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Folly of believing only in sciences

COMMENTARY
By Patrick Mbataru | August 3rd 2016

NAIROBI: Imagine a closed town inhabited only by scientists. God is dead here. Let’s call it ‘Silicon Valley Uploaded’ (SVU).

The residents are reincarnations of great scientists. Here lives Einstein, who discovered the formula used to blast rockets into space.

In one street lives Isaac Newton, he who of motion and gravity and Archimedes, the geometrician. Down street live other worthies: Madam Curie (thermos dynamic expert and discoverer of uranium), Louis Pasteur (microbiologist)... and others.

SVU is the most ‘advanced’ town on earth. There are no musicians, artists or painters. Poets and writers are banned. Of course there is no religion here.

Spirituality and God are relics of barbaric minds of a distant past. The men and women of science find God a hindrance to ‘progress’. So to ‘search the truth’ of nature, they ‘killed’ Him.

Neighbours do not interact. Each mind their business in laboratories. In fact they do not know one another. Life is like living inside a computer. There are robots walking in the streets also.

While rushing to his laboratory, Louis Pasteur trips on the stairs and breaks his leg.

Isaac Newton passes by, hurrying to perform another experiment on gravitation. He see the man on the ground and wonders what laws of motion the man broke to send him tumbling down.

On the other side of the road, Einstein wonders the speed at which the mass of the body hit the ground and at what angle. He notes that down and he promises to study that later in what he is calling ‘relativity’. He quickly moves on.

A visitor from Africa called Wangari Mathaai also happens to be around, attending a meeting on ‘environmental auditing and carbon sequestration benchmarking...’ She wonders: how many trees will suffer if this man dies.

Being a biologist, Louis Pasteur is more interested over the nature germs and pathogens that may have entered into his wounds.

Many residents here are in their 30s and 40s. Their laboratories are within 500 meters of their homes but they regularly get lost in between. They use GPS to navigate around. Some use machines to remind them what to wear, when to eat, sleep and wake up!

The men and women here do not have families because that would interfere with their serious missions to save mankind from backwardness. Children would be an unnecessary diversion.

There is no romance but men can ‘marry’ men and women can do the same to fellow women. Science has set this society free indeed.

Now, when the government announces that only science subjects will be promoted in our school system, isn’t this exactly the idea of society we want to promote?

The ministry of education recently released a policy stating that university lecturers teaching science courses will be paid better than those teaching arts subjects.

Way back in the 80s, the government vigorously promoted science subjects. Students dropped arts. Every boy with a running nose wanted to be a surgeon. Every wench with rheum in her eyes wanted to be an engineer.

Thirty years later their children are burning schools. Today, children are ‘scientific’ enough to carry guns and condoms in school bags.

Science is about data from physical experience. What you cannot observe through the five senses does not exist.

Yet, even the greatest scientist eventually realizes the there is a beyond in human life that cannot be measured.

We owe the current level of material progress to science of the last 300 years. Thanks to technology, we enjoy the finer things of the material world: electricity, cars, flying, and telephony.

In our times, humanity experiencing the highest level of material progress, wealth, life expectancy. But in spite of this, misery is no lesser.

It is a mistake we continue making: thinking that scientific progress alone can provide all answers that human beings clamour for; the reality of death, suffering, war, hopelessness and the aberration of human relations.

That science is not a panacea is signalled by the fact that ideologies and churches promising instant coffee peace and meaning are on the rise. People, rich and poor are joining cults. Drug abuse is associated with the richest countries not the poorest.

Thousands of sick people visit the shrine of Lourdes in France to seek ‘other’ healing after science has failed.

Where science stops, art takes over. After landing on the moon, Armstrong and his colleagues are said to have turned to religion.

Personal and social progress has to balance between science and art.

We need modern medicine, but we need religion to give hope; poetry to remind us the folly of life; painting to show how grotesque or beautiful it is; philosophy to tell us why we are here.

We need musicians to calm the beasts in us. We men need that touch from women that God in his wisdom endowed them. See my point?

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