Saturday, July 21, 2012

Contact with Scientific Certainty

Recently, I saw a snarky posting from an avowed secular humanism which mocked a Sunday School poster simplistically urging the children to turn to the Bible and listen to divine teachings. Of course such atheists are too cool for Sabbath School and condescendingly surmise that everyone should think for themselves.

 Later, I came across this idealized pedagogic dialogue showing the “subtleness” of the Socratic method in forming young skulls full of mush.

The problem with the latter exchange is that in a classroom a student rarely becomes a master without suffering a failing grade first.

 The fictitious student’s retort reminded me of a wonderful scene in the film adaptation of Carl Sagan’s novel “Contact” (1997). Dr “Ellie” Arroway (Jodie Foster) was set to intellectually eviscerate Christian Philosopher Palmer Joss (Matthew McConnoghey) for proposing that science has been incapable of delivering meaning to the world.

 But instead of Occum’s Razor carrying the day, the SETI scientist was stumped at proving her love for her father.

 Some things, including matters of consequence like love or God, can not be proven by science. Other issues, like worthy “human life”, do not have scientifically probative answers and rely upon ethics and mores.

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