Dr. Atul Gawande is one of my heroes. His CalTech commencement address of yesterday should be required reading for any informed citizen of any country.
If this place has done its job—and I suspect it has—you’re all scientists now. Sorry, English and history graduates, even you are, too.
Science is not a major or a career. It is a commitment to a systematic way of thinking, an allegiance to a way of building knowledge and explaining the universe through testing and factual observation.
[DCT comment: In other words, "science" is the practice of dealing with the universe as it is — or in another formulation: as the Creator wrought it — and not as necessarily being now what we wish it were.]
The thing is, that [the scientific mindset] isn’t a normal way of thinking. It is unnatural and counterintuitive. It has to be learned. Scientific explanation stands in contrast to the wisdom of divinity and experience and common sense.
Common sense once told us that the sun moves across the sky and that being out in the cold produced colds. But a scientific mind recognized that these intuitions were only hypotheses. They had to be tested.
(Emphasis and extra paragraphing added.)