Places of worship for scientists.
Folksonomies: science religion worship
When you enter some grove, peopled with ancient trees, such as are higher than ordinary, and whose boughs are so closely interwoven that you cannot see the sky; the stately loftiness of the wood, the privacy of the place, and the awful gloom, cannot but strike you, as with the presence of a deity.
A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great or beautiful cathedral. The extermination of the passenger pigeon meant that mankind was just so much poorer; exactly as in the case of the destruction of the cathedral at Rheims. And to lose the chance to see frigate-birds soaring in circles above the storm, or a file of pelicans winging their way homeward across the crimson afterglow of the sunset, or a myriad terns flashing in the bright light of midday as they hover in a shifting maze above the beach—why, the loss is like the loss of a gallery of the masterpieces of the artists of old time.
We thought of universities as the cathedrals of the modern world. In the middle ages, the cathedral was the center and symbol of the city. In the modern world, its place could be taken by the university.
A parable: A man was examining the construction of a cathedral. He asked a stone mason what he was doing chipping the stones, and the mason replied, “I am making stones.” He asked a stone carver what he was doing. “I am carving a gargoyle.&rdquo. And so it went, each person said in detail what they were doing. Finally he came to an old woman who was sweeping the ground. She said. “I am helping build a cathedral.”
...Most of the time each person is immersed in the details of one special part of the whole and does not think of how what they are doing relates to the larger picture.
[I]t is truth alone—scientific, established, proved, and rational truth—which is capable of satisfying nowadays the awakened minds of all classes. We may still say perhaps, 'faith governs the world,'—but the faith of the present is no longer in revelation or in the priest—it is in reason and in science.
Religion, magic, science: All assume a reality behind the commonplace that gives meaning and structure to the world, and which might somehow be made to work for our benefit. Thus we have offered prayers, incense, and sacrifice to the gods, cast magical spells and incantations, or built, for example, colossally expensive particle accelerators to probe the inner secrets of atoms and the first moments of the ultra-hot big bang.
To what effect? As for prayer, the gods have been dramatically nonforthcoming, given the vast amount of attention and resources we have proffered on their behalf; they smite us with the same afflictions whether we attend their altars or not-and not a shred of non-anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. Magic was a preferred way of reaching behind nature's veil for countless generations, but it is now universally recognized as a sham, confined with a wink and a nod to the likes of David Copperfield. Meanwhile, the experimental methods of science have gone from success to success. We send space probes to distant planets and they land on a dime. We reproduce the first moments of the big bang with machines so big they dwarf the largest of the medieval cathedrals.