Education : Can we teach our children to respect clumps of cells ?Jun 14th, 2011 | By Editors,Bon Sum | Category: Current issues
One of the important consequences of a reductionist approach to teaching biology is the loss of the sense of the social self. No matter how much we understand the workings of the DNA or the processes through which cells interact with each other, it is difficult to impossible to translate this understanding of biology to a fuller understanding of group and cultural dynamics at play in the contemporary society.
Our society and its communities have built up over the centuries through a finely tuned interaction between ourselves and our environment encompassing psychological, social, religious, spiritual and technological shifts in understanding and thinking. Although Richard Dawkins coined the term memes as the basic unit of transmission of these interactions, these interactions can be effectively the lumped together under the umbrella of culture.
Until a few centuries ago, religion was the dominant cultural trendsetter. With the extraordinary advances in science we have seen in recent centuries, we now have a powerful array of tools to explain how nature works. However, at the same time, we have also noticed the emergence of the so-called scientific culture which often aims to marginalize the importance of spirituality and religion in our species cultural evolution. we live in a world where the vast majority simply do not have access to equal opportunities education, leave alone scientific education.
The polarisation between the scientific and nonscientific applies only to the explanation of natural phenomena, but in the area of finding personal meaning of our own lives, a study of spiritual and religious cultural history is crucial to have a more balanced and tolerant understanding. Our educational curricula should teach our children a more balanced view of human thought as it evolved over thousands of years, something which can be defined as our spiritual heritage.
Human thought and is not just electrical impulses in neural circuits, and to imply that in our ‘so-called’ scientific education is much more than a dangerous half-truth. Not to reduce ourselves to clumps of cells and neural circuits, and yet provide a comprehensive explanation for our biological processes is complex but fascinating task that lies ahead for our educators and, at schools and in our homes.
The pursuit of truth must encompass multiple dimensions.