Science as a Candle in the Dark

In 1922, President Woodrow Wilson wrote, “Like every other man of intelligence and education, I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised.”

Why is it that American’s are so susceptible to emotional rhetoric and uncritical thinking? In a time when science is saving the lives of so many people, math and science enrollment is down. Math and science not only teach critical thinking, they help advance truth.

Currently in America there has begun a subtle shift to theocracy over democracy. The symptoms of this are emotions over logic, the legislation of personal morality, and a focus on Christianity as the one truth. This is a disturbing trend. America was founded on freedom of religion – not just Christianity, but all religions.

There’s never been a war fought in the name of science. No country has gone to war because they didn’t believe in M Theory. However, year after year countries go to war over religion. Why is this? How can something that is such a positive force in so many people’s lives also be such a negative? Rupert Sheldrake said, “I think there’s a very widespread sense of disenchantment with this disenchanted world. People aren’t going to start a spiritual quest unless there’s a sense of need, and I think there’s a very widespread sense of need.”

I agree with Rupert. I’m not sure what is going on though. Why does spirituality seem to be incompatible with reason? The more I learn about science, the more spiritual I become. Of course, I don’t believe everything I read though – whether it’s in a scientific article in the journal Nature or in the King James Version of the Bible.

How is it that at a time when TV shows like CSI are so popular, public interest and ‘belief’ in science are at an all time low? The same people that trust DNA evidence in court rooms around the country also doubt ironclad proof of the decay of carbon atoms to date organic matter. The science is the same – it’s based on molecular chemistry and has been tested to destruction and remains solid after almost 50 years of blasting away at it.

In my opinion, people are intellectually lazy and as science has become more complex the bar to understanding has gotten higher and higher. So, people have just stopped trying. Instead they’ve done the opposite and decided that all truth could be found in a single book. The future of America is uncertain. The last Dark Age, caused by the advent of Christianity, lasted for over 1000 years. I have faith that even if a dark age is on the horizon, the strength of truth and the power of reason will prevail over superstition and uncritical thinking. Carl Sagan concurs and concludes his book, Demon-Haunted World, with these words, “The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.”

Comments (3):

  1. surreal2u

    April 13, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    Also pertinent to more recent conversations as well wouldn’t you say? I’ve always been a fan of this particular entry as well.

    Reply

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