Man's physical universe

xanabras

12 THE INTELLIGENT SOLUTION OF PROBLEMS

The Scientific Attitude Is the Truth-seeking Attitude.

Science is an activity where honesty is most obviously an essential

condition for success. " In nearly everything else truth is a means, not

an end.

An advertisement may tell lies, but then telling the truth is not

its object. Its object is to sell the stuff, which is an entirely different

object." '

An attitude is simply a habitual way of looking at things, or a state

of mind. It is largely emotional in nature and motivates and determines

conduct and behavior. The scientific attitude causes one to seek

to control primitive emotions by rational appeal to fact rather than

by superstitions, prejudices, traditions, customs, precedents, dogma,

and intolerant self-conceit.

Why Should One Deske to Know the Truth?

1. The Quest for Truth Is One of the Most Valuable Activities of

Mankind. Truth is one of the values whose pursuit leads to life's greatest

satisfactions.

2. Human Progress Has Been Most Rapid When the Search for

Truth Has Been Conducted Scientifically.

Today the lame walk, the

blind see, the naked are clothed, and the hungry are fed because of the

knowledge that man has attained.

3. The Search for Truth Liberates Man from Stultifying Influences.

Science has removed the fear of unseen demons which lurked behind

every rock, tree, and lightning flash for primitive man. Science liberates

us from the oppression of superstition and intolerance and the

penalties of ignorance. Science may indeed bring freedom to mankind.

"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John

8:32)

Within our own generation we have seen many whole nations enslaved

by men who do not accept truth as a value. We have seen other

whole nations of people willing to die rather than give up their hardwon

freedom to seek the truth.

The Truth Seeker Must Cultivate Certam Habits of Mind.

The easiest way, perhaps the only way, to see how Science works is

to see how scientists work. Scientists are not supermen. They are

quite ordinary-looking people such as you might see anywhere. The

scientist is interested in the same things as other people, but his interest

is exercised in a special way, which we shall now describe.

1. He Realizes That Truth as Discovered by Man Is Never Absolute.

The truth seeker cannot hope to discover finality in a universe in which

'

J. W. N. Sullivan. The Limitations of Science, The Viking Press, 1934, pp. 276-277.

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