18 October 2004


science is often objectionable. science is often controversial. science often seems offensive to the values that we are all taught as children. But science is truth. Science is the key to understanding the world around us. Science is the pursuit of the inner values which we all seek in life. As such, the faith in the scientific process is vital to all of us.

I use the word faith because we all chose what to believe in in life. And just with any dogma of thought, science, like politics, religion, philosophy, and the such is just as subject to persuation by predetermined ideas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a book in the 1950's well documents the susceptibility of science to this weakness.

For all its weaknesses, the real strength of science is the objective pursuit of truth, despite what preconceived notions may have untruthfully influenced it in the past. To shed off the underlying perceptions that unduly taint our vision of reality *is* the pursuit of truth. Anyone that says otherwise is trying to sell you something.

Most fields of thought are particularly vulnerable to this weakness. Scholars and historians have excellent documentation of how organized religion has been coopted time and time again by unscrupulous sorts, in the end turning into that which the religion preaches against the most. The violence advocated by those who profess their deep religious devotion is evidence enough of this.

Similarly, politics is equally vulnerable. Despite the simple rights spelled out in many constitutions, it becomes overly simple for those who let power that they inherit or earn to corrupt them to subvert these words to deny the very rights they are meant to protect.
Faith. How do we chose what to believe in? A fundamental question. For most people on the planet today, the words in the good book that they are raised in predermine their most sacred faith. Whether christian, muslim, jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Daoist, Buddhist, Zoraostrian, etc., it is the words in their sacred book, translated and retranslated again thru time, that determine the shape of how they perceive what is right and wrong, truth and false in their views. Rightfully so. What better context to view our reality than in the tried and true lessons that are laid out in ancient texts? Throughout time, we have learned the best way to temper our instincts is to listen to our elders, and most valuable lessons ring true thru time, and are sometimes set in stone in sacred texts.

The problem with this paradigm is when the corruption that i described earlier occurs. What happens when the good lessons etched in stone become corrupted by greedy, selfish, small-minded people more interested in bettering themselves than their neighbors? The end result is a system of thought more evil than that which it was originally meant to circumvent.
And thus is the key to having faith in science. Science is a process which, despite its faults, has checks and balances that ensures it must be proven over and over again. It is much less vulnerable to the people that would use it for self benefit to the detriment of society as a whole. It is a way for us to see the universe in an accurate and realistic way, which is fundamental to all our understandings about the simple truths that surround us.

what could be more important than that? The inconceived notion in some unenlightened cultures is that there is a conflict between science and religion. There is none. Obstuctionists in many cultures presume to create a rift to protect their selfish holds on power. When the objective truths revealed in science seem to threaten their views on morality, they attack that which is meant to help, just as ignorant groups attack humanitarian workers sent to aid the basic needs of their populations.

Such is the plight of striving for the truth, it is, and forever shall be the harder path, full of sacrifice and difficult struggle. Yet it is a path most noble, full of reward in knowing that you have helped others. And helping future generations.

Where would be if those brave souls in the last hundreds of years would not have risked scourn, wealth, and even their very life to pursue the truth? Galileo challenging the false dogma that the Earth is center of the universe; Darwin confronting the misled perception that life forms evolve; etc.

Science, the process of seeking the truth is the key. Our collective faith in science is integral to our mutual benefit, from medicine to astronomy to chemistry. When a society loses its faith in the scientific process, they doom themselves to the dark ages, they surrender their capacity to see the world objectively to those that seek to manipulate them for their own personal gain. In the end, if we as thinking creatures surrender our choice to those that will use us, we lose our ability to pass on our world to our children in a way that we take for granted. science is the principle way we can ensure a better world for future generations, and as thus, is something that we all must fight to protect.