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Thread: Hostility towards science in the arts

  1. #31
    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    LOL, so have many people for ages. Funny how people around here can be pessimistic about humans but optimistic, even utopian, about science and technology.

    You know about the thalidomide babies that were born with distorted limbs cos science said it's a good drug to prevent morning sickness. There are many examples of science going wrong. It's not all wrong, but it's not all right either.

    Sometimes we think science is right, but with hindsight it ends up being very wrong.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15536544

    Then again, let's just do a false dichotomy...again. You gotta choose my way or you're wrong.
    Please, differentiate science and applied science... they are two different things. I do basic science and I have not killed anybody, I don't have obscure interests in alliance with the big pharmaceutical companies, I only study the curvature of spacetime, who, as far as I know, has not killed anybody (well, maybe to some people who have jumped from a skyscraper , but that's not my fault! )

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    Sid, what are you attacking me for? I never did anything other than report the facts. And you're making way too many assumptions about my views.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cnote11 View Post
    If I were a drinking man, I'd create a drinking game out of the number of times Sid says "false dichotomy".
    According to this old post of mine, the number would be 102.
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  4. #34
    tdc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dodecaplex View Post
    Actually, it completely destroys what you said. After all, you seem to accept the fact that the statement itself is an illusion and dependent on the observer, but you still treat it as though it revealed any type of knowledge that is worthy of mentioning. In other words, you denigrate a world that is an illusion, yet you put a statement that is also an illusion on a philosophical pedestal. Why the bias?


    He never said such a thing. You're misquoting what he apparently says here:



    In any case, in order to see what Einstein's views were, I would rather trust what he wrote in his work on the philosophy of science than what he (apparently) said after the death of a friend.


    Well, I think it's nonsense. The inside is as much dependent on the outside as the outside is dependent on the inside. Looking only into your heart will barely give you half of the picture and render the rest of your vision blurred.
    Hmmm...Overall, I don't agree with you. Einstein wasn't even that big of a part of my point, I was just mentioning three sources of intelligent minds from the past that hinted towards the illusory qualities of the physical universe. If I was to look into it I am sure there would be more sources suggestive of this and I could easily take Einstein out of the equation - I do not look to Einstein's theories to explain everything. I suggested that 'outside reality' is an illusion, for you to then state that the observer and the statement were also an illusion is to over-look the fact that I already stated outside reality is an illusion, therefore those things as far as they are a part of any outside reality are already implied by my statement, but as far as they are a part of any inner reality they are exempt as I went on to state that I resonated with Jung's ideas of a real inner world. Therefore it is perfectly plausible for me to have philosophical views based upon this inner world that I am also connected to, and I believe we all are connected to. I was not trying to force my views on anyone, just giving my perspective.

  5. #35
    Senior Member regressivetransphobe's Avatar
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    Art is dumb. One time in art class I got an F for drawing wind lines. Science is dumb too. "Look at me, I have a microscope." Good for you, professor idiotface. *high fives your mother*
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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    You know about the thalidomide babies that were born with distorted limbs cos science said it's a good drug to prevent morning sickness. There are many examples of science going wrong. It's not all wrong, but it's not all right either.
    Whoah, whoah, whoah - let's slow down right there! Everybody look at the emphasised part of the quote. Since when did science have a voice? Science doesn't say anything, science doesn't get things right or wrong, scientists do, humans do. This is why Piccadilly, or whatever the woman's name is, and many people like her get it so wrong. They feel ambivalence towards the tool when they ought to be frightened of its users, and we would have much less reason to be frightened of its users if we weren't misplacing our distrust and giving kids poor science education.

    I'll be back with science-art right after I go to the shop. NEED TO BUY ME SOME CHICKEN.
    Last edited by Polednice; May-13-2012 at 15:54.

  7. #37
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    Funny how people around here can be pessimistic about humans but optimistic, even utopian, about science and technology.

    Indeed. Better living through chemistry (Zyklon B) and technology (Hiroshima). It reminds me of the naive view of the late 19th and early 20th century that imagined humanity had become virtually the master of all they surveyed. One would have thought the two world wars alone would have altered that and made people a bit more cautious with regard to the infallibility of science.

