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SCIENCE AND THE COMMUNITY
407. What Has Science Taught Us? - Review the preceding chapters, especially Chapter I. We have studied many things about our earth, have we not? In Part II we learned about the atmosphere and the phenomena of fire, breathing, and weather, which depend upon it. In Part III we studied matter and energy as they show themselves in the heavenly bodies, and in the solid and liquid materials which make up our earth. Part IV was a study of the way in which science is applied in our homes, in the processes of washing and cleaning, and in the cooking and preserving of food. In Part V we had the story of the wonderful phenomena of electricity, light, and sound, and of simple and complex machines by means of which man has harnessed natural forces to do his work. Part VI told about the world of plants and animals, and the ways in which they help and harm us as we try to get our livelihood. Finally, Part VII was an account of the plan according to which our bodies are built, and some of the ways of keeping them in health.
What is the best thing you have gained from the study of science ? Has it been the many new facts you have learned? Or the story of how man has discovered nature, and made use of the knowledge to help himself to better ways of living? Or the way in which you can keep yourself in health and strength? Or a new idea of the community in which you live, and what your duty to the community is? Probably you have gained something of each of these.
If you have thought of your lessons seriously, you have realized how many things there are still to learn, and you have probably asked yourself many questions for which you have not yet found the answer. The important thing now is what you are going to do with science after you have “passed” in this course. Are you going to forget it, or to use it daily, and, if you have the opportunity, to study. it still more deeply? We learned in Chapter XXXIX that we can make habits. One of these is the habit of keeping our minds alert and on the lookout for new knowledge. We call this habit the power of observation”; it may also be called open-mindedness. It is a wonderful habit, for by having it we shall not only learn new facts, but we shall be able to see nature in larger and better ways. This will add enormously to our enjoyment, as well as to our knowledge, for nature is a fascinating teacher.
408. How Can Science Help a Community ? What interests do the people of a community have in common? They all need air and sunshine, do they not, and shelter from the weather? They all need food and clothing. They all need to be protected from danger of disease. They all need education for their life work, and recreation to rest them from one period of work, and to prepare them for the next. Because people wish these things for themselves and their children, we have schools, factories, stores, libraries, parks, and other institutions.
Do you see that whether you wish it or not, you are a member of the community? The community educates you, and its protection is around you in your home, on your way to and from school, and at play. Its protection makes it possible for your parents to care for you properly. In return the community expects you to obey certain rules of conduct and to give your best thought to the good of the community. Is not this fair?
Which person can give more to the community, the one who knows science, or the one who does not? Which would do his work better, if he were a mechanic? Which would sell cleaner milk, if he were a milkman? Which would keep house better, the woman who knows the scientific reasons for things, or the one who must do all her work by guess? Which would be the more intelligent in obeying the rules of the Board of Health in the time of an epidemic? Which would vote more intelligently upon the obtaining of a pure water supply, or a needed park, or a sanitary school building ?
409. The Community of the Future. -- In $ 5 we learned some of the ways in which science has made modern civilization possible. It has done this because of the many new tools and machines it has given us, and the many new means of earning a living it has made possible. But even greater than the machines, and the articles of food, comfort, and culture that have come to us, are the new ideas which science has brought. In the light of science we look at ourselves, our work, and our place in the community, in a new way. But this is not all: we also look at history, language, and government in a new way. May we not hope that the day will come when the knowledge of scientific truth will reach all the members of all the communities of the earth, both of those we call backward, as well as of those we call progressive? When it does, we need not fear for the community of the future.
410. Exercises. 1. If many persons are forced to live in a small tenement house, and they do not observe sanitary care, what will be the effect upon their health and length of life? What is the duty of the community in such a case ?
2. How are rats, mice, and flies dangerous to a community?
3. Name some of the ways in which the city might be made more healthful than the country. What would need to be done in the case of the city in which you
live? 4. What is the source of the water used in your community? Is the water ever in danger of being contaminated by dangerous bacteria ? What is done under such conditions ?
5. What is the source of the ice in your city? Is it pure? Is it possible for poor families having children to keep milk cool in summer? Why is this necessary ? Review § 340.
6. Which housekeeper makes a better home for her family, the one who wipes up dust with a damp cloth, or the one who uses a feather duster? The one who keeps a great deal of bric-a-brac upon the walls, or the one who keeps little? The one who keeps the foot mat outside the door of the living room, or the one who keeps it inside? The one who uses a carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner, or the one who uses a broom to remove dirt ?
7. What is the method of delivering milk and collecting milk bottles in your city? Is it sanitary? Are all the empty milk bottles washed by the housekeeper before they are collected? Why should this be done, in the interest of the city's health?
8. Watch the way in which garbage is collected in your city. Is it done in the best way? How could it be improved? Could the housekeeper do her part better? What is done with the garbage in your city: that is, is it burned, or buried, or how is it disposed of ? What is done with the waste paper of the city ? Has this any value? 9. Are any of the bakeries of your city located in cellars? Do you think this is best for the city's health, generally speaking? How is bread handled while it is being taken from the bakery to the store in which it is sold? What is the advantage of a wrapper on bread loaves ?
10. Why should the rooms of a house get as much sunshine as possible? In which positions will all the rooms of a house get the more sunshine, if the house faces north, east, south, or west, as is usually the case, or if the house faces northeast, southeast, southwest, or northwest ?
11. Does your city have a great deal of smoke? What are the objections to it? Is any effort being made to make the amount of smoke less? Is the effort succeeding ?
12. Why is it bad policy for a community to allow clothing to be made in rooms in which people live and then to be taken to stores to be sold ?
Summary. — We should make a habit of the power of observation we have gained in our study of science.
All the people of a community have interests in common, and the person who has a knowledge of science can give more to the community than one who has not.
The benefits of science modern civilization are not only new tools and machines, but also a new method and point of view.