Last Friday I spent the morning on the campus of Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG). Situated on Galveston Island, TAMUG has marine biology and oceanic engineering as unique opportunities.
An academic advisor had this to say to the prospective students, “There’s a lot of writing in science. Most of our students come ill-prepared to write and so we offer writing workshops.”
FLHS juniors and seniors who take Collin College (CC) science courses for dual credit know this reality. Several of our students recently reported how a CC Chemistry professor assigned 10-page laboratory reports. That makes the one-to-three page essays in English composition look easy!
All too many in grade school and high school science courses are fooled into thinking that the language arts go away when you walk into the science lab. While this may be the growing case in an ever changing “dumbing down” of the science curriculum, rigorous science courses will demand the appropriate and best integration of the language arts.
Look back through the ages and consider the amount of literature written by scientists and mathematicians: Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Physics, Euclid’s Elements, Ptolemy’s Almagest, Menelaus’s Sphaerica, Mohammad ibn Musa al-Khowarizmi’s Hisab al-jabr w’al-muqabalah, Leonardo of Pisa’s Liber Abaci, Copernicus’s The Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, Keppler’s Epitome of Copernican Astronomy & Harmonies of the World, Galileo’s Dialogues, Newton’s The Principia, Euler’s Introductio in analysin infinitorum, and this very incomplete list could go on and on.
I picked up a book several years ago entitled, Reading God’s World (CPH:2004). The book makes the case that like literature, nature has a hermeneutic, that is, a method or theory of interpretation. Angus Menuge writes, “The idea of nature as a book provides one of the richest and most often appropriated metaphors for the natural world.” (pg. 86)
If Menuge is correct, and I think he is, divorcing the mathematical and empirical sciences from literature is a means of divorcing the Creator from His creative means, that is, His Word (Genesis 1, John 1).It was Nietzsche who wrote, “I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar.” Nietzsche was on to something profound: where the structure and practice of grammar prevails, God’s Word will have a way.
I do not need to tell you that modern science instruction excludes the God of the Scriptures. Not at Faith Lutheran School of Plano. Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the sole Creator. We are His creatures. The physical word and all that is with it was spoken into existence via the language of God. What the sciences seek to know was established via the divinely articulated language arts.
Let’s keep writing in the science department.