Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Science vs. Religion, part 1

Where to begin?  I am a scientist, by nature. I use logic and trial and error and my five senses to come to conclusions about the world.  However, I do not consider myself an atheist.  I'm not a Christian either.  I try to have ideas about what I don't know, not beliefs.  Atheists believe in the reality that there is no God, no spirit, no things which we cannot explain with science.  I'm somewhere near that, but as a generalist (in general), I just can't commit to that extreme either. I am open to possibility.  This doesn't mean I'm going to agree with something that is contrary to what I know to be true; it means that there are a lot of things we humans still don't know about the nature of reality and I don't claim to know the answers either.

This is important to understand because I feel very strongly that Christianity (or any fundamentalist religious group) has no business in science.  They are mutually exclusive. They are as different as the subjects of Economics and Music are in school. You're a private Christian school and you want to teach that Genesis is literal?  Fine. I disagree with it, but you have that right to teach it in your school.  But to call any of it science is ludicrous!

Science is a subject in its own right. It wasn't "created" by scientists to prove their beliefs. If anything, it is a language for scientists to express what they "discover" about the world.  It's like Math.  Humans needed a way to express the idea of quantity.  For example: I collected 10 oranges and you would like to eat 2 of them but I want 3 lemons in exchange.  A system of numbers was created to express quantity.  As culture became more complex, so did our need to express numbers and therefore we developed algebra and geometry and calculus.  We didn't just make the shit up on a whim.  Science didn't just get pulled out of some scientist's ass either.

The problem I have is two-fold.  1. Children are not getting an adequate education to go out into the world and be functioning rational adults, able to have positive discourse with anyone outside of their own worldview.  This limits their potential for growth as a human being.  This process of controlling what a child learns and has access to is a way of controlling their minds in general so that they grow up to not question anything - even when it is blatantly in conflict with their own self-interest. This happens in public school as well, but these children have access to ideas outside of what they are being taught as "true".

This leads to... 2.  Adults who have been brainwashed into thinking science is a religion and that all scientists are atheists and that anyone who questions their beliefs is an atheist.  None of which are true.  It is the very heart of science to be logical and to question everything. When you have been taught that science is based on belief, you can dismiss it easily and insert whatever hair-brained idea you have in its place.  The fact that I can't have a rational conversation with a particular segment of humanity because they are teaching their children OUT RIGHT LIES is heartbreaking.

I'm not arguing that public school is perfect or that science is the only way to experience the world.  I am arguing that science should be taught as simply "science" in whatever school it is taught.  Teach "intelligent design" on its own, if you must. Teach your class on Genesis and enjoy yourself... but they have no business in science.  And if you just refuse to teach kids about evolution as science, go ahead and call it a "theory" if that helps you sleep at night.  Just please, PLEASE teach it in a SCIENCE class.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Facelift

This blog has served many purposes for me over the years, but I think it needs to evolve even further.  Therefore, I've changed the design to make it a little more "grown up" and reader friendly.  This change reflects my desire to jump into the fire of the blogosphere more seriously.

Expect some changes, as they are inevitable in life...and in this blog.