Saturday, April 19, 2008

cold spring, continued

Well--it snowed last night, and again this evening. 19th of April. The daffodils are out in their glory, defying the snow and gloom like spots of sunshine, though. Hooray for them!

Wow, Google is a powerful tool. This is not an ad. I was thinking about a phrase I read in a book about 25 years ago, and couldn't quite remember where I read it or who the author might be. So I googled it. I guessed it was from Francis Schaeffer, and the key words were "science" and "gamesmanship". Lo and behold, first line of the search returned the quote from one of his books, and when I clicked on the link, it took me to the page with the keywords in yellow highlight. Whew, this is almost scary. In rereading the passage, I realized that I now understand what Schaeffer was saying much more than when I first read it. It was actually around 30 years ago that I read the book, "The Church at the End of the 20th Century", and I find his writing much more comprehensible now than I did then. It makes me wonder what I had been thinking about up to that time, if anything, that I understood so little and so superficially what he was saying--I was in my late 20's at the time, and should have had the intellectual maturity to absorb much more. It occurs to me yet again what a pilgrimage I've been on for the last 30 years.

The quote was taken from Schaeffer's account of when he was addressing a gathering in the UK. A young man from the scientific world stood up, and said to him, "Sir, what you don't understand is how much the scientific enterprise is only the upper middle class doing science as a form of gamesmanship." Schaeffer's comment was, "I am sure he is right."

At the time, I had recently resigned from my job as a hydrogeologist with the state of Montana to pursue a completely different career path. The young man's statement made a particular impression on me at the time because it rang so true with my own experience. Schaeffer's point was that modern man has lost any expectation that he will discover truth, that truth, if it exists at all, is unfindable. This attitude exists even within the scientific community, and has reduced the search for truth in science to the search for statistical averages. A really good read, even for those who may disagree with Mr. Schaeffer's theology, or even with theology in general.

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