Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Science Unites

There's been a lot in the news lately about Republicans not "liking" science. They're not alone. Science threatens people for a number of reasons. First, science is the premier methodology for understanding the natural world. Second, science places great responsibility on us. Because once we are provided with an understanding of how nature works we are obligated to act accordingly. Perhaps most important, and what I'm sure really scares Republicans, science unites. The physical reality of nature is the basis of science, something that we all share. The human eye, the human intellect, and all of the human senses are part of scientific reality. We all share it.

Spring trees

Last week Janet's grandmother died at the advanced age of 105. She was a grandmother of four and great-grandmother of nine. Janet made these traditional sephardic foods in her honor and brought them to the shiva at her mother's house in New York.



What does all this have to do with "Science Unites?" For one thing, when we eat together we are united. When we delve into traditional cuisine it unites us with our ancestors. And at the "scientific" level, humans, as heterotrophs, are part of a great family of life that includes all the animals as well as "stranger" organisms like fungi.

Parasitic plant

Pink Oyster Mushrooms

But the food is an aside. As we drove to grandma's graveside service in New Jersey we were treated to one of the most wonderful sights of the year, the springtime trees widened with blooms, their limbs filled and thickened with color, every twig still visible before the leaves of summer. Truly this is one of the temperate zone's great shows, equal or better in my opinion, to the leaves of fall.

The human eye rests on the beauty of nature in rebirth just like the human imagination wonders about the soul, its relationship to the body, and the meaning of life. Some of these questions can be answered by science and some can't. Every culture has its own interpretation, and the fact that we all share a human culture, however distinct each culture is, is a fact of science.

Magnolia Closeup

The beauty of nature, its grounding in the facts of existence, and the realities that it reflects are part of, yet transcend human patrimony. "Not liking" science is like "not liking" eating and drinking. Like it or not, it's reality.

Wonderous Magnolia

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