Friday, September 04, 2009


Learning and Teaching

Around graduation time last year, R.R. Reno, at First Things, penned a devastating analysis of modern higher education. Please read it all, slowly and carefully. But I want to focus on one particular comment:
Aside from the natural sciences, we give students little more than training in critique. Loyal to our critical principles, we can barely squeak out the slenderest of affirmations. Fearful of living in dreams and falling under the sway of ideologies, we have committed ourselves to disenchantment. {empasis added]
Reno's thesis, stated slightly differently is that we do not create any more, at least not, as he makes plain in this paragraph, in the humanities. What an amazing situation when the creative heart of the academy lies in the science department!

I'm not talking about self-expression here either. That passes for art a lot these days - No, I am talking about the creative impulse that animates most of us to make things better, not just for ourselves, but for the world.

Is it any wonder that so many of our highly educated feel powerless in this day and age? We don't build, we tear down.

Which is why, science education is becoming increasingly important. The scientific disciplines still create. Yes, sometimes they go too far, as in the case of reproductive technology, but the push is to make things better.

The biggest problem is the creative edge of science is really only accessible through mathematics, and so many people just don't have the math gene. I think science educator's need to work hard to find a way make that creative impulse that still lives in science accessible.

And I think the church should be helping them. After all, the creative impulse IS God's image.

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