FANTASY VS. REALITY: Jane Galt writes about one of the main differences between the humanities and the sciences.

What is the difference? I'd argue that it's a mindset. The scientific mindset is about a system of interlocking falsifiable premises that form a falsifiable theory. This system encourages mental habits that go beyond the "critical thinking" facility that liberal arts colleges like to tout. It means knowing your premises, and examining every theory, including your own, for how they conform to your premises, to other theories you have examined and believe to be true, and for possible disconfirming evidence. ...

The humanities simply doesn't have this rigor. In some cases, such as literature, you really can't, although you can certainly be more rigorous than many of the programs devoted to exposing the obvious truth that Shakespeare and company did not have the same racial and gender sensibilities as 21st century Americans, yawn. In other cases, such as sociology and political science, it's possible that you could, but don't yet. That's why discussions in those courses tend to revolve around the speakers' opinions on human nature, interesting and possibly right but very difficult to either prove or falsify.

As both a student at UCLA who is surrounded by liberal artists (or whatever liberal arts students are called) and an engineer who works at a major aerospace company, I can attest to the gaping philisophical chasm that exists between these two groups. To liberal artists it's more important to be interesting and provocative than "correct", if they will even conceed that there is such a thing as correctness. To an engineer, nothing is interesting unless it's correct. Liberal artists get emotionally attached to their pet ideas (I won't call them "theories" because they aren't) and can react violently when you disagree with them or *gasp* disprove them entirely. A true engineer, on the other hand, wants to know when they're wrong and should be grateful to whoever points it out.

Via SDB who comments and adds a double-helping of agreement with regards to engineering.



Email blogmasterofnoneATgmailDOTcom for text link and key word rates.

Site Info