What does Piggy's statement “Life…is scientific” mean?

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robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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It's part of an argument Piggy makes about being rational and logical on the island. Piggy is always excellent at working things out, and he is basically arguing that you can't work with imaginary evidence.

You have doctors for everything, even the inside of your mind. You don’t really mean that we got to be frightened all the time of nothing? Life,” said Piggy expansively, “is scientific, that’s what it is. In a year or two when the war’s over they’ll be travelling to Mars and back. I know there isn’t no beast—not with claws and all that, I mean—but I know there isn’t no fear, either.”
Piggy paused.
Ralph moved restlessly.
“Unless what?”
“Unless we get frightened of people.”

There are doctors for everything, Piggy says. Everything can be worked out. We can ever work out how to get to Mars based on what we see and what we know. Life is to do with empirical information, things that we know, and conclusions that we draw.

So, Piggy continues, he knows there isn't a beast with claws. The only possibility is - and, of course, as anyone who's read the book will know, it's the right one - that they are frightened of what IS on the island: themselves, each other, and the darkness of man's heart.

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