Western philosophy emerged in Greece when the first philosophers, the pre-Socratics, raised the need to think with rational criteria and not according to the schemes of mythology. One of the key concepts to understand philosophical rationality is precisely the concept of doxa, traditionally translated as opinion.
doxa versus episteme
Everyone has their own opinions on different subjects. Opinion is based on subjective evaluation of something. “I think these cakes are fine, but my friend thinks otherwise.” The plurality of personal assessments makes it impossible to build true knowledge based on a simple opinion. If we want to approach the truth, we must go through the path of knowledge or episteme. Doxa
The difference between opinion and knowledge (doxa and episteme) was addressed by Parmenides and later by Plato. According to the first, doxa starts from the senses, desires and personal experiences, while episteme is the attempt to construct a truth far from individual subjectivity. According to Plato, doxa is knowledge that depends on appearances, therefore, it is misleading. Plato defended the ideals of doxa and called them disparagingly as doxographers, which can be translated as opines.
For most Greek philosophers doxa is a substitute for true knowledge. Through opinion, we can communicate, share experiences and assess any aspect of reality from an individual point of view. However, if we want to know something with a criterion of truth and objectively, we must follow the path of episteme. This distinction between one form of knowledge or another is crucial to understanding the difference between what is scientific and what is not.
belief in science
The reflection on the doxa and episteme in philosophers like Parmenides and Plato is a matter that allows us to better understand our mentality. There are some skills that are based on personal beliefs (eg, religious faith), while others are based on strictly rational and empirical criteria (eg, biology as a scientific discipline ).
Despite the distinction between belief and science, they are totally incompatible areas, as beliefs can be accompanied by rational arguments and, in parallel, scientific truths can become beliefs of a spiritual type (for example, an astronomer may believe in God because he considers that the order of the universe was created by a superior being).