Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Love and Science

"Wes Jackson of the Land Institute said once, thinking of the nuclear power and genetic engineering industries, 'We ought to stay out of the nuclei.' I remember that because I felt that he was voicing, not scientific intelligence, but a wise instinct: an intuition, common enough among human beings, that some things are and ought to be forbidden to us, off-limits, unthinkable, foreign, properly strange. I remember it furthermore because my own instinctive wish was to 'stay out of the nuclei,' and, as I well knew, this wish amounted exactly to nothing. One can hardly find a better example of modern science as a public predicament. For modern scientists work with everybody's proxy, whether or not that proxy has been given. A good many people, presumably, would have chosen to 'stay out of the nuclei,' but that was a choice they did not have. When a few scientist decided to go in, they decided for everybody. This 'freedom of scientific inquiry' was immediately transformed into the freedom of corporate and / or governmental exploitation. And so the freedom of the originators and exploiters has become, in effect, the abduction and imprisonment of all the rest of us. Adam was the first, but not the last, to choose for the whole human race." from Wendell Berry's Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition

Berry is older, wiser and more experienced than me which makes me hope that his statement that the "intuition...[to not pursue scientific experimentation with the nuclei is] common enough among human beings, that some things are and ought to be forbidden to us, off-limits, unthinkable, foreign , properly strange" is true. From my experience at the university i have to disagree, supposing that the student body and faculty are close to an accurate representation of humanity nowadays; at the university, for the most part, Man is god and god has no limits. We can and should conquer/answer every question. All of this is, however ironically, within a prevailing postmodern attitude of doubting everything. Explain this paradox to me professors and fellow students. Maybe this is why, in two ways, I am so ready to get the hell out of that place. Hell is the absence of YHWH. Ichabod.

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." Proverbs 3: 1-12

I can only imagine what scientific enquiry would look like if only this bit of the Proverbs were studied and embraced first, if scientific experimentation was pursued humbly out of love for God and man.

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