Science in the Class-room


Biological evolution is precisely what science, with its strictest criteria for assigning truth-content to proclaimed propositions, has been able to confirm and sanction beyond any reasonable doubt.
If our goal in classrooms is to be faithful to science in the teaching of science, it would be unfair, untruthful, and unfortunate if unwarranted extrapolations and/or side stories are presented as part of the scientific worldview.
In this context it is appropriate to point out that this magnificent scientific revelation of biogenesis not only gives us a coherent understanding of how we came about in this rocky speck in the vast stretch of space, but also presents us with an opportunity to wonder at this enormous potential of the laws of physics and chemistry which seem to be the only root of it all!
But it is equally legitimate to recognize that, as a result of our cultural/psychological evolution, poetic and imaginative accounts of genesis – whether of the universe or of humanity – have always held, and continue to hold, a fascination for many. These accounts have stood the test of time in various cultures, and must be preserved as part of humanity’s cultural legacy.
Therefore they too must be taught in schools and colleges, not as scientific truths, but as sources of inspiration for great art and music and poetry.
Considering them as mythopoeic visions need not diminish their value in human culture, but mistaking them for scientific truths would not only do injustice to science, but also trivialize the intrinsic worth of poetic truths which have independent value and validity on a quite different plane.

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About Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.
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