I came upon this essay today in the Times here and it really struck a chord for me. I had just been reading the introductory chapter of a textbook that I am using for a science education course and the tone of the chapter had been getting me down. The chapter started off by trumpeting the flip-flop nature of science and then moving forward to note that this inherent character of science was really not a feature of science.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I introduce myself I don’t say things like:
“Hi, I am really flawed, perhaps after meeting me you might see these flaws as a major problem, but really you will get used to it.”
“What’s your name?”
This just seems like a bad way to start a relationship, and books are a relationship. You know right off the back if you are going to get along or not and I have a bad feeling already.
Later while zipping through the Science Times today I felt relieved. Here was an author that understood the nature of science as a hive activity, moving forward by increments that are sometimes hard to see, but are nonetheless still incremental steps forward. The association of science with democracy or at least of science with free speech was a nice connection and I buy it. I think I might start with the article instead of the chapter and get the class going that way.