"Two Cultures Redux," Oxford Roundtable, July 11, 2006

J. Siry

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Thesis: We remain without the necessary language to protect the world from our arrogant power.

Debate – From what study does the moral authority arise in an educated person?
Oversights – From science to technology reality’s complexity escapes rational logic.

Reasons and Causes – previous remedies to unify science and literature are instructive.

Responses & Suggestions – From the world’s women, an ongoing decline in family sizes, is hopeful.


Charles Percy Snow argued, in answer to Mathew Arnold, that knowledge divided against itself lacks the practical ability and moral capacity to meet the gravest challenges of modernity; these intractable threats of poverty, nuclear war, and population growth still trouble the world and disturb our comfortable, educated faith in learning.

Now, engaged in a great debate over the ownership of ethical imagination and the means to inspire moral conduct to match both technical abilities and the enormous growth of knowledge, academicians ask us to choose. They confront us with selecting a literate versus methodological means by which to analyze a desired course of action. Meanwhile, we lack the means to effectively synthesize revolutionary information about our species in this logically complex biophysical world. The scientific revolution to which Snow paid so much tribute, after all, has revealed an intricate quantum uncertainty and a stochastic biological inheritance of such detail that we yet lack a sufficiently precise explanatory language to describe technological, social and individual actions in a ceaselessly reactive universe.

Western educational institutions, while dedicated to free inquiry, refuting untested assumptions and promoting honest discourse, are profoundly implicated in and may actually promote the economic gulf and technical paralysis that Snow sensed as exacerbated by the two cultures divide: expressive art separated from ethical science.

We are here to divulge this divided heritage and our personal contributions to the union of intellect and practice that must occur if human hope in the purposeful acquisition of knowledge for the common good is to remain a remedy in a secular society widely infused with material, commercial and individual autonomy. Now climate change and biological engineering demand a literate science.

Our task is great in that Snow argued we had so little time to act. His critics additionally charged Snow lacked the inspired visions to motivate effective action. This new knowledge, in which he invested so much hope, confronts us now with a profound sense of uncertainty, if not loss. This sensibility is due not merely a loss of our bearings, but a loss of certainty about what we are as a species, how well we ought to behave and how effectively we can curtail our individual and collective behavior’s impact on others and the life of this planet.

Never has the necessity for change and the need for hope been so mismatched by a widespread inability to remedy poverty as fast as it emerges or to reduce the nuclear fissionable means used today to assure western dominance. Since Snow wrote, nonetheless, women who own about a percent of the world’s wealth are acting in a innovative manner to both diminish the rate of population growth by reducing total fertility rates, and calling for ethical responsibility in raising families by improving social conditions. We can change, but we are examining now to what extent we ought to overcome entrenched obstacles to morally informed action?


Abstract | Essay | References | Author | Powerpoint



In May 1959, Charles Percy Snow gave the Rede Lecture at Cambridge University where he warned of a fatal fragmentation in western industrial cultures concerning the achievements of applied science and the education of literate citizens. The dichotomy between the arts and the sciences, central to Snow’s, critique of higher education and culture in general, has fragmented further over the half century since he addressed the fracture’s existence. By focusing on modern biology, nuclear physics and atmospheric sciences, since 1945, this fracturing reveals a deeply rooted split within the arts and within the sciences that feeds a persistent, debilitating anti-intellectualism among the wider literate culture. Attitudes are debilitating because they mask the reality of the world’s conditions from our education. Snow pointed to “three menaces which now stand in our way—H-bomb war, overpopulation, the gap between the rich and the poor.” (p. 48) He admonished his audience that “This is one of the situations where the worst crime is innocence.”

Sir Charles P. Snow –no doubt aware of Mathew Arnold’s 1882 Rede Lecture on the importance of literature as a moral embodiment of culture—took the opportunity to suggest that now a splintered culture had emerged. For Snow, the split embodied a fractured focus on literary education as superior to science education. This divergence would not only ruin academic knowledge but could dangerously undermine the West’s ability to cope with modernity’s convergent troubles: nuclear war, poverty and soaring populations. He insisted that two camps, which he erroneously called “cultures,” not merely dwelled in separate intellectual hemispheres, but continued to talk past one another long after the importance of the industrial and scientific revolutions had changed the character of and access to higher education in Europe and America.

