Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Most Useful Major?

Oh, you have got to read this article. This was a "debate" held at Notre Dame University.

A diverse group of Notre Dame professors gathered Tuesday to defend their respective majors as the most useful tool to rebuild society if the world ended today.
Now, that sounds a lot of fun, doesn't it? :)

Since we're concerned about physics, let's see what the physics representative had to say:

Michael Hildreth, associate professor of physics, argued the merits of his field and said physics helps mankind at the most basic level, such as producing flame. Hildreth lit a piece of paper on fire in the debate to illustrate his point.

In addition, he said technology allows civilization to grow and thrive, and increasing technological progress has accelerated due to discoveries in the physics realm.

Hildreth said physics contributed to the development of the transistor that enabled the creation of computer chips, like those found in the iPhone.
I'm certain there's a lot more to this than what has been reported. For example, here's the one for theology:

Associate professor Gabriel Reynolds, a faculty member in the Department of Theology, grounded his argument for theology on a letter he found earlier in his office.

"What if every single person is precious to God?" he said, citing the letter. "Wouldn't it be cool if people discovered this God who cared so much that he cried for them? Wouldn't it be hopeful having this knowledge?

"I'm going to pursue the study of the real light of the world."
So guess which major the students voted as the most USEFUL? (Remember that word).  They voted for THEOLOGY!

I know!

Really? Useful? To do what? Feed your soul? Let's see how long you can stay alive by simply feeding your soul!

Regardless of the merit that each of the majors have, at some point, one also needs to wonder on whether these types of debates are dependent not only on the points being made, but also the STYLE and presentation. Would a more persuasive, charismatic person delivering the SAME message influence how people would vote? Sure it would! I've already mentioned many times that one needs to be shallow, perky, and superficial when conveying science to the public. The message itself can be empty. It is HOW you deliver it that is important. All bells and whistles. Or as Billy Flynt would say, "razzle dazzle them".

Theology more useful than physics and chemistry? Give me a break!



El Charro said...

You need to consider the place where this "debate" took place.

Are you really surprised that Notre Dame students will go "against" theology?

ZapperZ said...

Well, actually, I am. Even for a catholic school such as that, they have had some rather progressive students in the past. What I think might be more relevant is that not a lot of engineering/science students were in attendance. Certainly, during my times as an undergrad, science/engineering students do not tend to be at a lecture or presentation such as this.


Varun said...

I find this 'debate' rather frivolous. Isn't it obvious we can't do without any of these?

ZapperZ said...

Are you sure?

For the longest time, there were no "theology" being taught in Soviet Union or China. Yet, they were still a functioning society, and certainly produced quite a number of advancements. I'm not saying they were a perfect society (as if there is such a thing), but that certainly is an "experimental proof" that such a thing isn't needed.


Varun said...

While being an agnostic, I believe that theology, religion or anything concerning the presence of a supernatural being who governs the universe isn't really needed in an ideal world, I do want some of this faith to remain in the society. I'm not in favour of declaring Theology the foremost priority in case of world ends, or the most useful major. This debate is moot because all these majors cooperate for the society to exist (that is, they are symbiotic), and for your reasons - a lot depends on the style of presentation. Different sides would win depending on the words they say.

And aren't Soviet Union and China equivalent to dictatorships?