Saturday, April 12, 2014

Thinking Scientifically, or Scientifically Thinking

Lot of talk lately about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers also known as "STEM".

Not surprisingly, these conversations get little attention within the black "community."

Little wonder though, given that scientific thinking is all but avoided in favor of spiritual belief. This applies both to those who have "The Sunday Habit" and those that do not.

African-Americans also express higher levels of religious belief than do Americans overall. Compared with the population overall, for instance, African-Americans are more likely to believe in God with absolute certainty (88% vs. 71% among the total adult population), interpret Scripture as the literal word of God (55% vs. 33%) and express a belief in angels and demons (83% vs. 68%). They also are more likely to say they are absolutely convinced about the existence of life after death (58% vs. 50%) and to believe in miracles (84% vs. 79%).
These views are held by the overwhelming majority of members of historically black churches. But even African-Americans who are unaffiliated with any religion consistently express higher levels of religious beliefs compared with the unaffiliated public overall. Unaffiliated African-Americans, for instance, express certain belief in God (70%) at levels similar to those seen among the general population of mainline Protestants (73%) and Catholics (72%) and are about twice as likely as the overall unaffiliated population (36%) to express this belief. Furthermore, unaffiliated African-Americans are somewhat more likely than mainline Protestants or Catholics overall to hold a literal view of the Bible (33% among unaffiliated African-Americans vs. 22% among all mainline Protestants and 23% among all Catholics) and are three times as likely to hold this view compared with the overall unaffiliated population (11%).
          Source: Pew Research

The above survey speaks volumes, given the history and goes along way in explaining the pervading scientific ignorance.

Despite many arguments to the contrary, there is a direct contradiction between spiritual belief and scientific fact.

It is an impassable chasm that simply can not be crossed.

And so we have the overwhelming majority of a "African-Americans" stuck in a mental "dark ages" not at all unlike their forefathers who were the victims of chattel slavery.

This, in spite of  being in the very midst of the "age of information" where access to information is within arms reach via smartphones, tablets, etc. 

The slaves literally had no option. Forbidden to read (or even learning how to) at the threat of severe punishment, their ignorance is totally understandable.

Debates notwithstanding, the legacy of slavery remains, though in a most disguised form.

So again, no surprise that black people are all but absent from the scientific discussions currently taking place.

Religious belief, when steered in a single direction, e.g. "all truth is contained within the pages of the Bible" tends to short circuit the imagination making the unbelievable "seem" real, and rendering the real, well, unbelievable.

The imagination then only imagines the miracles outlined in the Bible, but simply can not imagine say, the possibility of a multiverse or life on other planets.

This could explain the literal "blackout" of discussion among black americans about the current Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey television series hosted by Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Dr. Tyson isn't the first black scientist to be almost totally disregarded by the black "community", but what does stand out is the fact that you literally have to try very hard to ignore him.

Black scientists before him, as well as his contemporaries, of all disciplines, were and are easily ignored due to their work and findings being confined to academic textbooks and journals that were not (and still not) easily accesible.

However, Dr. Tyson is prominently aired and advertised on just about every existing communications medium (both free and HD no less), yet for all intents, if you're a black american, its as if he doesn't exist.

I'm not suggesting that Dr. Tyson is the end all, be all of all things scientific, because he isn't. He readily admits that his interest is astrophysics, just one of the many fields of science. But the point is that for all of the complaints of there not being enough "positive" black males being showcased on television, the absence of discussion is nothing short of phenomenal.

But I digress.

To understand the present situation, one must look at the past.

In upcoming posts I will discuss the works of some of the other scientists that most have never heard of, yet they provide valuable insight into the present psychology that causes us to remain mental slaves.

Eric Spann (copyright 2014)

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