In a less precise meaning of culture than that used by Mathew Arnold in the 19th century, Snow, who later acknowledged his vagueness, argued for the moral supremacy of science in a technologically complicated world. At the mid point of the last century he insisted that literary intellectuals (hereinafter called the “literati”) stifled scientific understanding and that science –as a preeminent means of examining the world’s uncertainty—was needed then to keep civilization from plunging over the precipice of prejudice and reactionary self-satisfaction. Snow’s critics have correctly called him a nineteenth century liberal because he held his faith in technical progress to alleviate the world’s poverty and ignorance, despite the lessons of two world wars to the contrary. His optimism was infectious for some, naïve to others and remarkably disassociated from history. In his wake the United States created the Peace Corps, the Prince of Wales encouraged service learning, and the United Nations paid lip service, if not due attention, to transfer of technology from developed to developing nations.

Perhaps the best, untested assumption, proposed by Lord Snow was that if we want to change the world we must revitalize how we educate one another. Fifty years later, we possess the tools to alter the climate and re-engineer entire species but we lack sufficient metaphors needed to convey scientific uncertainty. Even Snow’s most vitriolic critic, Frank Raymond Leavis who defended Mathew Arnold’s contention that in great literature one apprehends best really serious moral dilemmas, failed to exploit Snow’s real weakness and instead attacked his personal credentials. What Leavis succeeded in doing, ironically, was to revive this century old dialectic, bring out Snow’s supporters, and obscure the real problem. By ignoring intellectual and social history, both champions in this debate on the two cultures failed to elucidate a nagging problem. That problem is complexity and it resides in the facts that physical science since Max Planck and Ernest Rutherford, or biological science since William Bateson and Max Delbrück had revealed incomprehensibly convoluted levels of existence. So perplexing were these revelations of wave particle duality or jumping genes, for instance, that there remains no adequate or widespread metaphors in literature or prose, with which to express the uncertainty of physics and the stochastic probabilities of genetic inheritance. In rereading Sir Charles’ essay, it is as if Darwinian probabilities and quantum-relativistic paradoxes never replaced his prevailing Newtonian certainty that our world is knowable and that by intervening with the appropriate instruments we can technically correct its social deficiencies.

In contrast, French philosopher Gaston Bachelard insisted, "What poet will furnish us with the metaphors for which the new language cries out?” By that, he meant, “How can we possibly imagine the amalgam of space and time? What supreme view of harmony will enable us to accord repetition in time with symmetry in space?"  In respect to Einstein’s revolutionary understanding of Newtonian space and time, Bachelard suggested we lacked the appropriate vocabulary to imagine what scientific formulas or tests reflected. He insisted that,

"We do not yet fully understand such frequency dependent reactions, because our temporal intuitions are still inadequate, limited by the ideas of absolute beginning and continuous duration." Gaston Bachelard  ["The New Scientific Mind," 1934] (78) Snow did not refer to this evidence from experimental physics that became so less rational, that average, ordinary--but literately educated people-- could focus only on the outcomes of scientific discoveries and not on the inherent findings that revealed a remarkably counterintuitive reality beneath an apparent everyday certainty sustained by clocks, electricity, automotive and civil engineering.

Snow understood how the world changed due to technological innovation and the extent to which science was standardizing, rationalizing and uniformly remaking long-standing, agrarian patterns of existence. In the absence of a language sufficient to ethically convey the duality of a “new science,” educational reform alone, Snow feared might produce a generation of faith healers as opposed to socially committed and scientifically aware public servants. How else can we explain that today, fifty years after Snow’s lecture and more than 125 years after Arnold’s lecture there endures a prevalent inability of leaders or the public to comprehend nuclear proliferation, Darwinian natural selection, and atmospheric science to the extent that we act to improve, rather than to degrade the world?

