The "Scientific Method" and the College Student

[Written Especially for Young People]

The first year of college is for many students an introduction to the "scientific method" of the schools. This method consists largely in examining ideas in the light of known facts and applying to them, whenever possible, the test of demonstrability. One who adopts this method is said to have acquired the "scientific attitude." This "scientific method," as it is termed, is useful to a college student in many ways, once it is understood, and it may help him to gain a view of human affairs which is comparatively free from prejudice and intolerance. But when he is being introduced to this method, when he is being encouraged to challenge the beliefs regarding conduct, values, and religion which he has brought with him to the university by asking, "Do they work?" "Can they be proved?" he may find himself temporarily deprived of his mental poise.

If the student is a Christian Scientist, it is likely that at this point he will discover a fresh reason for gratitude for his religion. At any rate, the writer is acquainted with one who did. This one had attended a Christian Science Sunday School for many years, and had been raised in a home where God was the only physician and Christian Science the only medicine. Enrollment at the university took her away from home for the first time, and finding herself plunged into a whirl of social activities as well as new studies, she neglected her Christian Science study. When she began to feel the disturbance and confusion resulting from her initiation into the "scientific method," she decided that she had better do some true thinking from the standpoint of her early training as a Christian Scientist. Contemplating the situation, she was a little surprised to find that she had been introduced to the only real "scientific method" before coming to college—through Christian Science. She recalled that she had not been asked to accept the Christian Science definition of God simply because her parents did, but because it was demonstrably true. The test of demonstrability had been applied to it over and over again—in fact, every time she had asked for Christian Science treatment; and it had always passed the test, for she had always been healed. These recollections were reassuring.

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