Every time I think I’m out, they just pull me back in.
So, the wonderfully entertaining Helwig-Larson at Gospel According to the Romans, a man who has supplied me with entertainment and knowledge of the situation between Romans and Jews that I didn’t know, posted the other day about Teaching Both Theories.
He even had the fun little picture above! I am borrowing it for this article.
It’s a pretty well written article, so I encourage people to read it. That said, there are a few things which I’d like to humorously poke at. Because I philosophize with a hammer.
But I want to make this very clear. I differentiate between the people and the ideas they hold. This article is in no way meant to be a personal attack against him. Merely the conjectures of a Heathen Sorcerer upon the matter he raises. Helwig-Larson has struck me as a pretty cool guy, and his book is a fun read that I am working through, and I fully encourage everyone to go check out the book and his site.
It seems his issue is that certain states (listed in his article) want to teach religious theories as scientific facts in the science classes. Which, all things considered is fair, I suppose. Scientists with their peanut butter (filling, nutritious, created by science, and a deadly allergen) do not like getting the Religious people’s chocolate (sweet, of mythic origin, and good for the soul) mixed together. Despite the fact that it makes sweet, sweet Reese’s candy. Or as Helwig-Larson put it, the uneducated ideas of illiterate herdsmen who believed in talking snakes vs the ideas of the Scientifically educated.
Which, I suppose is a fair argument if we dealt only with the Christians and the Scientists. Personally, I don’t see a reason why we couldn’t mix religious stuff with science, though I’d like it if Paganism and its theories got equal time with Christianity and Islam in these classes. See, I’ve been in classes that mixed subjects, namely history and literature, and it made both more fun and interesting.
But I wanna get into the things I was gonna point out, namely because of the picture above. Such as are the new ways superior inherently to the old ways.
We’ll start with the first Chemistry vs Alchemy. A lot of Chemists like to sneer at the ideas of Transmutation in Alchemy (changing one thing into another) although they’ve proven it can actually be done (with a lot of energy). Another common gripe is all the imagery in Alchemy, like greed dragons, ruby lions, and so on. Reading an alchemical manuscript can sound like reading a fantasy author on acid.
But I wanna show you something.
This is a Chemical Formula: NaCl
This is the Alchemical Symbol for Salt:
Notice something? They’re completely different. But they mean the same thing.
This is a Chemical Formula
And this is an Alchemical Formula
The above image is an Alchemical Formula, with instructions to which substances, which mediums, and what preparations to use.
The only real difference? Unlike Scientists, who publish all kinds of dangerous materials where anyone can get them, Alchemists new the dangers of the things they did, and made sure that only the prepared and trusted could perform Alchemy. Hence much is not known, but a detailed look into the history of Alchemical Metaphysics reveals that they new thins thousands of years before the “birth of Christ” that Quantum Mechanics and Physics (the leading edges of science) are just barely beginning to find out.
The fact is though, that to the lay person the Chemistry formula are confusing, and unintelligible. So are the Alchemical Formula. The thing is, you need training to understand them. So I generally find it funny that some Scientists sneer at alchemy and its symbolism, then turn right around and use their own symbols to do much the same thing. They judge that which they do not have the training to understand, and without that training, they cannot recreate alchemy in their labs. Thus, as is their tradition, if a Scientist cannot create it (or recreate it) in his lab, it isn’t valid.
Which, when you think about it, is kinda like a person with a home chemistry set trying to create nuclear power, failing, and then saying that because he cannot “Recreate” the process, therefor it cannot be. Even though he is missing most of the equipment and training for doing the process. I find it kinda funny.
Okay, on to the second one: Phrenology vs Neurology.
Now, forgive me, but I was under the impression that Phrenology was a Scientific methodology, created by Scientists. Certainly, this “Pseudo-Science” came about in the 19th century, during the heights of “Science!” in Europe and long after the advent and uses of things like Alchemy and Magic. I think it best is the Scientists accept the bad on that one. It was in your era, and a lot of your people went bat-shit over it. Wasn’t really as big in the mystical circles.
Magic vs Physics!
Whoot, here we get into the fun of it all. The impossible Magic vs the ever real Physics!.
Tell me, ever take an Aspirin? Did you know that it was developed due to an Old Wive’s Magic that said a certain plant could reduce pain? That’s right. White Willow, a plant long held to have Magical Properties, something that was sneered and dismissed by Science, actually had this power. And who knew about it for thousands of years before Science?
The Magic Users. The Witches, the Wizards, Sorcerers, Magi, etc. See, like Alchemy, Magic was The “Science” of it’s day. The smartest people in the world studied things like Magic and Alchemy and they certainly knew the world wasn’t flat. They knew their world like no others. Indeed, in many ways they knew their world better than we do today. This links up with the Astrology vs Astronomy thing too. Astrology was the mystical study of stars, and much of our knowledge of stars and planets came from Astrology (or did you not notice that many of the named stars, planets, and constellations all have Greek names that they’ve had for thousands of years). Indeed, a good Astrologer probably knows as much, and in some cases maybe even more, than an Astronomer about the way the stars behave in our night sky.
Returning to Quantum Physics, Ideas and Theories that have existed in magic for thousands of years are just now being discovered by Science.
A wise man once said that Science, sufficiently advanced, is indiscernible from Magic. Perhaps Magic is merely a Science we have lost, and no longer are sufficiently advanced to understand.
Certainly, these facts are not reason enough to get into the Science Classroom and be taught on a level with science.
But how about History? Not that these be taught in the History classroom (though that would certainly be a good idea) but rather how about their part in the History of Science. Science likes to act like it was born in a lab by scientific means. But it didn’t come from a vacuum. It was born of Magic and Alchemy and Astrology, and all the other little things it likes to dismiss. Did you know that the Big Bang Theory, one of Science’s most dearly held theories, was actually a theory put forth by the Church? That’s not something they generally share. Or that Chemistry arose from the practices of those who couldn’t perform Alchemy, so they used the base chemical reactions, toss off the spiritual applications and reactions, and discredited those that came before.
Look, we’re all allowed to believe what we want. The Scientific community is free to believe that their knowledge is superior, and that no other knowledge should be taught in their classrooms. But the real question isn’t who is right and who is wrong. It’s what do we teach, and I see no reason why we should limit the knowledge of students because something is not “Scientific.” After all, if it is wrong to limit the knowledge of students to only “Religious” theories (as so many Scientists scream) then it is equally wrong to teach only “Scientific” theories. Now, if we wanna make separate classes that are mandatory like Science classes are, or we wanna wrap them into the science classes, or come up with a third option, that’s all up for debate.
Why not teach it all? If science is superior, it will be chosen by the free will of individuals who realize its truth. Only tyrants and the weak fear the dissemination of information not of their making. And while Mr. Helwig-Larson certainly is neither of those, have seen many in the Scientific Community who fit those descriptions.
Anyways, one last shout out to Helwig-Larson. Keep up the good work man, it’s been enjoyable to read what you find. 😀