Are we well informed? Yes, however, are we clearly educated about science and technology to a greater degree than we were when Lord Snow made his remarks in 1956, amended them in 1959 and took a second look at their import in that fateful year of 1963? I am not sure. Based on the detailed evidence with respect to natural selection, climate change, and nuclear energy, science education has been ineffective in revealing the beauty and complexity of biology, physics and chemistry. However, in a broader sense, we have in academia now departments devoted to speaking and translating the different languages of the two camps that Snow so carefully distinguished as literary versus scientific cultures.

The obstacles to clear thought confound educators because a widespread misapprehension runs like a filament through Darwinism, atomic physics, and atmospheric science, arising from quantitative formulations, methodological uncertainty and the necessity in science to refute untested assumptions. At one basic level science is a discipline based on skepticism and refutation of initial assumptions drawn from empirical evidence. Scientific findings are hard to convert into coherent policies. Experts often argue that scientific knowledge is “value free” and thus offers explanations about consequences but not instructions concerning what we ought to do. This is why critics charge that science does not constitute a culture. Cultures transmit values, despite Snow’s assertions. Science has its own language, often borrowed, to express discoveries. The term for nuclear fission, for example, came from biological behavior of bacteria that divide in two when reproducing. This was because the heavy uranium element when bombarded by slow neutrons splits into barium and krypton. Lise Meitner and others used the term fission to explain the results.

A distrust of expertise since the nuclear fallout controversy, though healthy, appears currently in the misrepresentation of Darwinism, cloning with regard to stem cell research, and proliferation of nuclear fission. A growing sector of literate, though not well informed, interpreters of science have distorted biological physical and climate science. Further, there is evidence of a lack of awareness of the complexity of oceanographic discoveries and of synthesizing cross-disciplinary data in atmospheric chemistry and climate modeling. First, focusing on evolutionary biology will clarify a broader problem that, even well intentioned, writers have when they discover patterns where none exists. Subsequently focusing on genetics and nuclear physics, this misuse of pattern recognition reveals a deeper problem people have in interpreting the emerging complexity of the century-old biological revolution we are still encountering.

Richard Dawkins sights an example of this in his recent work The Ancestor’s Tale. We must start from first principles that “Biological evolution has no privileged line of descent and no designated end.” (p. 4) The late Ernst Mayr, the late Stephen J, Gould, and currently Mark Ridley, all evolutionary biologists of impressive repute, share that perspective. Yet there persists some renewed popular hostility to Darwinism from so called “creationists” and just as significant is a misunderstanding of evolution among learned writers. This is particularly true of an otherwise good book that Dawkins’ correctly criticizes in this context without divulging its author. Dawkins indicates that the author he is reviewing is wrong when he wrote that Homo habilis was ‘considerably more evolved than Australopithecines’. More evolved?” Dawkins asks, “ What can this mean but that evolution is moving in some pre-specified direction?” (p. 5)

Here we may have a failure to bridge an ever-widening gulf between the expression (arts) of what we know (science) and the methods we have so carefully used to dispel errors in what we know of the world. Alternatively, is there some deeper failure? Dawkins uses the example above and other supporting passages to explain what he and others call the “conceit of hindsight.” That is the tendency of the survivors to find a pattern in the past that that sustains their own, too frequently, untenable position today. The problem is that there is no pattern in the past that leads to us. This then is conceit, this world evolved to create us, sustain us and assure our values. Clearly, this folly –of viewing the human race as the apex of the biological pyramid, destined to domesticate this planet’s life to harvest the natural capital of thousands of other species-- is widespread. Harboring such a conceit when interpreting genetic engineering confronts us with daunting challenges.

