Mad scientist, 2
Extremely interesting discussion last night on Charlie Rose's PBS show. He had a panel of Big Scientists, running a campaign to get science back into the American mainstream.
All their statements about education accord perfectly with what Polistra has been saying over and over: real-life experimentation works, while rote memorization doesn't. One of the discussants described his grandson's 7th grade science textbook: "It tries to cover all possible subjects in a year by mentioning
each subject for a day. You won't learn anything at all from this." Correct and depressing, because the textbooks I read in 7th grade had exactly the same problem. No improvement in 40 years.
On the goal of gaining more respect and funding, Charlie's discussers missed the point in a big way. Basic human nature: If you want people to respect you and pay you, it's your responsibility to show them some respect, and give them some value for their money. Big Science wants to receive pay and respect, but in return they want to remain free to hate Christians, hate Western civilization, and engage in wild destructive fantasies that yield no productive result.
One of Rose's panel said "Judging by polls, Americans have the false impression that science is just like religion, in that both of them involve faith in arbitrary dogmas." Well, if we were comparing true science with true religion, the impression would be false. But when we deal with the public practice and representation of science BY THE SCIENTISTS, the impression is unfortunately accurate.
As Polistra mentioned a couple days ago,
the dogmatic tendency began in the 1890's when math and science were disconnected from reality; when logic seemed to demonstrate that you could arbitrarily and randomly pick any foundation you want. Chesterton had it slightly wrong. When you don't believe in God (or in this case, don't believe in reality) you're not really free to believe anything
; in fact you'll end up believing the personal authority of a cult leader.
So modern Big Science, as represented in the universities, is genuinely dogmatic and rigid, requiring certain credos and beliefs to be recited by everyone. Any school system that dares to allow debate on Darwin is sued down to bedrock. Any scientist who applies valid logic to Intelligent Design, or dares to question Global Warming, is gone in an instant. Meanwhile, the very same scientific authorities continue to smash the Roman Church for carrying out the Inquisition 400 years ago ... which punished exactly two scientists.
Another member of the Rose panel described the contract between Vannevar Bush (one of the inventors of computing) and President Truman, which developed into the National Science Foundation. Like any proper contract, the VB contract had two sides. Science and technology, through such inventions as radar, computing, jet engines and the A-bomb, had contributed hugely to our victory in WW2. In return for that contribution, and to encourage future contributions, Truman agreed to set up permanent funding for research.
The current science establishment wants government to give more funding, but it has totally spoiled the other side of the contract. By emphasizing pure abstraction with no moral content, science has abandoned its duty to contribute to the victory of the West. Worst of all, many scientists openly and loudly support the enemies of the West, without even noticing that Mohammed eliminates
science wherever he rules. There is a deep connection here, which Benedict XVI has noted: Mohammed treats the will of Allah as strictly random and arbitrary, while Christian tradition treats the will of Jehovah as rational. I confess that I don't feel these connections because I'm spiritually retarded, but they are well-established and visible by their fruits. Rome may have punished Galileo and Bruno for insubordination, but at the same time Rome was rapidly expanding the study of nature and science. So the Mohammedan approach, perhaps subconsciously, has a dangerously seductive appeal to scientists who have disconnected their work from the ground of rationality, morality and faith, considering their basis to be arbitrary and random.
Finally a half-baked thought: focusing on the weapons in situations of violence or war is parallel to focusing only on internal consistency in math and science. If you won't let yourself listen to conscience, won't let yourself judge others on their basic goodness, you have to take away everyone's weapons. If you won't let yourself treat reality as the basis of scientific thought, you have to focus on methods and citations.
Half-baked thought #2: When you try to run an economy without production of physical things
at its base, you have the same problems. You blindly follow the Delphic dicta of Prophet Alan Greenspan when he says inflation is zero and cutting the price of money will keep things running. You focus solely on the tools: the mortgages, the Wall Street Casino, the options on futures of derivatives of futures options. But without a base, without production,
there's really nothing to keep the wingless bird flying.