Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Is Science, And Why Is It An Important Part Of My Outlook On Life?

i'd like to point some things about science as a way of knowing, loving forming a mature relationship with reality.

1) it is a way for a community of men, women, other animals and mechanical instruments who want to join in to learn to discuss civilly with each other, to learn to give and take constructive criticism, to take the responsibility to catch themselves and each other when the mind is tricking us, or we mess up on an observation or someting both trivial and profound. read a story about this here

2) it is grown out of a love the details we find ourselves surrounded by: rocks, bugs, worms, clouds, mud, light, planets, bubbles.. and out of this love scientists have explored EVERY nook and cranny, no matter how small, inconsequential, smelly, unpleasant... they are to most people. The incredible advances we have in genetics and development came about because some scientists decided to look at WORMS and GRUBS. (Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster)

2) it is a way to LOVE reality. in a mature fashion, not just romantic falling in love, but doing the hard work to get to know reality on it's own terms even if those contradict our preconceptions, our fears, our desires. Requires getting outside of our heads, outside of our preconceptions of what we'd like the universe to be like. requires hard work of really listening to what our lover is saying to us.

4) we've explored a LOT. Scientists over the past 400 years, by way of egging each other on and record keeping andwondering and imagining and crafting instruments has explored more than anyone could have imagined. Just peruse this summary of 1600 topics for high school science and see how much science has spread out across the world of phenomena. Notice the depth and breadth of that exploration. Notice these are topics for high school or freshman science in college. This list can easily be expanded in depth a hundred fold, and in breadth to many more realms of basic physics, cosmology, and biochemistry...

5) those hundreds of thousands of facts and formulas and theories in hundreds of disparate realms of experience are not just ISOLATED facts. They JIVE WITH EACH OTHER. they reinforce each other, the body of knowlege that science has gained is a cohesive whole.

I'll post some more about this remarkable cohesivity soon.

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