The debate over cloning, especially the cloning of an entire human being, reveals a retreat from scientific first principles –precisely describe objects. Confusion may be due to complexity of scientific findings rather than mere conceit. Genetics has become more, not less complicated, after the discovery of the structure of the DNA double helix in 1953.  A fear of cloning may arise from an inability to comprehend that chromosomes possess inherent genotypes with an ability to replicate phenotypes. Natural selection favors a process of crossover, or sexual reproduction. By sexual selection, the phenotype, or expressed traits that are not lethal to subsequent offspring, thrives. Bacteria readily clone, but Dolly the cloned sheep failed to thrive. Clones or copies may be less capable than are sexually reproduced originals to persist in actual situations. Cloning’s complexities aside, repression of stem cell research, especially in the United States, reveals an incomplete public comprehension of scientific principles, based on poor understanding of genetics. Interpreting inheritance accurately, demands a sharper use of language.

Aside from the fact that science is a synonym for truth, in some minds there persists a mistaken notion that scientific research will undermine our ethical framework because empirical discoveries will enable us to do unspeakably rotten things. Of course, we currently commit immoral actions under the guise of research, national security, or self-preservation. Nevertheless, the assertion that empirical research and refutable scientific experimentation will undermine our moral imagination is a serious challenge to freedom of thought. In response to the threat, Jacob Bronowski argued, in Snow’s generation, that the enlargement of the realm for freedom of thought went hand in hand with promoting the marvelous discoveries in cosmology, mathematics, physics and chemistry we now associate with the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century.

Snow, to an historian of science, oddly attributes the term “scientific revolution,” to twentieth century discoveries of physics and chemistry and not to the work of Kepler and Galileo in laying the foundations of Newton’s scientific revolution. It appears Snow was concerned with the world’s over population and poverty in much the same manner as were Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus, in the wake of the Newtonian changes in ideas that helped produce the enlightenment’s rational optimism. Was Snow trying to retell history or at least recast the chronological situation in order to show how we had developed both the means (technology) and the understanding (science) to change both the academy and the world for the better?

An affirmative answer and direction emerge if we ignore Snow’s contemporaries, his critics, and his lack of historical sensitivity. He clearly argues for awareness based on engagement in, as opposed to retreat into comforting prejudices that insulate us from, the world of people, weapons and material possessions. He may select poor examples of what he means. Snow may have made, as Lionel Trilling suggested, “an indictment of literature on social and moral grounds.” However, Snow clearly did so in a rhetorical manner to have us understand that “innocence” should no longer be valued as a virtue. Here, I refer to his call for wisdom as a goal of modern education and his concluding remarks that we do not have the luxury of time.

“Meanwhile there are steps that can be taken which aren’t outside the powers of reflective people. Education isn’t the total solution to the problem: but without education, the West can’t even begin to cope. All the arrows point the same way. Closing the gap between our cultures is a necessity in the most abstract intellectual sense, as well as in the, most practical. When those senses have grown apart, then no society is going to be able to think with wisdom.”

Herein lies a problem we face in confusing the technology of nuclear reactors for electricity production with nuclear weapons. Does this dilemma arise from the gap between the two cultures? On the other hand, has there been a fracturing in our public discourse because Arts and Science education disregarded or misinterpreted important findings or crucial evidence? Have we lost the essential capacity to discern the important from the merely interesting?

As the depth of detail in biology grows, together with particle physics, are we failing to educate because we cannot assimilate the essential findings into our gestalt of what an educated person in the 21st century ought to know? The revolution in biological sciences has outstripped our capacity to teach the crucial details that will properly inform our moral imaginations. Evident in these controversies over Darwinian natural selection and cloning is a mixture of poor thinking based on a lack of knowing substantive details. The way we put these details together further divides expressive arts from research sciences. As Dawkin’s argued, seeing patterns where none do exist is a serious failure.  Innocently ignoring particularly crucial details of what we know is also intolerable.

