Metaphors and science and religion
Posted by Arlene Somerton Smith
Last Thursday’s Ottawa Citizen included an article by Tom Spears about Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director-General of CERN. In a few short paragraphs, using the image of a picket fence, Heuer made the most complex scientific work in the world accessible to everyone. If you ever wondered just what the heck they do over there at CERN, click on the link at the beginning of the post to read the article.
I love it when science and stories overlap.
Some scientists cringe at the idea of the “supernatural,” preferring a “just the facts ma’am” approach. But the facts and the numbers don’t translate well for everyone, so the message gets lost. That is when the beyond-the-measurable metaphor comes along to help us apply the science to our everyday lives. A picket fence helps us to understand the search for the Higgs boson particle.
Some members of organized religions cringe at the idea of the “supernatural,” too. They prefer the “just the facts, ma’am” approach to interpretations of their ancient texts. But the facts and the numbers don’t add up in those texts, so the message gets lost. That is when the beyond-the-measurable metaphor helps to apply the life lessons of our ancient texts to our daily lives. Noah’s Ark helps us to understand that, no matter how badly we mess up or how many people we hurt along the way, it’s never too late to start over.
Both science and religion benefit from the richness of metaphor.
Going beyond the measurable math, equations, and words allows us to explore their full essence, to make them real, and to allow people to integrate them into their daily lives.