Imagine a group of goat herders gathered in an oasis after a hot and long day, looking into the sky and seeing stars and noticing the patterns of changing positions throughout the year and recognizing seasons of birth, life, and death; spring, summer, autumn, winter; planting, tending crops, harvesting and dormancy. Do they contemplate on what the lights mean, and why they are there, and who put them there? They notice some stars wander back and forward in relation to other stars. The good stories repeat, generation after generation until a time of putting memorable stories into written form. These stories become dogma, a part of a litany of stories that explain existence, give meaning to life, and form into attitudes, beliefs, customs, traditions, and values.
This is a Stone Age version of the learning method.
Imagine a group of neurobiologists in this modern world working in labs, collaborating with other scientists in chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, physics, and psychology.
For example, researchers find
*Prairie voles have a higher level of oxytocin, are more monogamous and bond with young better than
*Montane voles that have less oxytocin, are promiscuous and bond less well with their young.
*Administering oxytocin to Montane voles tends to increase monogamy and bonding with young.
The scientists publish their results and other scientists read it, question its validity and reliability, and a body of knowledge grows.
This is a Scientific Age version of the scientific learning method.
The ways of thinking are the same, observing events, recognizing patterns, drawing conclusions and writing them down for others and future generations to read and think about.
The challenges facing us are those who want to trust in, believe in, and have faith in the stories of a Stone Age peoples (9,500 BCE) and impose their understanding of the Earth and meaning on those of us who recognize those stories are part of human history and are not science and not the whole story.
This is a modern drawing of dendrites — part of a neuron that is used for receiving information from other neurons, a Purkinje cell with giant, branching beautiful dendrites that look like this. These are the parts of the body impacted by oxytocin. Modern scientists have tools and knowledge to study the neurobiology of living organisms. They don't imagine explanations of the universe; they can see them, examine them, explore and experiment in order to gain better understanding. Not only is this image powerful, it is beautiful and full of wonder.