A Simple Idea:
What if we spent as much time reading and studying scientific texts as we did religious ones? What if there were more Principia study groups than Bible groups? What if more people knew the story of Archimedes and its meaning than the story of Noah’s Ark? What if we memorized natural laws, and as many people knew what E=MC² meant as John 3:16?
Let’s retool the machinery for indoctrinating our kids. Let’s change the payload of mythic stories and fear and replace it with knowledge and wonder. You can set aside an hour a week to discuss great ideas and explanations of the world. Sit down with your family, your friends, and study and discuss a single topic, or a single aspect of a topic. It doesn’t have to replace Sunday school. It can be alongside it. Let’s learn from religious techniques to bring wonder to the masses.
Let’s find a way to present it in bites that are easy to swallow. Let’s make it social. Let’s make it relevant to everyday modern life. Let’s learn in small groups in people’s homes. Let’s put wow into the pursuit of answers. Let’s wonder.
It’s hard to deny the grandeur of the universe when you look at the night sky or see a bee’s wing under the microscope. We all react to that. Call it God, call it Nature, call it the Universe, we all feel it. Let’s use that as a jumping-off point and carry that ember with us, nurturing it, poking at its edges, learning. Let’s stoke it and warm to its flame every week with our friends.
Build on that wonder by asking, “Why?” Make a guess, test it, use the results to make another guess. Teach this method and give everyone the tools to find answers. To build on what others have done. To stand on the shoulders of giants. Make inquiry a lens through which we see the world.
Failure to believe in science will not send you to hell. What can motivate people to the Truth without the threat of eternal damnation? What can motivate them like the promise of eternal life does? Probably nothing. But the more we know about our world, the better we can understand our place in it.
A Few More Questions:
Can the teachings be tied to spirituality? Can studying science provide comfort for the nagging question of why we are here and what happens when we die? If the truth is that there is nothing, can that be mitigated or even transcended by our knowledge of greater truth and our place in it? Or is it just a hollow pursuit and a dramatic bummer? I don’t have answers, but let’s get together and ask them! It’s ok to be smart and not sheep. Let’s search. Let’s wonder.
We need to develop curricula with workbooks and study questions and areas for further study in disciplines like Physics, Chemistry, Evolution, Thermodynamics, Quantum Mechanics, Gravity, Cells, Germ theory, DNA.
We need accessible and consistent translations of the Gospels of the Saints of Science. For example:
Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
On the Origin of Species
We will probably need Saints:
Copernicus, Darwin, Da Vinci, Archimedes, Newton, Aristotle, Hawking, Asimov, Sagan, Feynman, Galileo, Vesalius, Dawkins. Schrodinger, Wilson, Hooke, Freud, Einstein, Archimedes, Pasteur, Curie, Crick
It just an idea and not a treatise nailed to a door. But it could work. It could be a new way to do things. Could it catch on?