Science doubts itself all the time, it even doubts its proofs. That is why we have water tight models and theories. Doubt is an integral part of scientific development. That is what the contemporary philosophers and thinkers like who prefer science over religion. That people believe in religion without an iota of a doubt, which to them is a bad idea.
While curiosity is a major prerequisite for someone to develop scientific acumen, doubt is a major tool used to verify scientific hypotheses. Consider the case of the proof of Fermat’s last theorem, as is normally the case with any scholarly endeavor and a subsequent peer-review. The theorem has a history of at least three centuries of evolution. The last of the adventurers, Andrew Wiles spent more than six years in near isolation to come up with a water tight proof of the problem. I suppose, that in doing so, he must not only have doubted the existing literature but also his own knowledge and procedures. I would not be surprised to know if someone told me that he doubted his own mental health at times. And that is healthy. And when he finally came up with a proof it was inspected by a select few of mathematicians who only had a clue about the problem. Someone had to doubt the infallibility of the proof to find a loop hole in it. Someone actually did it and that is why Wiles was sent in to isolation for another six months to come up with a cure to his proof. It finally got accepted and that is why it is considered water tight. I think that while curiosity drives scientific endeavor, inclusion of systematic doubt makes it more reliable.
Consider the importance of doubt in embracing doctrines. For instance, consider that there is a doctrine X proposed by an entity A, that considers itself to be superior and infallible compared with all other doctrines, say, Y and Z. Suppose that we humans are led in to believing it. One of the ingredients this doctrine X should have, if it should appeal so much to the humanity, is that it should be open to free inquiry. This is to say that the doctrine should allow its potential adherents not only to be able to inquire about the claims it makes about phenomena outside itself, but it should also allow free inquiry about itself. Otherwise, doctrine X stands a chance of being branded as mafia; you have to have faith in what I proclaim, or otherwise!
Similarly, if doctrine X claims to be superior than other doctrines, and is also seemingly so, it would compel the adherents of other doctrines to doubt the respective doctrines they adhere to. Suppose what would happen if adherents of other doctrines choose not to doubt their respective doctrines. They stand a chance to miss an opportunity to convert to doctrine X, which is possibly a better, or the best possible, doctrine. This is the benefit of doubt. And if one should choose to apply doubt to religion, the importance of studying comparative religion becomes clear.
Apparently nobody is born to know which doctrine is superior than the other. One only gets to know after careful inquiry of various doctrines the superiority of one over the other.
Analogously, this can be applied to religion. For instance, if Islam is the true, the most flexible, and the best religion of God, it should allow the element of free inquiry to the humanity. Incidentally, it does so. It allows people to verify its claims about anything. Islam is not a secret religion. Everything about Islam can be read and learned anywhere in the world. Moreover, it allows people the choice to adhere to it or not as per their own will. This flexibility is granted even in the case of apostasy
, a topic that attracts much controversy about Islam in the West.
Islam, nonetheless, advises mankind to strive to develop certainty in belief, which is dependent upon seeing