Who Should Learn Science?

Prior to the Enlightenment, people who studied the natural sciences did so in order to know the nature of things so that they would know the appropriate way to treat them. During and since the Enlgihtenment, belief in the nature of things has been gradually lost until, now, it stands outside consideration. Science, having lost its purpose, serves the fancies and intentions of the politicians and business people who buy her services. In short, science serves those who love power and presume to strive for a world of their own design.

Science should not be taught apart from the quest for a propriety rooted in the nature of things. Only those students who have demonstrated reverence for the things that are should be introduced to the things that would change them.

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3 Responses

  1. I am not sure where you came across this, but I remember Irving Jensen telling this story in a book on biblical interpretation. I think the book was titled “Independent Bible Study.”

    Buck

  2. Excellent little post.

    I vaguely remember reading a story of an apprentice biologist’s first day with a wise, old, professor. This is coming from memory, so I might have a few facts mixed up, but it illustrates your point that Scientists should, first and foremost, have a reverence for the “things that are.”

    The young man presented himself to the old professor, anxious to begin work on some exciting new project. The professor quietly pulled down a jar down from the shelf containing a well-preserved specimen of a common fish. He laid the fish on the table, told the young student to “describe” the specimen in his notebook, and then promptly left the room.

    Disappointed at this seemingly menial task, the young man began taking some brief notes on the fish, describing the coloring, the shape of the fins, and so on. After about an hour he felt that he had exhausted all that could be known about this plain old fish, having written a page or two in his notebook.

    The professor came back in and glanced quickly at the boy’s notes. He told him to look again, and then left him alone. This sequence of events happened several times until the apprentice finally “got it,” and began really looking in earnest.

    As the day ended, he was still writing furiously all of the minute details of that “plain old fish,” and would have continued examining and writing had not the professor stopped him. Putting the fish back in the jar with a smile, the old professor knew that the apprentice had learned his first lesson well.

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