Saturday, May 12, 2018

"Science...Skeptical...Yet Drop-Jawed Amazement"

According to the science writer, Chet Raymo, and many other scientists,
“Science is founded on twin cornerstones of skepticism and astonishment.”

“The thoughtful person will try to walk the line between drop-jawed amazement...and cautious skepticism about the correctness of our knowledge."

Science, is "A story of sublime dimension. Tentative, evolving, and not always comfortable, carrying us in our imaginations to the farthest reaches of space and time..."

"Scientific knowledge enlivens our every experience and tunes us to the deepest the world that evades our limited senses. Science cannot nor should not be a religion, but it can be the basis for...” wonder and awe.
From Skeptics and True Believers
by Chet Raymo, p. 252, 254 Raymo, a professor of physics and astronomy, has received commendations for his science writing from evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould and other scientists and the general reading public.

According to the Jewish thinker Martin Buber, all of us humans, to one degree or another, live in both the I-examine-the-it and the I-experience-the-'other'.

My thoughts: It’s only when these 2 very different categories get confused, mixed up, and muddled that bad trouble results.

Science is we-it, the impersonal objective study of the cosmos, nature, life, and human primates.

However, I, as an amateur, an enthusiast of science, and most professional scientists, first got into science itself because of WONDER AND ASKING AND SEEKING--the we-experiential...

When young, we science-lovers felt jolted over by little creepies and/or big animals, dandelions and tall trees, by the natural world, the ocean and the mountains, the stars and the UNKNOWN.

So before we formally studied anthropology or astronomy, etc., we first encountered the I-experience of awareness, life, relationship--whether between 2 individuals, between a human and an animal, or even the impersonal experienced as a fascinating rock or sea shell, a scenic vista, or the awe-inspiring falling meteors, distant planets, stars, galaxies and Existence itself.

For example, a professional scientist studies and writes about human primate behavior such as kissing. That’s we-it.

But when the scientist gets home and kisses his/her sweetheart, the scientist isn’t thinking about biology, physiology, matter, molecules, atoms, but experiencing passion, joy, intent, commitment, sharing, etc. That’s I-personal-experiential.

Imagine him coming home, and when his wife kisses him, he pulls back and says, 'let's discuss the molecular structure of your primate vermillion border.'


The experiential encounter is lost. Maybe he will have to sleep on the couch...

But if she suddenly feels wracking pain in her lips, the scientist, especially if he is a physician or medical specialist, will quickly switch to the I-examine it.

Only when we humans confuse study with personal experience, and vice versa, do we get into all sorts of trouble.
Would anyone choose to give up the wonder of the star-spangled sky, and choose to relate his/her spouse via a test tube and statistics?

I wouldn’t.

But, tragically, billions of humans now (and in the past) choose to reject healthy skepticism and the scientific method in order to keep what they feel is true based on their own experiences, which are actually illusions and delusions.

I wouldn’t.

ONLY when humans are balanced using both the scientific method AND personal experience—are we whole, having both a mind and a heart.

In the LIGHT--we-experience and we-study and we-relate,

Daniel Wilcox

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