24 THE INTELLIGENT SOLUTION OF PROBLEMS great time-savers. Generalizations have to be tested in every case, and if a generalization can be obtained without the very laborious accumulation of data, it is all the better. Such working hypotheses are not "unscientific." They seem to come to the greatest, i.e., the most creative, scientists more often than to others, and it appears that they are the result of unconscious processes which can be consciously stimulated and depend, in part at least, upon observations made but not consciously recorded. 3. Theories Link Together Apparently Unrelated Generalizations^ Thus Unifying All Branches of Knowledge. Today there is a greater need for comprehensive theories than for more data. Such theories can be derived only by those people who have comprehensive knowledge. Thus specialization, so essential in controlled observation, or experiment, is the wrong type of training for creative thinking of the type that is needed. Theories bring together the data obtained by specialization. Scientists must be trained in both observation and generalization, or, if this is not feasible, provision must be made to train generalizers. We are now doing a good job of training data-gatherers, the so-called hod carriers of Science. Science Is Limited by the Ability to Obtain Data. The mind is capable of producing generalizations concerning ultimate values, the nature of God, immortality, etc., which Science has no method of testing today. Science is thus not in a position to determine whether these generalizations are true or not. The fact that millions of people in isolated portions of the earth throughout thousands of years have independently arrived at generalizations, such as the existence of God, is the strongest and perhaps the only argument in their favor, but until Science can obtain data to check such generalizations, they must remain as problems outside the realm of Science. This statement does not mean that there are any sacred problems which Science dare not approach or which, by their nature, must forever remain outside the province of Science. It simply means that many of man's most important generalizations have to be accepted on faith until great walls of ignorance can be pushed back. The Ability to Solve Problems Is Learned by Solving Problems. How to think fruitfully, logically, scientifically . . . should be a major tool in the educational equipment of everyone. . . . But such technique is not taught in isolation in the confines of the classroom, as is almost universally the case . . . but in close touch with practical, concrete situations developed in the life of the community. . — . . H. E. Cunningham.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD 25 There is no royal road to learning. One learns by effort, becomes a scholar by study, acquires accuracy by being accurate, gains experience by enduring experience, and becomes observant by constantly observing. As one thinks and does, so he becomes. Problem-solving, like other skills, is learned by doing. It must be kept in mind, however, that learning is most fruitful when it is meaningful. The kinds of problems solved will determine how much you learn about problem-solving. If you select problems which are associated with a felt need or a conscious goal, they will result in learning because they are meaningful. Experience has shown that one does not develop the technique of solving problems by applying it to laboratory experiments unless these experiments represent solutions to felt needs. One of the most important activities in which you can engage this year is to learn to solve problems by solving a few real problems. Problems range from very simple ones, whose solution requires very little intelligence, to those which have bafifled our greatest geniuses. Your greatest satisfactions will come if you select immediate problems which are not too complex for your first few attempts. More difficult problems may be selected as your skill in solving problems increases. The following suggested problems may help you to discover a real problem for yourself. 1. Selection of a vocation 2. Selection of friends 3. What courses shall I take? 4. Shall I plan to complete a college course? 5. How can I earn better grades? 6. How can I develop social skills? 7. How can I obtain a "good buy" in purchasing a used car? 8. Which oil or gasoline for my car will be the "best buy"? 9. How am I to know which cosmetics are harmless or harmful? 10. How can I be sure that my teeth will not give me trouble in later life? 11. What kind of razor shall I use? 12. Do I eat the foods necessary to maintain resistance to disease? 13. What are my strong points? 14. What habits am I forming? 15. Shall I smoke? 16. Shall I dance? 17. Shall I enter into church activities? 18. What movies shall I attend? 19. What school activities shall I engage in? 20. How shall I select my "dates"? 21. Shall I engage in "petting"? 22. How can I be most useful at home? 23. How shall I select a physician?