We can say that a paradigm is in general meanings, a thought pattern; a reality perception which give us our own understanding about surrounding world. One single person should have his own paradigms but also, a company, a culture or a specific historical period have their own paradigms.
If we could take three people from different historical period: A citizen from Roman Empire, a knight from medieval Europe and a man from our own time; if all of them see a light in the sky, how they would explain it?
Roman citizen probably would say he is seeing a god’s chariot; medieval knight would say that is an angel and man from our own time would try to explain it with an airplane or a satellite. In fact none of them knows what it is, because what they are seeing is a light in the sky, but each of them looks behind the glasses of their own paradigm.
We could say the same about different disciplines. If we ask the question: What is the world? A biologist might say that world is a big organisms system; an engineer would explain it like a set of structures and forces and a musician, perhaps like a set of elements looking up for a single melody.
Therefore paradigms are similar to what we call beliefs and every single person, every culture and every historical period has a belief system through which they have a reality version.
With this perspective, is science a belief system?
According to paradigms of our own society, we could make a quick answer: NO; we could argue that scientific method assures objective conclusions, completely close to reality. But, how objectives are perceptions of our senses? Science itself tells us that when we use our sense of touch, in fact this perception comes from NOTHING.
Atoms that make our hands (and all our body) have an electromagnetic charge which repels electromagnetic charge from atoms which makes surface that supposed we touch; so really when we touch, we touch EMPTY SPACE.
Why we feel that we touch? Our senses send information to our brain that decodes like a sensation. So when we touch, smell, see, hear and tasted, is only an interpretation from our brain about reality, and that’s why is impossible for us to be completely objective with reality. We can never reach reality because it is conditioned to brain, and brain it is conditioned to our own paradigms.
In history we always see that what a scientific truth was in one generation, it is denied in next generation with a different paradigm.
I don’t deny contributions science has made to our life (in that case nobody would be reading this now) in the same way I don’t deny contributions from religions or from different ways of thinking; I just want to make a point: Nobody can say that has the only true. Thanks to Einstein, by the way, we know that most of things are relative.
I believe in self-reflexion. I believe in carefully review of our paradigms or belief system, to make sure that still are useful in our life.
As Socrates said: “I only know that I know nothing”