The Sciences and the Arts and Religion and. . .
by B.J. Delas Armas
on 11/18/2004 08:00:00 PM
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I get kind of annoyed when people in "hard" sciences and engineering think that they're better or going through tougher shit than those who do humanities and arts.
Ha, sorry anti-intellectual aZn boooI69669 and the add/subtract libertarian engineer !
The only reason it's "tougher" is because what you study is very unenjoyable. It's unpractical in the sense that it's very detached from what you do in real life but what you know it's practical in the sense that eventually you will get money.
Sciences (and I'm thinking UCLA sciences, not necessarily liberal arts school sciences which might be a bit different) right now just make you a machine, even though it may not have started that way. It was very practical in real life, as in experiments and so forth in science were very related to what you believed in and what you did on a regular basis in real life. For example: Michael Faraday, father of magnetoelectricity, modeled his theory of atoms being nothing more than force as to do away with the idea of a material world. Of course what isn't mentioned is that he held allegiance to an anti-materialistic sect of Christianity.
The subjects of sciences and arts came out of the same pressures: they were something to do for fun and to tinker exhaustibly with. Science and humanities subjects were just one and the same. Once science and art became very popular amongst people, people who did science and art found (and continue to find) out it became a form of power. And once science and arts became a form of power, folks start to really believe in things produced within them. They then begin to believe in those things very strongly, and develop their own principles around those things to both solidify and justify their beliefs, like it's a religion. They weeded out it's humanity bases and carved in their own importance into these sciences. For example, no one will think to question what motivated Ike Newton to think of the concept of gravity. Instead, they will just look at gravity and just assume it exists, blah, it's all forgotten !
Science has become today what religion was like during the medieval period.
Even though they came out of the same pressures, what separates the hard sciences from arts and social sciences is that the hard sciences offers the best guarantee of money. It offers the most certainty in a life, just like being part of the church offered a lot of certainty during the medieval period.
The human race has had a tendency to want to establish certainty and will go to great lengths to ensure it. We have a tendency to distrust everything we do and we feel the need to put the power in structures and deities or what have you. Those who have had great power and control towards establishing certainty in society has often made their subjects and followers mindless and do something stupid (unfortunately still present and displayed in War on Iraq).
Offering the most certainty is why hard sciences is considered "better" than its arts and social sciences. And whenever something offers the most certainty, it usually goes unquestioned by a lot of folks.
Absent from contemporary sciences in their observations/statements has been any sort of underlying philosophy or artificiality behind them. As a result these observations just become meaningless truths to accept in which the underlying philosophy that bred it is slowly forgotten by more generations of students. The intellectual curiosity gets lost because of this loss of philosophy. Helping to supplant this curiosity are these tests to make sure we know what's "important" (yeah, well according to you guessed it, hint: they're my favorite targets on this blog). This is why folks don't get much out of science other than a paycheck.
I need to remind you guys that science was actually done for actual intellectual curiosity.
People endeavored in science early on more out of intellectual curiosity and excessiveness and more fun as people would connect their philosophies with the way they thought things "naturally" worked. For example, Hermann Hulmholtz worked on his engineering theories based on the way the political economy was supposed to work for him. So basically his concoction of science was based on his own philosophies. And it just so happened to work. Philosophy was what drove him to innovate this engineering. And it wasn't even just him.
Innovations in science have usually had strong philosophical and religious bases. It started with Greek and Roman crap about Cosmos with two worlds, that of the celestial and the human. There was Newton proposing his theory of God. And of course there was Faraday. A lot of the scientists especially in astronomy such as John Stewart Mill, Whewell preceding Darwin were just trying to rationalize and prove in their theories of the future of the world the existence of god.
Though again all this artificiality of science seems to be all but forgotten (except for the better scientists). And we'll continue to grow into an anti-intellctual machinized society. Part of this anti-intellectual machine is to look down upon the arts and the humanities as ways to spend a college education.
The artificiality in arts and humanities subjects are always pointed out becausethey don't provide the certainty that the hard sciences do. They are looked down upon now because it seems like anyone can do these things and anything goes; it's just a matter of opinion because apparently everyone deserves an opinion in this democracy. Yeah, you should have one, but it doesn't mean it should be acted upon. It's artificiality is established from the beginning.
Labels: Deconstructing School and Studying, Violence of Science