I have written a few Life 101 posts, and this one is about the scientific method and science content.
The scientific method
The scientific method is, in many ways, common-sense set in system. It is a formalized version of a grounded, pragmatic, and common sense approach to life and exploring and learning more about anything in life. It’s just about universally useful, any time we wish to explore and learn about something.
And that includes when we want to discover who and what we are, our true nature, and how to live from noticing our true nature. We can follow pointers and practices, notice what happens, notice what we find, invite our human self to be transformed from the practices and the noticing, and so on. We may share it with others. They see that they find and report that. And there is a dialog. We learn from each other and inevitably are our own final authority.
The content of science is different. This is the product of the scientific method. It’s what we discover, and how we think and talk about what we discover.
In conventional science, this is less universal. How we understand things in the world varies across time and cultures. Often, we refine smaller things within the bigger worldview. And sometimes, even our bigger worldview changes.
If we explore what we are and our true nature, what we find seems a bit more universal and it tends to be described similarly across times and cultures. And here too, people perceive and express it through the lens of their own time, culture, and personal background and inclinations, and we may focus on and emphasize different facets.
This is another Life 101 topic – basic and essential.
The scientific method is common sense set in system. It reflects how we go about learning, discovering and living our lives when we do so with some sanity and groundedness. And the guidelines reflected in the scientific method are useful for us in most or all areas of life.
Science content – what we collectively think we know – is different. This will always change for us as humanity, cultures, and individuals. In smaller and bigger ways. In any and all areas of life. And for both content and context (worldviews).
The essence of the scientific method is more or less universal. And the content of science – what we think we know based on science – is always limited, colored by our worldviews, and changing.
This is why I am very grateful that in both school and university, a big part of the education was about how to think about ourselves and the world. It was, implicitly or explicitly, about the scientific method. (And a lot of it was critical thinking about society and history, bias, how the powerful stay in power and how the masses are manipulated, and so on.)
And it’s also why I see learning critical, sane and grounded thinking, exploration, and investigation as essential in any good education. It’s as important as other basics like reading, writing, basic math, and so on.
Of course, it depends on what kind of society we want.
If the goal of our educational system is to train people to be good “cogs in the machine”, then teach them what they need to be good servants in corporate jobs. (Obey authority, writing, math, non-critical history etc.). If the goal of our educational system is to create a society that works for more people, including future generations, and to help the students live good, meaningful, and rich lives, then help them explore and learn the basics of a good life, including critical thinking.