    Whoah, whoah, whoah - let's slow down right there! Everybody look at the emphasised part of the quote. Since when did science have a voice? Science doesn't say anything, science doesn't get things right or wrong, scientists do, humans do.

    Hmmm... this sounds vaguely like the defense employed by the NRA (the national Rifle Association): "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." Of course it's true... but guns certainly make killing people a lot easier. You don't even need to get all that near the other person. I must say I suspect that some of the distrust of science is the manner in which the defendants/apologists for science insist upon the infallibility of science. If anything goes wrong... if a scientific development is abused... its not the fault of science... its the fault of the individuals. Yet how often is religion (to use but a single example) afforded the same consideration? It seems to me that a good many here (and elsewhere) feel free to damn the whole of Islam or Catholicism (or the religion of your choice) for the admittedly horrible actions of individuals.

    So why do many artists have a less than glowing appreciation of science. I think PetrB hits on some key points:

    No one likes their beloved clinically dissected.

    The nature of science is to exclude anything not 95% verifiable as certain: Art is all about intuition and uncertainty, even when the final product has concrete forms, and a set of precepts about the medium itself. -- there is no accounting for the intuitive, seeming arbitrary choices many a composer works with, and within, on a regular basis.


    Undoubtedly many artists have little knowledge or interest in science (Leonardo excepted), and many scientists have little or no interest in the arts. This alone is enough to inspire a distrust of the "other". How often are artists portrayed by those in the more practical disciplines (such as science) as flighty, impractical, emotional?

    Application doesn't matter, and I don't think anyone seriously studying the science of art has even thought for a second about scientifically creating art. Sure, there are a few composition algorithms, but these are tongue in cheek, and not the aim of 99% of current research. We just want to know more, not do more. I find it peculiar how people don't understand this - perhaps it's a symptom of a society that must place utility values on everything in a form of super-consumerism.

    My guess is that you are either being quite ingenuous here... or quite naive. I highly doubt that the governments and corporations... and universities (which are bankrolled by both) invest billions in scientific research merely on a whim... a desire to know more. The arts and humanities are constantly struggling to maintain their pitiable funding and are repeatedly called to prove their practical worth (links between music and mathematics, etc...). You cannot honestly believe that the billions and billions invested in scientific research is simply the result of curiosity.
    Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

    Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with
    those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.

    Pablo Picasso

  8. #38
    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    [COLOR="#B22222"]

    The nature of science is to exclude anything not 95% verifiable as certain: Art is all about intuition and uncertainty, even when the final product has concrete forms, and a set of precepts about the medium itself. -- there is no accounting for the intuitive, seeming arbitrary choices many a composer works with, and within, on a regular basis.[/I]

    Undoubtedly many artists have little knowledge or interest in science (Leonardo excepted), and many scientists have little or no interest in the arts. This alone is enough to inspire a distrust of the "other". How often are artists portrayed by those in the more practical disciplines (such as science) as flighty, impractical, emotional?
    My god, this is a chain of stereotypes!

  9. #39
    Senior Member quack's Avatar
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    Previously in this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    They're providing their own small contribution to a huge conversation - a conversation you might reasonably be a part of
    So science is a conversation that doesn't say anything? Strange.

    You can't really criticise someone's metaphor if you are willing to use similar. Of course science says things, there are consensus views amongst scientists about how many things work. Certainly scientists don't always agree, it is not a wholly unified voice but "science says the earth revolves around the sun" is hardly putting words into the mouth of Science. Thalidomide was said by the majority of scientists in that specific field, to be safe and useful, the personified Science endorsed it for a while, even though they were relatively quick to admit their mistake.

    As to your main question: I haven't known an especial hostility of the arts towards the sciences. Many artists feel themselves obliged to criticise scientists when they act foolishly, arrogantly, carelessly, traits all humans have a tendency towards no matter how rigorously they think they are applying the scientific method.

