Arts 1, Sciences 0Posted: December 6, 2011
This was originally published in The Peak, in the fall of 2011 (I think — might have been summer). I cannot find a link to it in the archives and cannot remember when it was published. It was edited by Humour Editor Colin Sharp but this is the original version, which wasn’t edited by him. So there ya go.
The Arts Proven to be Better than the Sciences
In a new study published just this week in the Journal of Science, scientists at SFU have conclusively concluded that the Faculty of Arts is in fact, better than the Faculty of Science.
“Well, we crunched all the numbers and, yeah, it kind of surprised us, but that’s science for you. Proof,” said Jon Freeman, chief researcher of the group, who slightly stunned the academic world earlier this year with his paper that proved Communications is not a real major. “It’s shocking, yeah, but… well, fuck, there ya go.”
Some were obviously pretty happy with the results.
“Well, it’s good to know,” commented Michelle Bachmann, a lecturer in the department of Political Science. “We always knew, I think, deep down, but, well, I saw all the science the scientists did and this proves, beyond a doubt that the Arts are in fact better.”
Others weren’t quite as thrilled.
“It’s garbage,” Brian Smith, professor of Mathematics remarked. “Their science? Yeah, totally off. I bet you if we had proper scientists doing science here, we’d get different results. I think their numbers were off.”
Freeman remained optimistic, however. “Well, I still think there’s hope, you know, for folks in the sciences. We may not be better, but, well, we have science, so isn’t that all that matters?” remarked Freeman. “And well, you never know with these things. We used to think the sun revolved around the earth, and then we used science, and bam, here we are, orbiting the sun.”
It seems that all too often, value is placed on science instead of the arts. Arts majors, I find, are just as guilty of this pedantry as are science majors. Science majors argue you can’t get a job with a science degree, arts majors argue you can’t critically think or even read without an arts degree, etcetera. While I’m a bit of a snob/purist/nerd in that I believe learning for the sake of learning is more important than anything and that if you’re going to school “to get a job” you may be missing the point of education (obviously the argument is more nuanced than that but whatever), I think both sides of the fence are really missing the point. The ideal point, I think, would be a merging of the two fields in some ways. I think the difference between an “arts scientist” and a “science scientist” is best seen in the geniuses Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Albert Einstein once allegedly said “put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” In a short anecdote, Einstein is able to explain, essentially, his magnum opus. Hawking, as smart as he is, is nowhere as good with words. I find that, as much as I disagree with his politics and even though I understand very little about the current trends in the field of linguistics, Noam Chomsky has the same way with words as Einstein (though nowhere as brilliant).
So the point of the article is several-fold: one, with any scientific revolution, the world of science gets turned on its dome, so scientists should remember that while what they say is a “fact” today, tomorrow it might not be. Second: science isn’t law, period. Third, science can never prove which is better, so it’s a moot point. Only the arts could, and were it to, it would be missing the point of itself. And there’s some other brilliance in there I’m sure.
Also: I unintentionally wrote the political science professor as being named “Michelle Bachmann”. Must have been subliminal or something.