Why Teach Science?

  1. Science should be taught to everyone so that everyone can appreciate the complexity and beauty of nature.
  2. Science should be taught to everyone because great scientists can become great only if they become scientists first.
  3. Science should be taught to everyone because understanding science is the key to understanding technology. And technology has become a force in society which, if we are not careful, will control our future.

Not every student in an art class becomes an artist. Not every student in a science class becomes a scientist. But everyone should learn to understand the beautiful and everyone should learn to understand the world around them.

Science, at its best, is doubt instilled in a person as a virtue. Certainty is stagnation. Critical thinking and careful comparison are essential toward building the constantly improving models built by the methods of science. Being able to think critically, examine evidence, and an unwillingness to be fooled by flashy false claims are universal skills.

A deep insight into the human condition: 
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest,
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast,
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reasoning but to err. 
                                           -- Alexander Pope, Essay on Man

See also: Scientific American: Skepticism as a Virtue
An inquiry into the original meaning of the word "skeptic"

Last Updated: Dec 07, 2008 Home