In examples from physical or biological sciences, the problem--while clearly one of complexity--is more than merely a failure to comprehend the depth of scientific details. Our debilitating conceit, as in the evolutionary biology case is not the only problem. There is in the rhetoric of some science writing an implicit assurance that rational understanding occurs when we invent tools to observe with sufficient clarity of detail ever-finer pieces of the puzzle. Science reveals hypotheses and tests common assumptions accounting for errors to uncover hidden qualities of existence.  Yet, if one looks closely at scientific discoveries from fission and fusion to the structure of DNA, from 1939 to 1953, there is far more complexity at deeper levels of existence and not simplicity based on fewer component parts. In this regard, E. O. Wilson suggests the cell’s organelles are more akin to the behavior of creatures in a rain forest than a single simple entity. Similarly, Wes Jackson sees in the complex genome, behaviors among RNA, DNA and proteins that more nearly resemble an ecosystem than they do a simple genotype translated into an expressly characteristic phenotype. In nuclear physics, the numerous subatomic particles –termed the “particle zoo,” instead of simplifying quantum physics, compounds attempts to simplify reality. In biology and physics, reducing things to their constituent parts does not reveal the degree of clarity we may desire and does not sufficiently express greater certainty than we experience in our macroscopic world.  As knowledge accumulates, findings become harder to simplify.

Snow called for action and thus ignored how controversies arose historically concerning the misuse of scientific findings in the application of new knowledge to meet human needs. The use of privileged information to achieve some purpose without sufficient concern for all of the potential outcomes is clearly at issue with how the concept of fission related to the larger social matter of nuclear proliferation. Leo Szilard, the Hungarian physicist who convinced Einstein to send a letter to then President Roosevelt to construct the atomic bomb, early and clearly recognized the connection between knowledge and its application to military ends. Szilard predicted the misuse of the bomb technology on Japanese civilians (and inadvertently on American POWs) would create an engineering contest called “the arms race.” Such technical achievements currently motivate India, China, Pakistan and Israel to possess nuclear weapons and their neighbors to desire such capabilities. Szilard realized that capability was not a necessary and sufficient reason to put scientific findings into practice. The road from fission in the laboratory to explosive materials is a costly and long a process as it was in 1942-1945. The popular mind, where all too often technology is mistaken for science, rarely makes the necessary distinction between a discovery and its time-consuming technical application. Often ignored are the time, expertise and capital needed to convert experiments into reliable products.

Climate science is naturally complex. By synthetically uniting atmospheric chemistry, geophysics, mathematical modeling and fluid dynamics cross-disciplinary study is essential. Integrating data is crucial to weighing evidence, discerning a pattern and eliciting viable inferences about how weather patterns may change accordingly as heat moves from the earth’s surface components to the air above. Like oceanography and biogeography, atmospheric science, requires an adequate knowledge of feedback to understand fundamental nuances. The history of global warming dates from Auguste Fourier and Svante Arrhenius in the nineteenth century since both men understood that carbon dioxide absorbed long-wave radiation —or “traps heat”—and warms the air. Spencer Weart suggests that untested assumptions in science blocked widespread acceptance of evidence about global warming’s discovery. A belief in the idea of “a balance of nature” he insists interfered with many scientists accepting evidence about increasing global temperatures.

In much the same way that Ernst Mayr argued that typological thinking kept biologists in the nineteenth century from understanding Darwin’s suggestion that populations vary over time due to natural selection, twentieth century scientists could not see the data on carbon dioxide and temperature rise for their fixation on an unfounded faith in the alleged “balance of nature.” Here then lies one important focus for educational reform. Expose students to a means of challenging untested assumptions and give them a language with which to interpret and assess feedback relations that describe any complex technical interaction. Carbon dioxide levels in the air are increasing at two percent per year. Carbon emissions remain aloft for a century or more after their release. Like the interest on an unpaid debt, carbon dioxide accumulation is accelerating at a rate that makes it harder each subsequent year to reduce discharges. Now with destructive weather potentially flooding coastal populations accompanying climate change could produce a hundred million refugees worldwide. Without reform existing technology, education and social ethics face daunting tasks.

Because of conceit we fail to be aware, teach and examine the contingent quality of the living world, and due in some part to the world’s inherent complexity we confuse the possession of knowledge with the capacity to alter the physical world with ever more powerful, but more dangerous, instruments such as nuclear weapons. Conceit and confusion when applied to stem cell research leads to people alleging we can –but should not– clone entire human beings. Critics misuse this ignorance to justify a ban on cloning strategically significant human tissues even in the search for cures to degenerative diseases.