    Every field of human thought has a strawman guarding it, I suppose that protects it from ignorant crows.
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  10. #40
    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    Hmmm... this sounds vaguely like the defense employed by the NRA (the national Rifle Association): "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." Of course it's true... but guns certainly make killing people a lot easier. You don't even need to get all that near the other person. I must say I suspect that some of the distrust of science is the manner in which the defendants/apologists for science insist upon the infallibility of science. If anything goes wrong... if a scientific development is abused... its not the fault of science... its the fault of the individuals. Yet how often is religion (to use but a single example) afforded the same consideration? It seems to me that a good many here (and elsewhere) feel free to damn the whole of Islam or Catholicism (or the religion of your choice) for the admittedly horrible actions of individuals.
    This is just hilarious. Man!, you are comparing science with a gun . Guns are constructed for kill people, they are intrinsically related with the fact of killing, it's for that reason that the argument of the NRA people is invalid. You can't apply that to science, since science is not intrinsically related with the fact of killing (I would like to see how do you use some facts about astrophysics to kill someone ). It's for that reason that the individual that uses the facts discovered by science has the responsibility and not science.
    Last edited by aleazk; May-13-2012 at 17:00.
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    Dear Jeebus, I'm surprised to see so many naive things here. Oh well, let's set about them.

    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    Hmmm... this sounds vaguely like the defense employed by the NRA (the national Rifle Association): "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." Of course it's true... but guns certainly make killing people a lot easier. You don't even need to get all that near the other person. I must say I suspect that some of the distrust of science is the manner in which the defendants/apologists for science insist upon the infallibility of science. If anything goes wrong... if a scientific development is abused... its not the fault of science... its the fault of the individuals. Yet how often is religion (to use but a single example) afforded the same consideration? It seems to me that a good many here (and elsewhere) feel free to damn the whole of Islam or Catholicism (or the religion of your choice) for the admittedly horrible actions of individuals.
    They sound similar, yes, but those are extremely poor analogies. Let's consider the comparison between guns and science. Remove the human, and what are we left with? Two tools of very different natures. I mean, what is science? People assume it's chemistry and physics and rockets and bombs, but science is really just a framework for inquiry. You can inquire about anything you want, but there are certain rigorous methods and standards to make it more likely you get a reasonable answer. It has no goals, no pre-set purpose. What about a gun? Well, yes, it's just a chunk of metal, but it's sole purpose is to inflict damage. Even if self-defence, it's use is to maim or kill. These are utterly incomparable things, and it's beneath you to compare them.

    As for religion, when in its organised form, it is not an impartial tool that can be used for good or bad. It is a collection of dogmas, or at least a set of morals. There is no morality in the scientific method whatsoever. These are even less comparable, and are unworthy of further discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    The nature of science is to exclude anything not 95% verifiable as certain: Art is all about intuition and uncertainty, even when the final product has concrete forms, and a set of precepts about the medium itself. -- there is no accounting for the intuitive, seeming arbitrary choices many a composer works with, and within, on a regular basis.
    I'm not sure if you wrote that or if you're quoting PetrB, but whoever wrote it is again providing a Hollywood stereotype. What is it with these?! You're all supposed to be familiar with art, seeing as you're all deeply into classical music, and yet you believe this twaddle about the uncertainty and intuitiveness of art as compared to the dull rationality of science? It's childish.

    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    Undoubtedly many artists have little knowledge or interest in science (Leonardo excepted), and many scientists have little or no interest in the arts. This alone is enough to inspire a distrust of the "other". How often are artists portrayed by those in the more practical disciplines (such as science) as flighty, impractical, emotional?
    This is undoubtedly you Stluke, and it's very, very bad. This false dichotomy (Hi, Sid ) between science and art is yet another ridiculous notion that persists because of our perception of these Two Cultures. Sure, many scientists don't have an interest in art, and many artists don't have an interest in science. But do you think these pretty obvious statements are representative of such people as a whole? Most scientists who I talk to and who I have heard talk have spoken about the wonders of music and literature. I haven't spoken to many artists about science, but I am familiar with a not inconsiderable number of them who are fascinated by science and even write about it. Because what it comes down to is that scientists and artists are all creative, and they're all extremely curious people. Everything about the human condition is of interest, so this artificial wall between science and art is one that many scientists and artists don't recognise.

