Thursday, September 17, 2009

Science and its Pyrrhic Victory

When I first gave the TOK lectures on Sciences back in 2006, I deliberately and with 'malice aforethought' presented the case that the scientific paradigm (note: not science itself) had devoured all other disciplines convincingly. Science, in effect, had won by debasing itself into the lowest common denominator.

I shan't recapitulate the arguments here, since I don't intend (as I've said before) to give that lecture again. But what heartened me so much was that the 2006-2007 IB batch at the College of Wyverns spawned a lot of debate, sometimes rather contentious, about whether I was right or not. There were many sophisticated arguments propounded in opposition to my case, some of which were difficult to defeat.

The trick, as always, was to choose a pillar of modern thought (or two, or three) which had been taken for granted (as a given) by everyone. Using this as the basis for an argument resulted in the sure-win case that I propounded. What my very dear (and often very capable) students really needed to do was to rid themselves of their own quotidian perceptions and preconceptions and question everything I'd said from first principles.

Very few came close to succeeding, but I admired the attempts, futile or not. I can only hope that future wyverns will display as much fighting spirit against overwhelming cunning, age-fermented intellectual treachery, and deliberately crafty propaganda as those of the First Flight did.

Meanwhile, I have to note that the Hive has responded in the latest round of evaluations. It's amusing that of all the highly-integrated programmes, only one institution failed to garner an award at the pre-university level. I am highly entertained, and yes, I am seriously amused. It is the triumph of the scientific paradigm over the abuse of intelligence.

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