Science, Such a Sweet Mystery

David P. Barash

In this brief article, David P. Barash , evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington, suggests that the way science is taught needs to change if the scientific enterprise is to have any hope of continued expansion and flourishing. Over and against science as taught to portray human mastery of the world, Barash identifies that in actuality, there is far more that remains a mystery to us than proven fact. As pursuers of truth who hold a respect for mystery and acknowledgement of our human limitation in tandem with a trust that truth can be known through the discipline of science, we find some encouragement from Barash’s conclusions.

Nonetheless, Barash is careful to distinguish between embracing the knowable unknown, and “spiritual claptrap” that might be beyond natural law or human understanding. In this respect, we would question his confidence, or even hope, that one day we will master it all. While it is important to develop our understanding of our world and home, growth in knowledge needs to be girded to an improvement in our relationship to creation. Estranged from loving relationship, knowledge can too easily be reduced to a source of power. We can join with Barash, wholeheartedly agreeing that our knowledge is limited and allowing the mysteries around us propel us forward in seeking truth through the sciences. We, however, see this pursuit not simply as an advancement of humanity, but as the advancement of love for God, neighbour, and creation.

Source: LA Times

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