    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    My guess is that you are either being quite ingenuous here... or quite naive. I highly doubt that the governments and corporations... and universities (which are bankrolled by both) invest billions in scientific research merely on a whim... a desire to know more. The arts and humanities are constantly struggling to maintain their pitiable funding and are repeatedly called to prove their practical worth (links between music and mathematics, etc...). You cannot honestly believe that the billions and billions invested in scientific research is simply the result of curiosity.
    I think you're twisting my words. It's quite obvious I wasn't talking about governments or corporations or universities. Of course they invest because they think there'll be some return (and there usually is, which is why the current under-funding of science is idiotic). But I was obviously talking about scientists, and if you think the people actually conducting the research are doing it because they want some application, you're the one who's naive. Sure, scientists involved in pharmaceuticals are looking for stuff they can actually use, but scientists involved in art studies, or linguistics, or experimental psychology are very often only looking to satisfy their own yearning for knowledge, and if there comes an application, that's a bonus. I don't believe billions are invested because of curiosity, but that's not even remotely what I said.

    Quote Originally Posted by quack View Post
    So science is a conversation that doesn't say anything? Strange.
    Science is a tool, the contents of journals as contributed by scientists are a conversation. What kind of argument is this? It's pathetic. The personified science you're talking about is a personification set up by people outside science to understand it; it doesn't actually exist, it's just a tool used by the media.

    ----------

    I'm really quite surprised by the low calibre of argument that has appeared on this page. I'm sure I sound tremendously up myself and arrogant right now, but it really has been some of the worst I've seen. Maybe I should have expected it from a forum dedicated to one of the arts - it just shows how endemic the problem is.

    I'll be back with some art in a few minutes.
    Last edited by Polednice; May-13-2012 at 17:22.
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    So, some science-art for you. First, there's Greg Dunn. He's a neuroscientist himself who has a passion for Japanese art (WAIT! A SCIENTIST WHO LIKES ART?!?!? GET OUT!), and uses gold leaf and scrolls to create paintings of brain structures. This one is called 'Hippocampus':



    Then, in music, you have folks like Michael Zev Gordon. Presenting the opposite trend, Gordon is a musician trained in the UK who is interested in science, and he used features of the genetic code (particularly the A, C, G, T sequence) to transcribe music.

    Literature is probably the most obvious realm where science and art meet, particularly in science fiction. Look to Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Kim Stanley Robinson, Christopher Priest - there's tonnes of the stuff.

    Let's also not forget that science can be a kind of art in its own right. As Stluke hinted at earlier, these drawings by Da Vinci are not only fascinating, they're beautiful.



    And who can look at a fruit of science such as the Carina Nebula and not feel a sense of aesthetic awe that is fundamentally rooted in artistic taste?

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  13. #43
    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    Polednice, you are sharped like a knife today! (try to not kill them, they can use that as an analogy for something! )

  14. #44
    Senior Member quack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    Science is a tool
    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    Some of your comments are indicative of an unfortunate trend in thinking that scientific conclusions ought to have some utility.
    You set up a premise, that the arts are hostile to the sciences, you don't offer much evidence to support that and then complain when people agree with you that science isn't perfect and has faults. This is low calibre argumentation?

    I don't think you sound up yourself, just kind of caught fighting the imaginary hoards of anti-science zombies, you probably believe me to be hostile to science because I disagreed with you. There are many that will use any of the mistakes or wrong turns of scientists to dismiss science as it suits their dislike of certain scientific conclusions but I don't see that any more prevalent in the arts than anywhere else.

    C.P. Snow's typified "two cultures" of science and the humanities, scientific illiteracy was not seen as significant, while high culture illiteracy was regarded as an embarrassment. Things have changed since the 50s when Snow described that and while there is still often a wide gulf, owing to the ways both are conducted, it does not imply hostility, only ignorance.
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  15. #45
    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleazk View Post
    This is just hilarious. Man!, you are comparing science with a gun . Guns are constructed for kill people, they are intrinsically related with the fact of killing, it's for that reason that the argument of the NRA people is invalid.
    [...]
    Wrong. Many guns are not 'constructed' to kill people. If fact, many guns are not 'constructed' to kill, period. This is part of the reason that arguments people use against the NRA are invalid.
    Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you've made it again.
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