The yawning gap between scientists and those in the liberal arts

When you read the biographies of the great scientists and the great artists it is very clear that while most great scientists have a love of the arts — even an expertise in one of them (Einstein was a violinist) — it is very rare indeed that those in the arts and humanities have any idea at all about the sciences. The only one I can think of off the cuff is Melvyn Bragg (now Lord Bragg).

The cat has been set among the pigeons recently by George Will who wrote a trenchant article, “American higher education is a house divided,” in  the Washington Post where he contrasts the sharpness and precision of those in engineering, mathematics and biosciences, etc. with the fuzzy minds of those in the humanities, very often tediously tautologous, given to abstractions and, these days, postmodernist stuff like gender and cultural studies.

At secondary school level any sixth-form teachers will tell you that the generality of those students who go into the science subjects are clearly more intelligent than those going into the arts subjects — although, of course, the latter always include a few very bright ones.  Half of the problems we have today with excessively politically correct students at universities is due to the predominant numbers of non-science students. There are very few science students among the demonstrators. In any case, they’ve usually got too much work to do compared with most others.

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