I’m taking an online class and we have weekly questions. The question for Monday is this:
I’m not sure what a small-town guy can add to what’s already been said, nor am I convinced he should try. But small town guys seem to have noses permanently fixed where they don’t belong, and mouths constantly full of their own feet, and so on behalf of them all, I’ll provide a brief two-cents (and hopefully it will be more poetic than the others, if less accurate):
Scientists aren’t too different from small-town boys. They’re stuck with finitude. Maybe that’s a common ground? They’re both convinced of an infinity, and both attempt to describe it. But, just like the kid that looks to heaven and says “the sky goes on forever” the scientist is stuck in an equally mysterious world. Perhaps his theory is more complex than the child’s, but is one more important than the other?
When looking for practical results, we could say the naive beliefs of the scientist are more worthwhile than the child’s or the small-towner that believes in better things beyond his front porch. In the end, the small-town guy may realize the front porch was priceless, and similarly, the scientist may realize his “theory” was simply a pipe-dream?
I’d fight to defend the notions of the child. I see no reason why the scientist should give up his theory for any less a price. It may prove to be useless in the end, but the child needs to believe SOMETHING about the sky. The small-town guy needs to have SOME notion of the world. And the scientist, well, to do his job at all he must have SOME view of the world. Without it, he’d not be able to operate.
Even Mr. Vaughn, (who claims to have validated the theory of relativity in a lab) was operating within SOME view of the world. He believed his instruments were working properly, and that his eyes were true! He didn’t test those theories beforehand. (And if he did, then what test would he run to make sure his equipment test was conducted properly? It would be an endless cycle of tests. Tests upon tests to make sure other tests are accurate!)
In the end, we’re all constrained by our finitude. We’re no better off than the child that says “the sky goes on forever!” In this sense, the child’s theory, as well as the theories of the brightest scientists are on equal footing. This is the nature of all our beliefs.
That we have theories, shouldn’t, in and of itself, be a cause for rejecting one or the other of them, since they’re all unavoidable. And should the child be right, and the sky really does go on forever…then let him be happy with what that belief brings him. It’s my hope that God regenerates all our hearts so that we all shared the same “theory” but until that happens, I’ll not rob the child of his, nor the scientists of theirs. (Unless they force theirs on the child. At that point, the small-town boy will extract his foot from his mouth and place it firmly up the scientist’s backside…metaphorically speaking of course!)