Thursday, September 9, 2021

#252 / The Source Of Our Astonishment

The above definition of "science" was obtained from the website of the Science Council, which defines itself as follows:
The Science Council provides the quality assurance system for those working in science. We set the standards for professional registration for practicing scientists and science technicians across all scientific disciplines. Through our Licensed Bodies we admit to our registers scientists and science technicians who meet our competence and conduct requirements and commit to Continuing Professional Development. Those scientists who reach the required standards are recognized by the following designations CSci, CSciTeach, RSci and RSciTech.
I went looking for a definition of "science" because of something I read in an article published in The Wall Street Journal on July 29, 2021. The article, authored by Lawrence Krauss, was titled, "The Messages in the Marsquakes." 
Krauss is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, and he was commenting on recent investigations of Mars by American scientists. As readers probably know, the NASA team operating the InSight lander on Mars is providing lots of new information about the interior structure of that planet, and that information is leading to the conclusion that Mars is quite a bit different from Earth, in rather fundamental ways. 

Here is a statement in Krauss' article that drew my attention, and that sent me looking for a definition of "science": 

The InSight lander’s work is a timely reminder of science’s capacity to astonish. Even as mankind probes the far depths of the universe and explores the secret workings of subatomic particles, our often myopic picture of our local surroundings can still dramatically change. Every time we open a new window on the universe, we are surprised (emphasis added).
The precise way we choose to express ourselves can, and often does, reflect something quite profound - specifically, our worldview. Here, Krauss is astonished by "science," and science is a human activity, the "pursuit and application of knowledge...of the natural world...."
In other words, Krauss has said that he is astonished and surprised not by the "Natural World" itself, but by the human activity of investigating it. Of course, I am quibbling a little bit, but this statement by a well-regarded scientist is just one more little reminder that human beings tend to be most impressed by their own activities, and by their own creations, instead of being astonished by the Creation itself, the World of Nature upon which all life, including our own, ultimately depends.
It is hard to escape from the gravity of our own self-regard. 
But we should keep on trying!
It just happens to be true that our lives will ultimately depend on our success in doing just that!

Image Credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!