Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday With Words: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

Over Christmas we read The Long Winter (oddly appropriate), A Bird's Christmas Carol (free on kindle) and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.  I enjoyed Mr. Bowditch more than I expected.  My oldest also loved it.  He is more of a math guy so it was great to have an example of a mathematician that sailed by "ash breeze".   He was also struck by the tragedy in it.  I did tear up at one point and he kept asking me not to read so funny.  Boys are so understanding.

But there are hundreds - thousands -who don't believe in 'book sailing.'  You know, seafaring is a lot like of medicine.  On the one hand superstition and old wives' tales; on the other hand - the scientist, trying to solve the puzzles and find the answers.  And all through the ages men have believed the superstitions and doubted the scientist.  Natural, I suppose.  You believe what you grow up believing.  It's hard to change.  
After this they enter into a conversation about the new technology of innoculation and vaccines.  In science he says that it's three steps forward and two steps backwards.  Afterwards they move into how this applies to sailing.  I was struck by this because it seems the opposite is true today.  We have rooted out all mystery, folk tradition and wonder and now it's all about science.   We can't doubt "science".  When it comes to social sciences you can't just use anecdotal evidence or common sense, you need a study to prove your point.

Obviously science has brought us many wonders and there is a lot of good.  However, there is something to remembering mystery and wonder in our world.  There is order but we aren't meant to totally understand all of it much less control it all.  That's why I appreciate the nature study approach to science for younger kids. Instead of dissecting and analyzing from the get go, you begin by wondering, observing, appreciating and getting to know things.   I hope this year to get out more and wonder at the world - not because I am superstitious but because I believe there is an orderly God who speaks to us through his creation.  

1 comment:

  1. I will think I will have to re-read this book. I agree with the mystery being lost from science, now if I could only get myself inspired to do nature study!