Generally, I find myself in complete agreement with your posts, but with this one I question why you've chosen a "Book for all Seasons" as a target. I fail to see why any effort to preserve knowledge should be seen as onerous. That the dark ages ignored important texts of thought probably has more to do with the influence of religion than the existence of a particular "encyclopedia" of knowledge.
Surely, basic scientific knowledge should not be allowed to fade away into obscurity should our culture fail altogether. A "Book of all Seasons" would no doubt emphasize the scientific method, which defines science as a process and not as doctrine.
8/1/06, 8:29 PM
John Michael Greer said...
I think you've missed the point of my post. Of course it's a worthwhile task to try to preserve knowledge of all kinds in the face of the rising spiral of crises our industrial society faces. The point I wanted to make is precisely that the things most worth preserving aren't the things that Lovelock et al. are talking about.
You say "A 'Book of all Seasons would no doubt emphasize the scientific method"...but that isn't my reading of Lovelock's proposal at all, and a phrase like "the scientific equivalent of the Bible" ought to set off alarms. We don't need a scientific equivalent of the Bible; for that matter, I don't think we need a religious equivalent of the Bible. We need books, plural, that encourage the people of the future to use the tools of our age to make their own discoveries and make sense of the universe in their own way.
8/1/06, 10:40 PM
The problem is not the book, but how it is designed. Many parts of science can be described in a not too different approach from that of a cookbook. A manual describing how to solve. Soon, practicing people would make new observations and their own variations of the tasks.
9/17/08, 7:06 AM
A useful aftercollapse science book would contain a certain amount of "known stuff" but tie it all together via "How we worked this out" explanations.
& I would say that people need to think of the actual Bible more in such terms, as well. Not as "written on stone" (Those tablets were thrown out the moment Moses got a good look at what actual human beings were likely to do with them) words of Absolute Knowledge, but "We encountered This and thought That about it, and now it's your turn."
4/3/11, 9:26 AM
Alice Y. said...
I've got a candidate for my choice of a scientific book worth saving: "Stop working and start thinking: a guide to becoming a scientist" by Jack Cohen and Graham Medley, Stanley Thornes (2000), ISBN-10 0748743340, 111pp. It was highly recommended when I started my PhD studies in a biology department. All about how to ask the right questions to get useful answers in a scientific context - experimental design and so on. It's written in a simple and engaging style.
10/11/11, 8:42 AM
Hmm, I've often thought that attitudes to certain "holy books" would have been improved by the addition of a "notes" (heresies? lol) section at the end of every chapter like many textbooks have. Kind of like blogging, but "old school"
9/22/12, 1:29 AM
Thomas Mazanec said...
Scientific Knowledge is not Absolute Truth, but it is not Wild Ass Guesses either, and it is important we preserve what we have, because we may not be able to get it back. For an example from my avocation of Astronomy, the Impact Theory of the Moon's formation was derived from samples of lunar material, which will not be obtainable in a deindustrialized future. The trick is to prevent the knowledge from becoming dogma.
12/13/14, 3:44 AM