(Some of) Dr. Martin Luther King’s thoughts about science.

Although Dr. Martin Luther King Day will be officially celebrated this coming Monday…fittingly, by Barack Obama’s inauguration as President for a second term…  today, January 16, is his actual birthday.

Many readers of this blog might be interested to hear what Dr. King had to say about science. Here are (just a few) quotes:

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.                                                                                               How much easier it is to control anything other than ourselves.

Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. Werner von Braun, the German-born rocket scientist, said something similar: “Science is the study of creation. Religion is the study of the Creator.”

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.
Thought I’d add this one, because it’s about the flood control that matters most in our lives, irrespective of where we live.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
I caution my scientist friends…please let’s not feel smug about this one. In no area of our lives do we have to think more carefully or warily than what it means to be authentically human, and how to get in touch with our spiritual nature. With respect to the physical sciences, we have two crutches…mathematics and experiment…that render the thought process relatively simple/bounded. Both mathematics and experiment fall silent when it comes to our human, spiritual side. And at the same time, the stakes with regard to these questions are far greater than any scientific rewards.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.                                                                                                                If Dr. King were alive today he might be tempted to apply this equally to those arguing most vehemently about either side of scientific debate.

You and I both know that Dr. King had far more profound observations than these. For a feast to celebrate a man who indeed was the change he wanted to see in the world, you might want to check out these five pages of Brainy Quotes.

Oh…and don’t just read them as a spectator sport. Think about how you can bring them to life. Go another step. Allow yourself to realize that you do bring them to life. I know many of you. I’ve seen you model this behavior. And those of you whom I don’t know? By extrapolating from my sample, I’m figuring you model this behavior as well. And by doing so, you are broadening the benefits of your science for mankind.

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One Response to (Some of) Dr. Martin Luther King’s thoughts about science.

  1. Amanda says:

    You might have seen this – at the intersection of lots of your blog entries lately:

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/15/at-a-protest-science-and-religion-team-up/

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