Difference between Nature and Science
We believe we are at crucial turning point. What kind of global leader do we need in the future? STEM education put too much emphasis on Science and Technology while Nature is down played. We shouldn’t confuse Science and Nature, they are different.
Nature existed before human while Science came into the world with people. People were brought into nature and started living. During that process, people needed to think about how to live with nature. For example, “wouldn’t it be nice if we can grow some food near home” which led to farming. People kept thinking and over so many trial and errors, came Engineering. As various Engineering progresses, question arises. Why do houses over there survive earthquakes? Why does neighbor farm produces more yields than ours? In order to solve these questions, people came up with technology.
Engineering is something that works perfectly without knowing its principle. Technology allows people to understand why something works the way it does. In the similar way, people will see butterfly flying in the spring as flowers bloom. This is nature. When people start to think and start asking questions, it becomes Science.
Scientists first observe and study Nature and explore craftsmanship which comes with engineering. Nature and Engineering leads to Science and Technology. Not the other way around. We need to clarify and differentiate between Science and Nature. WE strongly feel that STEM puts too much emphasis on importance of Science and Technology without mentioning its roots; Nature and Engineering.
Scientists are not the mastermind
Recently we heard this comment on TV and made me worry. A child was saying that his dream is to become a scientist who knows EVERYTHING. This may be due to recent increase in coverage of scientists and researchers on media. When these exposure happens, it often portrait the unrealistic all mighty side of scientists and researchers and not down to earth real life of scientists. WE think it relates to whether general public truly understands difference between Science and Nature.
In reality, scientists are the people who are trying to uncover or understand nature’s principle by using their mind and intelligence. By all means, they are not the mastermind. We should never forget that Science and Technology is just one way of trying to deepen our understanding about Mother Nature.
We should remind ourselves that Science is a challenge by human trying to understand what we don’t know. Scientists are not all mighty heroes as media sometimes emphasize but people who know about our limit in knowledge. We as scientists should put more emphasis on showing how real life scientists to school children and general public.
Improvement of technologies have misled people to think (or more like wish) that we can recreate nature itself. That is a fantasy. Reverse Engineering using Science won’t recreate nature because Nature and Engineering is where Science and Technology came from in the first place.
NEST is a prerequisite for global leader
What kind of global leaders we want for our future? We’re afraid that we’re discussing about process and programs without clearly defining what kind of leaders we want to educate.
Just as each country has mother tongue, we should create common language for global leaders. I believe that language or common knowledge can be Nature and Engineering.
Globalization or International standardization tends to focus on importance of having English (Math) skills. Yes, it makes it easier to communicate with more people if you’re able to speak English but it is not requirement for globalization at all.
In order to understand and appreciate Science and Technology, one need to realize human is also a part of ecosystem. Need to think in terms of world as a whole and not only through each country’s interest. In order to practice what you preach one need to fully appreciate nature and engineering and be able to define problems and also to come up with solution.
More and more difficult problems will be arising which cannot be solved with simple solution. If we can’t train next generations with a way to attack unseen problems with unique and original ideas we are doomed. We can’t no longer rely on the past facts and knowledge to solve the problems.
One needs knowledge before questions arise. Once you know your questions, you realize you need bit more studying. Leaders should be able to pursuit questions and be hungry for new knowledge.
Regardless of STEM or NEST education, if we are to train next global leaders, not scientists, we need to make sure that the leaders know about limitation of human beings. If not then our earth cannot withstand destruction of ecosystem by human anymore. Leaders should take in account that science and technology is still in development phase thus we need to continue to learn from nature, ask questions and test hypothesis.