent in that people take knowledge for granted but that is understandable. Knowledge at a certain level does become, for want of a better word, ‘magic’.

I have a PhD in Neuroscience and while I could tell you a load of info on biological sciences and basic science in general, I am no more able to tell you of quantum physics than anyone else. This means that I must take this information on trust from people who I know more than I do: teachers or scientists. On the surface this trust is based on faith, and is the same as listening to the Clergy, but there is a major difference.

Newtons’s phrase ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ was reference to the fact that all science can trace it’s roots back to basic experiments that we can all do at home. This is where science differs from religion. The ability to go back to founding principles and show your proof rather than telling people that the answer is ‘because God said so’.

Treating subjects such as evolution as a fact is more a reflection of certainty than being closed minded. As our body of knowledge increases, patterns of data become more and more certain and we start to regard these patterns as absolute facts. It’s then only natural to spend our time questioning other areas of knowledge, but in the knowledge that we can go back and re-examine our data and assumptions. This differs hugely from the average creationist where facts are given with no proof (other than ‘the Bible says so’) and to try to question them is heresy.”