A Nation of Scientists
JULY 2, 2020
Here’s what I love about the scientific process: it gives you the opportunity to learn without your ego getting in the way.
At the same time, you’re not passive, either. I don’t start off with “If I drop an uncooked egg on the kitchen floor, will it make a big mess?” No, I say “I believe dropping an uncooked egg on the kitchen floor WILL result in a mess.” And then, I set about to prove or disprove my hypothesis.
If my prediction was correct, I win. If my prediction was wrong, I still win.
The prize isn’t self-aggrandizement, it’s learning.
In short, the scientific process enables you to move forward boldly and yet, counterintuitively, there’s an element of humility baked into the thing.
It was Alexis De Tocqueville who first likened America to a great ‘experiment’ and I’d be hard pressed to think of a better metaphor.
We’ve moved forward boldly in testing our original hypothesis, that all human beings (not just those born into nobility) have been given freedom by God Himself and that governments should be formed to protect that freedom. And in testing this idea of self-determination, our country has established a greater degree of liberty and broad prosperity for the average person than any other country in history.
But we’ve also had some missteps. No, not ‘missteps’ – mistakes. We’ve made some tragic and unconscionable mistakes along the way. Mistakes that, ironically, denied some the very freedom that we had enshrined.
All of this leading up to today as we celebrate the founding of that uniquely free country. But how can we truly celebrate without addressing the elephant / donkey in the room?
Our sinful nature (and I mean all of us) has been putting its graffiti all over everything. And while this has always been true, 2020 has been a banner year…
This group of people is using their second amendment rights in legal, but deliberately provocative ways.
That group of people is using the pretext of protests to grab a new TV.
This group is blaming everything on that group.
And that group is shaking their self-righteous heads in judgement while all of this goes down.
It’s a lot to take in and I find myself unable to make sense of much of it.
I find myself looking for some simple, small thing I can use as a compass as we navigate this new landscape. How about this:
“…he has told you what he wants, and this is all it is: to be fair, just, merciful, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
With this in mind, I can move forward in confidence – in boldness.
In regard to my fellow man and woman, I can deal fairly, justly, mercifully. Am I passive, not having any kind of hypothesis about what God wants? No, I do know what He wants. But that said, it’s not about me being right, so I don’t have to hesitate when I’m shown to be wrong.
We’ve all made a mess – and we’ll make more – because this experiment is never finished; there is never a final arrival at some utopia. Rather, as we see our mistakes, we keep testing to help us broaden the freedom and prosperity for the common good of all. It’s these ongoing learnings that propel the experiment forward.
Let’s keep experimenting boldly.
Let’s keep learning joyfully.
Let’s keep walking humbly.
Happy Fourth of July.