Posted by PintofStout on February 2, 2006
In the State of the Empire speech on Tuesday, GW Caesar laid out a plan to increase funding for advanced science and math education for high school kids. I was originally shocked to find he must actually believe in that hocus pocus, but as time went on I figured he must have meant fuzzy math and irrational numbers (the deficit) in the study of intelligent design.
Having the science and math background I do, I certainly value the empirical and rational world of science and math. It drives innovation, solves problems, and gives us an understanding of nature. It’s the environment this stuff is taking place in that worries me. Science and math students are no better off than social science, art or vocational students when it comes to actually being able to think past the garbage that gets passed off as history or government (and sometimes science). We can’t increase funding for government or philosophy or economics classes because then everyone would know how bad their government is screwing them. (I really have to lay off the bend over and screwing comments…sheesh!)
So while science and math are important, so too – maybe more so – is being aware of the society and artificial systems we toil under. Science happens inside these systems and these systems happen inside the natural world which science studies. But the artificial systems aren’t predictable and don’t follow ironclad rules that nature does. That’s why I think it is more important to study social sciences for awareness. Nature will happen regardless of what we do.