As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. Beginnings are important. Therefore it is important to me how I begin this new blog site.
I am a chemist by training and passion. I spend my life’s work making decisions on phenomena I cannot see. But the results and predicted behaviors of nature are breathtaking in their intricacy and beauty. Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder when looking at a calibration line with an R-squared of “five nines”!
I have enjoyed 17 years of smelling the “five nines” roses in academia and industry. Academia is almost magical in its appreciation for knowledge and learning in each specialized discipline. And industry is thrilling in its insistence on mixing disciplines to achieve a goal. I truly LOVE both.
I am sure industry is where I gained my appreciation of what other disciplines bring to the table when searching for a solution, an answer, or the truth of the matter. So let me get to the meat of the post.
I recently attended a lecture by Dr. Richard Howe. Where he posted a very nice graphic. It serves as a nice tree of thought that supports our various disciplines.
Starting at the top of the tree (so that it is right side up on the page), we have:
Hermeneutics – How do we understand what is communicated about what we know of that which is.
Linguistics – How do we communicate what we know of that which is?
Epistemology – How do we know that which is?
Metaphysics – What is that which is?
Reality – That which is.
All our varied disciplines attach themselves to this Philosophical tree including Science, and including Theology.
My industrial training commands me to use the appropriate discipline for the appropriate question. Science rests upon the Epistemological branch, but when a philosophical question arises, we scientists should boldly bring Philosophers to the table, demanding that they be as competent and careful as we are when doing science. Likewise if a question arises that crosses the line into the study of God, then we should be bold to see what Theologians have to say, demanding that they be as competent and careful as we are when doing science.
To demand that a particular discipline is the only connection to “that which is” belies an unthoughtfull approach. With respect to the above tree of thought, that claim is really “out on a limb”!
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