— Mary Oliver (born 1935) - Poet
The New Republic | By Leon Wieseltier | May 28, 2013
Owing to its preference for totalistic explanation, scientism transforms science into an ideology, which is of course a betrayal of the experimental and empirical spirit. There is no perplexity of human emotion or human behavior that these days is not accounted for genetically or in the cocksure terms of evolutionary biology. It is true that the selfish gene has lately been replaced by the altruistic gene, which is lovelier, but it is still the gene that tyrannically rules. Liberal scientism should be no more philosophically attractive to us than conservative scientism, insofar as it, too, arrogantly reduces all the realms that we inhabit to a single realm, and tempts us into the belief that the epistemological eschaton has finally arrived, and at last we know what we need to know to manipulate human affairs wisely. This belief is invariably false and occasionally disastrous. We are becoming ignorant of ignorance.
[T]here is no task more urgent in American intellectual life at this hour than to offer some resistance to the twin imperialisms of science and technology, and to recover the old distinction — once bitterly contested, then generally accepted, now almost completely forgotten – between the study of nature and the study of man. As Bernard Williams once remarked, “’humanity’ is a name not merely for a species but also for a quality.” You who have elected to devote yourselves to the study of literature and languages and art and music and philosophy and religion and history — you are the stewards of that quality. You are the resistance. You have had the effrontery to choose interpretation over calculation, and to recognize that calculation cannot provide an accurate picture, or a profound picture, or a whole picture, of self-interpreting beings such as ourselves; and I commend you for it.
So keep your heads. Do not waver. Be very proud. Use the new technologies for the old purposes. Do not be rattled by numbers, which will never be the springs of wisdom. In upholding the humanities, you uphold the honor of a civilization that was founded upon the quest for the true and the good and the beautiful. For as long as we are thinking and feeling creatures, creatures who love and imagine and suffer and die, the humanities will never be dispensable. From this day forward, then, act as if you are indispensable to your society, because – whether it knows it or not – you are.
Excerpts from Wieseltier’s commencement speech at Brandeis University.
— John Adams (1735-1735), American Founding Father, statesman, diplomat,
Enlightenment political theorist, and second president of the United States
"Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow.
But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
— C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), Irish novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian
Big Think | By Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd | February 9, 2013
As a psychologist, Madeline Levine has seen firsthand how children today are unraveling under pressure. In order to “succeed,” children take stimulants to study or cheat regularly to maintain their grades. They also resort to unhealthy ways of coping with anxiety such as substance abuse or self-mutilation. What the heck are we doing to our kids?
“We need to embrace a healthier and radically different way of thinking about success,” Levine argues in her book, Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success. We celebrate what is obvious and measurable over everything else. This is debilitating to children in precisely the same way that it is debilitating to parents. It is debilitating to everyone.
Levine argues for a different approach which she calls “courageous parenting.” If your child hasn’t learned to read in kindergarten, don’t freak out. Development is a process, and it is doesn’t happen at the same pace for everyone. Have the courage to let your child experiment and play. We overload our children with homework, even though we know that about one hour is really the right amount.
The Atlantic Magazine | ByMarch 8, 2013
For homeschooling parents who want to teach their children that the earth is only a few thousand years old, the theory of evolution is a lie, and dinosaurs coexisted with humans, there is no shortage of materials. Kids can start with the Answers in Genesis curriculum, which features books such as Dinosaurs of Eden, written by Creation Museum founder Ken Ham. As the publisher’s description states, “This exciting book for the entire family uses the Bible as a ‘time machine’ to journey through the events of the past and future.”
It’s no secret that the majority of homeschooled children in America belong to evangelical Christian families. What’s less known is that a growing number of their parents are dismayed by these textbooks.
Take Erinn Cameron Warton, an evangelical Christian who homeschools her children. Warton, a scientist, says she was horrified when she opened a homeschool science textbook and found a picture of Adam and Eve putting a saddle on a dinosaur. "I nearly choked," says the mother of three. "When researching homeschooling curricula, I found that the majority of Christian homeschool textbooks are written from this ridiculous perspective. Once I saw this, I vowed never to use them."
— Jason Silva (born 1982), Venezuelan-American television personality, filmmaker, and philosopher.