Preview Response

Virtues / Physical & Biological Sciences

Daniel Hastings

Cecil and Ida Green Education Professor and Head, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


This is a thoughtful preview. In my own scholarship based on science and engineering, much seems very certain such as the fact that the earth is a prolate spheroid whose gravitational potential is measured and modeled. This allows us to very accurately calculate orbits for satellites. Here the truth is indisputable. I am struck by the contrast with much of the political debate in the country where basic facts are disputed and lies are accepted as truth never mind the evidence. I am at loss as how to reconcile these two different things. Could it be that greater attention to developing virtues by citizens and our institutions, as Prof Herdt implies, might go some distance towards reconciliation? Here, too, the Christian gift of discernment may be essential to help distinguish between truth and falsehood.