Does this incapacity to assimilate new complex information arise from or relate to C. P. Snow’s observations in the Two Cultures? Snow argued that we were in the midst of a great revolution in thought, scientific discovery and applied science. He further concluded we needed to reshape our didactic approach.

“For the sake of the intellectual life, for the sake of this country’s special danger, for the sake of western society living precariously rich among the poor, for the sake of the poor who needn’t be poor if there is intelligence in the world, it is obligatory for us and the Americans and the whole of the West to look at our education with fresh eyes.” (p. 51-52)

In hindsight, Snow and the debate he provoked produced reforms that have yet to promote science education widely as an effective antidote to dispel ignorance or enable valuable actions. Reforming education to save the world is a curious holdover from the pre-cold war period when John Dewey, among others, including J. J. Thomson and British historians of science advocated needed changes. Many thinkers before the Second World War thought to both bridge a growing gap between the literary and the scientific camps and redirect educational goals to improve the community and move away from merely outfitting gifted individuals for successful careers. For Snow and others, the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century had changed the human condition and a scientific revolution of the twentieth century had placed new knowledge in the service of time-tested ideals. Blissfully ignorant in the essay, Snow took no notice of the, prevailing, ban the bomb movement. He instead focused on reactionary literary intellectuals of the pre-war period and Sir Ernest Rutherford’s miscalculation with respect to any practical applications of nuclear fission as his prime examples of how there was--and remains today--a pervasive misinterpretation of practical knowledge. He accused the literati of risky naiveté.

My late mentor, Garrett Hardin, who recommended three filters against folly in response to Snow’s Two Cultures essay, reformed education by creating Environmental Studies at UCSB. He argued that multiple perspectives together --where never one perspective (literate or quantitative) alone-- could reveal the necessary complexity of real world problems. A synthetic educator he argued that “To assert that we have ever completely captured reality in an equation or a string of words would be extremely arrogant.” (Filters, p. 21.) His rigorous analysis of ecological, literary and quantitative information led him to understand the necessity of cross-disciplinary learning. Hardin proposed pursuing knowledge at the edges of intersecting fields of study. With respect to climate change, in both the history of our comprehension of atmospheric sciences and in the applications of tools to remedy the predicament we are creating for ourselves, one may see the value of Snow’s critique of education and Hardin’s wide approach to solving ecological problems. Recent genetic findings require we re-educate ourselves.

The partial answer we can consider this week should encompass Snow’s remarks about a rapidly growing pace of technological change with which we now cope. There is too, the fast pace in accumulating new knowledge and deeper uncertainties about the world. Added to this social acceleration is the fact that students of cybernetics suggest we are living for the first time in a civilization that possesses a glut of information as opposed to previous eras when a scarcity of information hampered, say enlightenment thinkers. Today, we have more details to consider. During the five decades since Snow’s lecture the world’s population doubled, our consumption of resources tripled, our use of energy fuels quadrupled and people occupy twice as much land –literally territory— the pace at which change occurs has been accompanied by a scale of impact that we do not comprehend. Despite this accelerating pace, women in that same period had significantly smaller families than did their mothers. Snow warned in ending his lecture, “The danger is, we have been brought up to think as though we had all the time in the world. We have very little time. So little that I dare not guess at it.”
(p. 52)

Snow concluded thoughtfully and with portent in 1959, when he encouraged his audience to act quickly.  Clearly, the decline in fertility was abrupt. How swiftly we meet his other challenges is debatable. Yet, is there a means by which we can foster the dual educational objectives of cultivating ways to bridge the two cultures so that we may beneficially leave the world a better place? It is time, as Snow and others have suggested, to stop specialization on the undergraduate level and to introduce, instead, dual majors. By this suggestion, I mean that we offer integrative degrees from two opposing disciplines with a refining capstone course to determine if learners can integrate artistic expression and literary information with quantitative and scientific data. Some may opt for clinical experience in the community or practice in yearlong externships, where participants receive rewards for reflecting on where the “two cultures” diverge but how they can fit together.

