Friday, March 20, 2015

Kalia Firester on Science (and Art)

Kalia Firester certainly sounds like a bright, poised young lady, and deserving of this Intel award, meant to encourage girls to go into science and technology.  Her project already sounds positively academic, but I am glad she explained it well in layperson language.  I hope, though, that just as she speaks against the risks of using pesticides, she is mindful, too, of the potential risks of engineering plants.  I hope she has advisers who can dive into the scientific process and also step back to keep the bigger picture in mind. 

Firester makes a terrific point at the end: People may draw arbitrary lines between science and art, when in fact some, like her, possess interests and talent in both. 

The interplay of science and art, plus religion is at the crux of Tripartite Model.  In brief, I argue that while people certainly have the choice, and have chosen, to ground their lifetime work on one of these disciplines, we must draw on any or all three to solve day-to-day problems and wider ranging, social issues, such as poverty, disease, conflict and environment.  For example, we ought not rely solely on a scientific, analytic approach, when people in general are both rational and non-rational in thought, emotion and behavior.  Also, we can laud how clever and creative artists are, regardless of genre, but we ought not rely exclusively on an intuitive, subjective way of understanding ourselves and the world around us.  Finally, whether we define religion in strict terms, for instance, according to Christianity, Islam or Judaism, or in broad strokes, such as spirituality, purpose and meaning, we not ought get swept up with a purely religious frame of reference.

All three - science, art and religion - have an intricate play in a more complete grasp of things around us and in a more effective way forward with these things.  In essence, this is what Firester speaks to. 

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