What is Science? (p.907)
Neil Degrasse Tyson has an excellent quote about science. He says that all kids are scientists, it's the parents who slap on the restrictions to prevent them from hurting themselves or damaging property. I've never heard anyone speak of parenting scientifically, because science is always so stuffy, rigid and formal. It's always so bound up in the scientific method, where we move from a well thought-out hypothesis to a process of evidence, proving the truth or non truth of our hypothesis.
With Tyson in mind; does science have to be stuffy, or have the intelligentsia decided that for us? I'm aware that science is a discipline focused on understanding via reason and demonstration, but when science gets so formal and results-driven that it prevents itself from separating itself from the process, inhibiting self-judgment. What's happening when Tyson allows his kids free reign is an allowance of disorder because it will probably find order. He urges them to be little scientists, not superimposing many rules because their experiences develop their mental capacity. He accepts the outcome of a dirty house because it's means to an end which he will not control but anticipates will be favorable.
That type of paradigm is unconventional because it breeds disorder with no promise of order, which is specifically what science does not intend to do. It's purpose is to order larger portions of reality starting with only a few observations and suppositions about it.
It seems unscientific, until I began thinking about Nazi science, and science's glimmering formality began to tarnish.
See, the Nazi doctors didn't start out as Nazi doctors, they started as Austrian doctors and German doctors. They converted to preserve their lives. They were urged to continue being scientists, however given a fresh direction: Medical experimentation on Jews and Gypsies. I'm unaware of the exact number that complied, but I do know that experimentation on the living was quite prevalent. They never judged the nature of the experiments, they just stuck to formal science. They had a specific directive, which, as long as their experiments didn't upset it, provided them safety. Order brought order.
It comes down to being ends-driven or being means-driven. Both were scientific, per se. Both had a long-term goal of understanding. But how much is science worth to the world if it progressively asks we shut off our self-reflection and judgment? The Nazis were so doggedly ends-driven that the doctors eagerly operated on other humans for the purpose of determining better ways of taking life. Tyson's end was so general--a greater ability to think--that his means became admittedly chaotic. The limitless environment he allowed fostered their creativity. I can't speak for him, but I speculate he'd say that the more creative one is allowed to be, the greater their capacity to shift their gaze back onto the themselves. Now there's no guarantees, as spoiled rotten children demonstrate, however if children are exposed to science not as a formal scientific method, but as an informal holistic experience, we may not produce so many scientists that will willingly participate in reprehensible things because they'll think wider than the rigid method. We may produce more scientists that welcome the application of soft sciences within the hard sciences, as Tyson does.
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