Saturday, September 24, 2016

Heard it all?

(Sorry about the weird line breaks, not there when posted.) From
my friend Del: Just when you think you've heard it all .... the never-ending font of truly creative thinking by some "progressive" will come along to further expand your appreciation of the ridiculous. So... the idea of science, the careful, structured, objective search for knowledge and understanding, is flawed because it assumes there is a valid, definitive answer. This is now condemned as a rigid way to stultify young minds, who should be encouraged to find whatever answer they feel somehow serves them best.
OK, I will start by saying that in my own opinion there is no way for mere human minds to comprehend all of reality fully and perfectly. In the course of human discoveries over the centuries various theories have come and gone, some found to be just false, others as a base for even more exploration of understanding how the universe works. Certainly many kinds of learning are subject to a great deal of uncertainty and lack of precision, psychology is a good example. But physics either leads to actual understanding, or the bridge collapses, and for sure you don't get men to the moon and back. Biology and medicine aren't always perfectly accurate, but people live for many more years because of heart surgery who otherwise would have died. If that isn't a good enough in terms of objective knowledge of how the human body works, then I guess there is no point in any further discussion.
There is so very much we don't know, so much we have no mastery of, so we cannot fall into any silly arrogance about how fantastic we are as masters of the universe. But the universe does have rules in it that we can learn about and understand at least some of, and the centuries of advancing science have given us some solid, objective understanding. Denigrating the concepts of science and objective understanding is a really remarkable step for a highly educated person and teacher to take. (Sorry, I think I'd advise students to find some other courses than hers to take.) --Del

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