Snow's The Two Cultures has entered into the general currency of thought in the Western world. This book contains Snow's original Rede lecture as well as a follow up published five years later The Two Cultures:
Matt Collins Advertisement Earlier this summer marked the 50th anniversary of C. At the same time, many of those in the humanities, arts and politics remain content living within the walls of scientific illiteracy.
Good reasons exist for this phenomenon. In the first place, while we bemoan the lack of good science teaching in our public schools the vast majority of middle school physical science and math teachers, for example, do not have a science degreescientific illiteracy is not a major impediment to success in business, politics and the arts.
At the university level, science is too often seen as something needed merely to fulfill a requirement and then to be dispensed with. To be fair, the same is often the case for humanities courses for science and engineering majors, but the big difference is that these students cannot help but be bombarded by literature, music and art elsewhere as a part of the pop culture that permeates daily life.
There is another factor, one that was on display at the World Science Festival in New York City this summer, which helps to undermine the role of science in society.
Amid events on the cosmos, modern biology, quantum mechanics and other areas at the forefront of science, I participated in a panel discussion on science, faith and religion. Why would such an event be a part of a science festival?
The problem is, they are not. Even though, as physicist Steven Weinberg has emphasized, most people who call themselves religious tend to adhere to only those bits and pieces from scripture that appeal to them, by according undue respect for ancient religious beliefs in general, we nonetheless are suggesting that they are on par with conclusions that have been drawn from centuries of rational empirical investigation.
Snow hoped for a world that is quite different from how we live today, where indifference to science has, through religious fundamentalism, sometimes morphed into open hostility about concepts such as evolution and the big bang. Snow did not rail against religion, but ignorance. As the moderator in my panel finally understood after an hour of discussion, the only vague notions of God that may be compatible with science ensure that God is essentially irrelevant to both our understanding of nature and our actions based on it.
Until we are willing to accept the world the way it is, without miracles that all empirical evidence argues against, without myths that distort our comprehension of nature, we are unlikely to bridge the divide between science and culture and, more important, we are unlikely to be fully ready to address the urgent technical challenges facing humanity.
This article was originally printed with the title, "C. Snow in New York. Krauss, a theoretical physicist, commentator and book author, is Foundation Professor and director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University http:If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
Shakespeare vs Thermodynamics: "The Two Cultures" by C. P. Snow (original review, ) As a maths and physics graduate, I observe that most compilers of the best books of all-time lists are, self-evidently, not from my side of the cultural divide/5.
When, in May of at Cambridge University, C. P.
Snow delivered a lecture called "The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution," it did not generate a great deal of controversy. Mar 22, · Few literary phrases have had as enduring an afterlife as “the two cultures,” coined by C.
P. Snow to describe what he saw as a dangerous schism between science and literary life. An Update on C. P. Snow's "Two Cultures" A new column that examines the intersection between science and society provides an update on the historic essay . C.P. Snow THE REDE LECTURE, THE TWO CULTURES It is about three years since I made a sketch in print of a problem which had been on my mind for some time.
1 It was a problem I could not avoid just because of the circumstances of my life. like to deal with two of the most profound of these now, one on each side. First, about the. This morning Bragg discussed the life and work of C P Snow, whose famous thesis on the division of the two cultures we broadly delineate as the arts and sciences, was first published in essay form by the New Statesman in Snow, himself an esteemed chemist and fiction writer, lamented the “mutual incomprehension” which separated the.