STEMming the tide of ignorant science.

STEM is the acronym for those “sciency” disciplines that contribute to the (human) built environment. It was coined at least in part to provide a handle on those areas of humanity that had traditionally been very male gender biased, unlike the humanities themselves. The natural order MSTE is arranged to make STEM a pronounceable acronym, but it represents part of a useful taxonomy of human knowledge (independent of gender issues).

There is always a tendency for people to put their topic, the one they are promoting, at the centre of their world view assuming the broadest definition of their topic. One of my pet hates is the extent anything remotely technical attracts the “isn’t science wonderful” meme. Science is indeed wonderful but, as I often say, it required a lot more than science to get 500,000 rivets flying in close formation to the moon and back.

The maths, logic and the art of being scientifically rational is one thing. Everyone should have a basic horizontal grounding in tools and methods and in the model of factual knowledge supported by these. But this is just science without a vertical education in why and how the whole edifice of humanity hangs together.

Using the natural MSTE taxonomy:
Science is more than Maths and Logic
Technology applies the art of the possible to the Science.
Engineering turns the possible into reality with Human Ingenuity

Horizontally, humanity interacts as a subjective input at every level, these are all human endeavours, but in terms of the vertical stack, “STEM” is simply the point of contact between science and the rest of the edifice. Education in and about science has limited value without understanding the whole of our built environment, by which I mean the sum total of all physical and human systems humanity has co-evolved.

Did I mention I was an engineer?


And, right on time:

What matters? What’s matter anyway …. for another time.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.