Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week in Review - Down with 'The Man'

Coincidentally, all three stories I found intriguing this week feature different ways of bucking the system. Not so coincidentally, they all come courtesy of Slashdot.

Evolution vs. Texas: So, the Texas school board is voting on whether to force teachers to raise doubts on the theory of evolution. My first reaction is to get the politicians out of the determination of knowledge, but then I realize it is effectively their job to ensure the "right" things are being taught. Is it right to raise doubts on evolution? My heart says yes, and my mind says no. (I just wish I could find one creationist argument that isn't easily refuted by current science.) Instead, I'd offer that they raise doubts on science as a whole. First, since science deals with studying the natural realm, there are things that science by definition cannot account for (like the supernatural); it is simply out of scope. Second, that what we "know" through science is just the best explanation we've come up with for the data that we have. Tomorrow, new data or a new explanation may supplant everything.

Bringing me to...

Supernova vs. Scientists: Knock knock. Who's there? Early supernova. Early super... Bang! When a person shows up early, they're called punctual. When a plane shows up early, it's called a miracle. When a supernova shows up early, it makes scientists wonder if they need to throw their current stellar evolution theories out the window. Isn't learning wonderful? It just goes to show that scientists can be wrong.

Which leads me to...

Famous Scientist vs. All: Freeman Dyson, a renowned physicist (and known to Star Trek fans for the Dyson sphere), is up in arms over the global warming stir. He claims "that climate change has become an “obsession” — the primary article of faith for “a worldwide secular religion” known as environmentalism." The saddest part of the whole situation is not in the disagreement, or that he's in the vast minority, but that it has led to name-calling instead of the intellectual discussion it deserves.

Several times I've seen a bumper sticker of the Anthony J. D'Angelo quote:
Your mind is like a parachute. It only works if it is open.
I completely agree with this statement. But a mind and a parachute also only work if they are properly anchored. So, keep your mind open, but also keep it tethered to the truth supported by evidence, whether it is the data of science or the historical accuracy of Scripture. Without it, your parachute may be open, but you'll be in for a very unpleasant surprise.

1 comment:

Linda said...

We need to keep our minds open but balanced with scripture.