By Joel Hess –
Science is overrated. The emperor is naked! We’ve been following a nut job to Utah!
Today we are enamored by all things ‘science’ like the lotus eaters of Homer’s Odyssey. Scientific pursuit has become our drug, our god. Or so we claim. When it comes to moral or social issues, the public quickly chucks aside empiricism and logic in order to obey their irrational feelings about a matter. The media regularly alarms the public about the lack of females excelling in the sciences. (This is ironic because mothers are by nature expert scientists). Every politician strikes fear in his would be voter, telling her that America’s schools are far behind other countries in science, math and technology. A quick perusal of the White House’s plan for improving education quickly produces the impression that the President only cares about improving the teaching of science.
Oh sure everyone nods their heads to the importance of the liberal arts. But no one really believes that. Look at where the money goes. Be honest, O brainwashed reader! Who would you rather have on a desert island with you? MacGyver or James Joyce? We want the guy who can build a raft not write a novel!
At best, ‘experts’ politely applaud the arts because some scientific study demonstrated that reading a poem or listening to Beethoven while studying math improves information retention. Do you see the spice-eyed motivation? As long as the liberal arts serves science, its ok. As long as the arts are useful!
This is how we judge everything in America – as long as its useful – whether we are talking about things or people.
I completely despise people who judge the arts by their usefulness. Art for art’s sake. There is absolutely nothing useful about El Greco’s Laocoon. Yet we need it more than we needed the invention of vaccines!
Technology, we have been convinced, keeps us alive. And I submit, despite the daily evidence against it, we secretly believe that science and technology may give us eternal life! The western world believes that somewhere hidden on a government funded laboratory is the way, the truth and the life.
But does our hope have any foundation? I submit that technology and science hasn’t changed anything at all. To be sure, there is less infant mortality; people seem to be living longer. But let’s be logical. What’s 2 years to 80 years? It’s still just a drop in the bucket. Your years are infinitesimal in light of infinity, if death is the end. If infinity exists, you will be dead a lot longer than alive. With all the money spent on medicine, nothing has really changed. We live a little longer. We have put a rover on a distant dusty rock. So what? We can be entertained by people far away while lying in bed and texting our grandmother. Who cares really? You are walking fertilizer!
Ah, but today we even argue that it doesn’t matter how long you live. Our great master, Science, tells us that we will all die and that is, in fact, good for our species’ future. Therefore the ultimate goal for opposing thumbed creatures is to enjoy their brief moment revolving around the sun before they are crushed to dust. Quality versus quantity. We shirk at the lifestyles of peasants or kings in the Middle Ages or those who live in third world countries today. Why? We don’t care that we are all dead meat. We just can’t stand the fact that some poor fool is eating Rice Crispies with flies spinning around his head.
Friends, we have been duped.
We have been seduced down the wrong road! Our future will not be made better by some scientific discovery or new mathematical formula! It’s a dead end Dorothy! Our obsession with science and technology does not flow from a love of life, but from a fear of death. Every dollar spent on research is to feed our irrational hope that we can stop the earth from spinning, clouds from forming, asteroids from falling on our empire of sand.
Now I love, truly love, all inquiry and all studies. I have books upon books on every subject from Astronomy to Zoroastrianism. But I would rather live in a world where the majority of its citizens read plays, pen poems, play fiddles around a fire singing about faeries, than working in a lab. You will learn far more by painting a flower than ripping it apart to figure out how it works only to be left with no flower and no answer as to how it got there in the first place!
Someday we will look back and laugh at our faddish obsession with science and our militant ignorance as to why. These days will seem to us like the dark ages: someday soon, when this empire is shaken. Someday soon, when the Son is revealed and we are revealed as we truly are.