Most people aren’t deeply interested in science

Last Wednesday, I explored Mystery and Evidence, one articulation of the contrast between Religion and Science.  Another topic stemming from Tim Crane’s NY Times Article which I found of interest was his claim:

… most people aren’t deeply interested in science, even when they have the opportunity and the basic intellectual capacity to learn about it. Of course, educated people who know about science know roughly what Einstein, Newton and Darwin said. Many educated people accept the modern scientific view of the world and understand its main outlines. But this is not the same as being interested in the details of science, or being immersed in scientific thinking. …

I have suggested that while religious thinking is widespread in the world, scientific thinking is not. I don’t think that this can be accounted for merely in terms of the ignorance or irrationality of human beings. Rather, it is because of the kind of intellectual, emotional and practical appeal that religion has for people, which is a very different appeal from the kind of appeal that science has.

Stephen Jay Gould on “The Simpsons”

Stephen Jay Gould once argued that religion and science are “non-overlapping magisteria.” If he meant by this that religion makes no factual claims which can be refuted by empirical investigations, then he was wrong. But if he meant that religion and science are very different kinds of attempt to understand the world, then he was certainly right. — Tim Crane. Mystery and Evidence. NY Times. 9/5/2010.

I agree with Crane, "most people aren’t deeply interested in science, even when they have the opportunity and the basic intellectual capacity to learn about it."

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Why do you agree/disagree with Crane’s assertion?

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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2 Comments

  • kle.seaton@gmail.com'
    Kelly commented on September 15, 2010 Reply

    I think the way that non-scientists and non-religious people view science and religion (respectively) is the same. Non-scientists often approach science with skepticism, and tend to distrust scientists as having ulterior or self-serving motives. This is particularly true if scientists contradict a firmly held belief system, regardless if the belief system is out to lunch or not.

    Non-religious people often approach religion with skepticism, and distrust religious people as having ulterior or self-serving motives. This is particularly true if said religious folks contradict a firmly held worldview, regardless if the belief system is out to lunch or not.

    On the other hand, the burden lies on both scientists and “religious” folk alike to make their respective ideological arguments relevant to “lay people” and convince them of the life-changing importance of their “fields”.

  • damp.ione@gmail.com'
    Rick Barrin commented on October 8, 2010 Reply

    In my opinion, many people are interested in Science, it’s just they do not have the patience to go through everything in details. Also, some people think that Science is just for nerds and geeks or persons with very high IQ. Little to they know that Science can be fun if applied in a non-traditional way.

    Most popular shows today use Science to sell ratings and provide an opportunity of presenting the subject in a unique and fascinating way.

    Rick Barrin
    audiocreed forums – Indexing art,
    literature, science & philosophy

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