“Are you ready to accept the scientific method into your heart?”

So I was going ’round the local Asian supermarket today which seems to be a hotspot for missionaries of all kinds from Krishna to evangelical Christians. I picked up a little booklet telling people that the only way to avoid Hell was to accept Jesus into their hearts and included this little prayer:

God, I am a sinner.

I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again so that I can be forgiven of all my sins. I open my heart to you right now. Please come into my heart. Jesus, please be the Lord of my life from here on. Please be with me until the day I enter Heaven.

I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I began to wonder, what if I stood out front and asked people “are you ready to accept the scientific method into your heart?” I could even hand out booklets with this prayer:

Science, I am an irrational being.

I believe that double-blind controlled experiments are the best way of learning scientific facts, so that we can have the best evidence to provide reasoning for the decisions which we make. I open my mind to you right now. Please come into my mind. Science, please be my light of truth from here on. Please be with me until I return to the abyss of non-existence.

I act in the name of scientific truth. Think.

Ok, perhaps I wouldn’t actually do it. Science isn’t my religion any more than logic, reason, or rhetoric is. They are just tools to find truth.

But I do think it would be interesting to have some people, instead of standing outside of supermarkets on Saturday afternoons trying to convert people to their religion, handing out scientific literature, giving candy to little kids and telling them about the Solar Nebular Theory, sending them on their merry way perhaps with instructions for an experiment to try when they get home.

What if we had people standing outside of supermarkets behind little tables where they dissect fish purchased within to show the little children their anatomy? What if we had microscopes with pond water, full of all sorts of good microbes for them to examine? What about a telescope set outside at night to show them Saturn’s rings or the cratered moon? Air powered rockets? Vacuum chambers? Fossils or fossil casts to touch?

I want to make it absolutely clear that my intent here is not to say that science should be or is followed religiously, but what would be wrong with immitating the methods of supermarket missionaries? Why not have a little table to share a bit of science with children?

Of course, some postmodernist would come along and sneer “you’re just trying to convert people to your socially constructed creed making you no better than a religion” ignoring the fact that the only real doctrine of science isn’t what you can believe but how you come to determine if a belief is true.

But what would be wrong with sharing a little bit of science with kids from 0-110 coming out of Asian supermarkets?

Just an abstract thought…

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10 responses to this post.

  1. That was so funny.

    If I can remember to, I’m going to read that in my best preacher voice on my podcast next time.

  2. Posted by L. Zoel on August 3, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Isn’t getting people to think scientifically already the point of the whole educational system? If 8-3 for twelve years (plus college for some) isn’t enough, I seriously doubt handing out a few tracts is going to make the difference.
    Churches, on the other hand, only get 1 day a week in this country and (thankfully) attendance isn’t mandatory; hence why they spend a moderate amount of effort trying to “reach out” to people.

  3. Posted by Enna on August 3, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I WILL BUY THESE TRACTS! I’m religious, and I still want some! That is the most fantastic “statement of faith” I have ever read.

  4. Posted by David on August 3, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Hallelujah! Reason.

  5. I loved this, Lucia. I’m so glad you sat on the female bloggers panel in New York.

    This is a really great post. I especially liked the “Think” instead of “Amen”.

  6. “Isnโ€™t getting people to think scientifically already the point of the whole educational system?If 8-3 for twelve years (plus college for some) isnโ€™t enough, I seriously doubt handing out a few tracts is going to make the difference.”

    Science is but one subject which is taught in the educational system. Even then it’s mostly about teachers having students memorize facts with very little context. There is no real “critical thinking” class taught in the educational system.

    I think that there’s something about the rigid rules of how to learn in the educational system that turns students off to science.

    I’ve been told by adults at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where I volunteer that they retained more knowledge from listening to me in an environment that didn’t involve the stress of tests, quizzes, and homework than they retained from a year of schooling.

    To put it simply, there is something “ick” about school and something fun about learning for the sake of learning instead of for the sake of a grade or the sake of a standardized test score.

  7. Oh my gosh, that’s a fabulous idea… having little science experiments for kids in places like that! Sounds like an outreach program for high school and college science clubs maybe?

    Lots of amateur astronomers I know invite anyone and everyone to check out the Moon or a planet or a nebula to any passerby. Of course, there are few passer-bys where there is good, dark seeing.

  8. More power to you.

  9. I got here from WP dashboard. Great idea indeed!

    As far as I know, most Asians (I take this word to mean Chinese and Indians, and sundry other kinds of Asians) tend to read Maths and Science – under societal pressure or not, I could not say – and make careers in those fields.

    Would it not be useful to conduct this exercise on people coming out of a Walmart somewhere in deep south in the USA? Or do scientists only do those experiments where results are likely to be desirable/ predictable i.e in this case, people most likely to be influenced and make their own choices about science and/ or religion? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Context on that last line:
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-08/ru-nsa081505.php

    Thanks. It is a good idea but a cult of science indeed would be nearly as bad as the cult of religion.. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  10. +100. Respect. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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