Problems and Mysteries

In most colleges, the physical world is the object of study, so the ideas of "belief" and "faith," though worth discussing, are not directly related to the learning process. "Truth" is seen as something that can be understood through "proofs," "evidence," and "arguments." Truths can also change, as measurement techniques and abilities become more accurate. And finally, Truth is something that is seen as independent of personal belief or desire.

Noam Chomsky has said that human ignorance can be divided into problems and mysteries. The solutions to problems may not be known, but we often have a concept of what we are looking for. Through critical thinking, reasoning, devising tests and measurements, problems can be solved. When we look at mysteries, though, we can only shake our heads and wonder. No path to a solution can be imagined.

Many of the mysteries of the past have become problems and have been solved. Many mysteries still exist, as do many problems. The purpose of education and learning is to reduce the mysteries and solve the problems.

Copyright 2005 Dave Rogers All Rights Reserved

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