Archive | September, 2016

Science

27 Sep

I am not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m confused about what science is today.

I attended a small, rural school in northwest Ohio (McComb Public Schools).  There were 62 students in my graduating class. All Americans regardless of skin color, heritage, or religion.  Thanks to the advice of William Tatham and Joanne Nelson, I followed a college prep curriculum: four years of English, mathematics, science, and social studies. (I should have taken Latin and/or French.  A year of Industrial Arts wouldn’t have hurt nor would have some exposure to Vocational Agriculture.)   It was rigorous and has stood by me.

mccomb-public-school

I was neither the head nor the foot of the class but just someone stuck in the middle struggling to get by.

There weren’t any Advanced Placement courses to earn college credit while in high school.  The Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) that would permit me to take college classes while in high school hadn’t been enacted or promulgated … or probably even conceived.  No distinct STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum existed.

I began my higher education experience at Findlay College nka the University of Findlay.   Findlay College administered placement tests before scheduling students into classes.  To my surprise, I received credit for biology based upon my score on the placement test.  I remember visiting my high school Biology teacher, Nancy Osborne, to thank her for the opportunities she had provided.

university-of-findlay

My first day of Physics provided a challenge; the professor administered the final examination.  I didn’t expect that or the invitation to visit with the professor after the second physics class.  Apparently my score on the “final” justified awarding credit for the class.  Thank you John Hassan who taught Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics at McComb.

WOW!  I had barely been in college a week and had already received credit for Biology and Physics.

Today, however, I’m troubled and confused.  I recall John Hassan and Nancy Osborne and Warren Jones, who taught 7th and 8th grade science, teaching the scientific method.

scientific-method

They stressed the objectivity of science.  They emphasized the impartiality of science.  They fostered dialogue and discussion about experiments and observations.  What happened to this?  The news entertainment industry speaks about Republican science or Democratic science.  Politicians talk about “our” science versus “their” science.  When did science become partisan?  Corporate decisions distort and conceal scientific evidence to enhance the corporation’s profits and frustrate competition.  Scientific results are skewed in favor of the organization funding the research.  When did science decide to prostitute itself like this?  Or has it?  Perhaps we’ve entered another Dark Age when scientific exploration and results must be viewed through the distorted lens of government, grants, and corporations just like in a previous time when the lens was held by religion.

I think I much prefer the science of the Enlightenment.

 

I Hate Birthdays

13 Sep

I hate birthdays.  It’s not because I’m getting older.  I can’t ever recall particularly caring for them.  Nothing about the day excites me. Memories associated with that day just aren’t outstanding.

Perhaps I hate birthdays because for 57 years on my birthday, my father said, “Today was Kasarek’s sale.  I couldn’t go because you were born.  They sold that 150 acres, and the buyer got the wheat crop that had already been planted.  The wheat crop paid for that 150 acres.” He never said that I was responsible for him not buying this neighbor’s land, but the message was clear.

clarence-funk-with-king-and-duke-1197

I confronted my father two months before he died.  I was simply tired of hearing about the Kasarek sale and how he could have acquired another 150 acres for free.  He said, “That’s just how I remember your birthday.”

Well, I finally looked it up.  Father, you lied.  According to the county land records, the land was sold before my birthday.  It was too early to plant wheat; therefore, the new owner planted wheat after my birthday.  A sale did occur on the Kasarek’s property on my birthday.  Household goods and farm equipment went under the gavel.  You could have attended.  I arrived at 8:12 a.m. You had sufficient time to get to the sale if you really wanted to be there.

My father has been dead for nearly twenty years. I still hear him tell about Kasarek’s sale every year. I still hate birthdays.