If we continue to reward specialization in one discipline alone, then we risk reviving the Arnold and Snow dichotomy, only to reinvent the academy as if no one had spent a century advocating institutional reforms. Galen in ancient times remarked on a distinction between theoretical knowledge and empirical experience with respect to physician’s training. In time, the rational empiricism of Newton and Locke bridged that gap between two rival methods. James C. Maxwell united two seemingly different forces together. History reveals the possibility to unify discrete bodies of knowledge: literary expression with scientific imagination, if we have institutional investments committed to doing so.

As Snow recognized, the poor and infirm pay a price for our dalliance. Now, with less time, we must elucidate the crucial problem of a compounding rate of accumulating greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Half the world’s people are under twenty years old and nuclear weapons are no longer the monopoly of four superpowers. Innocence in these respects is a vice. Skepticism alone is not a responsible means of promoting technically feasible ways to adequately and humanely provide for the developing world. Reforming how we learn is essential.

4,437 words.


Abstract | Essay | References | Author | Powerpoint


Joseph V. Siry is an historian of science, technology and the environment who studied with Garrett Hardin at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he received his doctorate, in 1981. He has directed or is supervising twenty-four graduate students in the Master of Liberal Studies Program at Rollins College where he is a tenured member of the Environmental Studies Department. http://web.rollins.edu/~jsiry

Reference Notes

Snow, C. P.  The Two Cultures: And  A Second Look. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 1959; 1963 [ Mentor Edition, 1963].

Boulding, Kenneth E. “The Two Cutures,” Technology in Western Civilization: 2 Vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967. Vol. II, pp. 686-707. “Technology has produced many paradoxes.” (704).

Cohen, Benjamin R. “On the Historical Relationship Between the Sciences and the Humanities: A Look at Popular Debates That Have Exemplified Cross-Disciplinary Tension.” Cohen writes “In this sense, Snow’s metaphor of ‘two cultures’ is itself a precursor to the program of science studies, shaping the discourse of the field, a point that longtime Science Technology and Society (STS) scholar Stephen Cutcliffe also argues (Cutcliffe 2000, 7). If we look to the history of the disciplines that combined to form an interdisciplinary science studies discourse—history of science, sociology, literature and science—the point that science studies found its genesis in relation to both sides of the two-culture divide is strengthened. p. 76 The impetus for this thesis was the notion that Snow's articulation rested on a particular view of science that has been elaborated and superseded by recent science studies scholarship.” Benjamin R. Cohen, is at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He lists twenty nine important works dealing with Snow’s ideas.

Burnett, Graham D. “A View from the Bridge: The Two Cultures Debate, Its Legacy, and the History of Science.” Daedalus, Vol. 128, 1999.

Leavis, Frank Raymond and Yudkin, M., 1962. Two cultures? The significance of C. P. Snow, With an essay on Sir Charles Snow's Rede lecture by Michael Yudkin, London: Chatto & Windus.

Trilling, Lionel. “F. R. LEAVIS, who is widely regarded as England's most important literary critic, recently launched a violent attack on C. P. SNOW, and in particular on Snow's famous description” of the two cultures split. [Originally in "Science, Literature and Culture: A Comment on the Leavis-Snow Controversy," Commentary (June 1962), Vol. 33 • June 1962 • No. 6, pp. 461-477. Information sited in "Science, Literature and Culture: A Comment on the Leavis-Snow Controversy," Cultures in Conflict: Perspectives on the Leavis-Snow Controversy, Scott, Foresman and Company, 1964.

Bachelard, Gaston. "The New Scientific Mind," 1934. p. 78.

Dawkins, Richard. The Ancestor’s Tale. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. pp. 4-6.

