An appreciation of science
Science is the one subject that studies "the whole of the universe". All the others -- psychology, philosophy, history, politics, engineering, economics, medicine -- are concerned with humanity or its creations. They work on human terms, on a human scale. Scientists alone consider the expanse of the cosmos, the tapestry of life itself, the building blocks that comprise the universe.
The discovery of the inner workings of the cell -- the structure of DNA, the way proteins are made, and really the way evolution works -- in the 1950s and 1960s led us in two very different directions: along one path, to biologic medicines, which starting with insulin have improved the lives of millions, and industrial biotechnology, which is starting to make our civilization more sustainable. And along another, with the idea that humanity evolved from absurdly simple origins without design but nevertheless, to philosophy and even spiritualism, literally addressing the meaning of existence.
There are just two classes of people -- scientists, and the men who walked on the Moon -- who are capable of knowing that we are small.
29 January 2014