I was meditating other posts, while I found this objection by Andrea to my last one, that deserves a general answer of explanation:
The "faith" between disciple and teacher has nothing to do with religious faith. It should be called trust instead. The teacher gives the disciples the means to learn and walk by themselves, and this requires that the disciples trust the teacher initially. It is like that in any discipline, this is how we (and other animals ) learn. The scientific method is a framework to select ideas, once you learn it, by initially trusting that it works, you are free to apply it to any idea. The fact that the framework is, itself, and idea which survived a relatively long selection, to become the most trusted approach to formulate theories that describe (or better that model) reality, validates the initial trust, taking away the need to have "faith in the system". It might not be the definitive way to look at reality, better methods may show up in the future, if so, they will be evaluated accordingly and accepted, but so far the scientific method is unsurpassed.
Is the Pope trying to prove that the scientific method is a gift of a "teacher-God"? I hope not because that is a dangerous path to follow…
Paradoxically, applying the same logic I wouldn't be able to prove that atheism isn't.
Religion is an idea, reason a way to select ideas, science is a framework produced by reason, therefore comparing faith and reason is like comparing apples and wheels.
No, dear Andrea, I don't agree with you, on several regards.
First: the "faith" between disciple and teacher has everything to do with religious faith. I pray you to revert from English to Latin. English is a mixture of Latin (taken from the French of the Norman invaders of the 11th century) and of Anglo-Saxon, so it allows the use in different context of words that in the original had more or less the same meaning: such are faith, from fides, and trust.
Fides translates the New Testament Greek pistis. It is a word that might mean simply persuasion of the truth of something, in a sense close to the English belief, which would equate then what you call "religious faith" with any other such persuasion, unless we could specify what religious means. In the New Testament (where by the way the word religion doesn't exist, because it is again a Latin word taken by Roman pre-Christian use) such a specification is given by the use of the word to mean the fact of being persuaded by someone, whom, if you like, we trust as teacher.
Now, who is a teacher? Or better, what does a teacher do? I saw what you said, which I'd like to rephrase by saying that he is someone who teaches us something by enabling us to understand what it means. But there is more: he is one who, by so doing, introduces us to a world, or, vice versa, opens a world for us. So, for example, a Shakespearean teacher opens for us Shakespeare's world; a math teacher opens for us the world of mathematics; and so on with whatever example you like.
A religious teacher, I'd say, is someone who opens for us not a world, but the world. Having just said this, it came to my mind the fact that actually our parents do the same for us, so I try to specify better: a religious teacher is someone who in the course of our human and intellectual growth introduces us to the ultimate understanding of things (speaking in a bit more technical theological language, I could say that he introduces us to the eschata, the "last things"). All such teachers refer back, in Christianity, to Jesus Christ, the teacher par excellence, who introduces us to God, i.e. to the divine life of which he himself shares.
You can see here how faith-trust comes everywhere into play. In the original use, the Latin word stressed more than the Greek one the trust aspect: it meant the credit enjoyed by someone with someone else, so that one is made confident enough to participate in the world of the other. And notice then how the ordinary meaning of the word shades into a theological one.
Should I keep on going? I would recall first of all that for Christians Christ is the logos incarnate. Now, in Greek logos means at the same time "word" and "reason". It is not meant however reason conceived primarily in the modern fashion as a subjective faculty, but the reasons ("ratios" or proportions) that make of things a world, a cosmos, an ordinate whole, which the word discloses. By way of faith in Christ, therefore, men were given access to that understanding of the world which eventually developed into modern science.
This is what the Pope doesn't tire of reminding us since his Regensburg address.
What I myself humbly added in the previous post is that the science of science, which we call epistemology, cannot overlook, if it really wants to be scientific in the account it gives of the exercise of human understanding, of embracing in it also the faith-trust that ties disciple and teacher. Overlooking this, makes every discourse on scientific method a deception.
No one of the great most celebrated scientists – the like of Galilei, Newton, Einstein – ever arrived at their discoveries by following the procedures the so called scientific method prescribes. If he had followed them – observes Paul Feyerabend in his well known Against Method – Galilei would have never become "galileian", but he would have staid "Aristotelian". It doesn't exist any scientific method, as a peculiar way of selecting ideas: unless we mean by it the ordinary exercise of human understanding, that makes any man whatsoever test his ideas in reality.
One last thing. "Religion is an idea", you say. No, religion is a reality: the reality discovered by putting one's limited ideas to the test of the challenge represented by a true teacher. No less than Thomas Aquinas thought therefore that we can have a science of religion, and that such is theology.
I know the objection: he didn't mean by science the same thing as we do today. The trouble is that what we mean by science today is not quite clear. The same epistemologists who lay stress on method to decide what is science, cannot reach an agreement on it. So in the name of science we abdicate science.