Margulis, Lynn. Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution. New York, Basic Books, 1998. pp. 2-3, “As a species we cling to the familiar comforting conformities of the mainstream. However, ’convention’ penetrates more deeply then we tend to admit. Even if we lack a proper name for and knowledge of the history of any specific philosophy or thought style, all of us are embedded in our own safe ‘reality.’ Our outlooks shape what we see and how we know. Any idea we conceive as fact of truth is integrated into an entire style of thought , of which we are usually unaware.” pp. 2-3. “Call the cultural constraints ‘trained incapacities,’ thought collectives, ’social constructions of reality.’ “ p. 3.

Mayr, Ernst. What Evolution Is. New York: Perseus, Basic Books. 2001. pp. xii—xv, 3-13, 215-16, 264, 278.

Gould, Stephen. The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2002. pp. 93-94, 467-479.

Watson, James, D. DNA: The Secret of Life. New York: Alfred Knopf, 2003. pp. 92-104 discusses Cloning, 310-314, complexity, 347-356, stem cells, 386, identity.

Keller, Evelyn Fox, The Century of the Gene. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U Press, 2000. “As always, the counter forces working to destabilize a particular set of terms and concepts emerge out of what might be most simply described as science’s ongoing encounter with the real world-- from the accumulating inadequacies of an existing lexicon in the face of new experimental findings. “ p. 144.

Bronowski, Jacob. Science and Human Values. New York: Harper & Row, 1956. “We are hagridden by the power of nature which we should command, because we think its command needs less devotion and understanding than its discovery.” p. 70. [From a 1953 MIT lecture series, published in 1956].

Wilson, E. O. The Future of Life. New York: W. W. Norton, 2002. p. 23. Chapter 2: “The Bottleneck: “In Short, we have entered the Century of the Environment, in which the immediate future is usefully conceived as a bottleneck. Science and Technology, combined with a lack of self understanding and Paleolithic obstinacy, brought us to where we are today.” p. 23 “Now science and technology, combined with foresight and moral courage, must see us through the bottleneck and out.” IBID.

Jackson, Wes. “The Genome as an Ecosystem: Good News/Bad News Implications.” Washburn Law Journal, [Vol. 43. 2004] pp. 533-546.

Gell-Mann, Murray. The Quark and the Jaguar. pp. 16-41 on complexity, 81-84, unity, 126-141, “How can there be so many elementary particles?” he asks on pp. 196-198, 236-37.

Mayr, Ernst. One Long Argument. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991. p. 140.
“Darwinism...we mean evolution by (means of) natural selection“ pp. 68-69,107.
July, 1837, in Darwin’s worldview nature and human order were altered:
            Static becomes dynamic since humans fitted “into the stream of animal evolution.”
“Yet, the causes of evolution were a complete mystery to him.” pp. 68-70, 101-106.

Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species. Nov., 1859. pp. 171-177 on species concept, 317-320, on extinction and new species.

Weart, Spencer R. The Discovery of Global Warming, (Cambridge: Harvard U. Press, 2003).
Weart traces the responses by skeptical professional audiences from the early hypothesis and evidence until the professional warnings dovetail with public concerns and the energy crisis of the 1970s through 2000. His thematic thread is that a strong belief in an alleged balance of nature inhibits understanding of the scope, timing and influence of global warming.

Carbon dioxide gas levels measured at 315 ppm in 1958, and 381 ppm in 2005, increased 76 ppm in 47 years, or a 1.607 ppm / annum average. “Today…that is higher than we have been for over a million years”
Shukman, David. “Sharp rise in CO2 levels recorded,” Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 00:12 GMT.  BBC science correspondent quotes Sir David King, above. Parts per million is ppm. http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4803460.stm
for recent data, see -- http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.php;7-4-06,

Hansen, James. Et. al. “Earth’s Energy Imbalanace: Confirmation and Implications.” Science, Vol. 306, June, 3, 2005. pp. 1431-1435. “the confirmation of the climate system’s lag in responding to forcings, implying the need for anticipatory actions to avoid any specified levels of climate change….” p. 1431.

Achenbach, Joe. “When Science and Politics Clash,” National Geographic, (209:5) May 2006, p. 32.

Woodwell, George M., & Richard A. Houghton. “Global Climatic Change,” Scientific American, 1989 April, p. 18.

Hardin, Garrett, Filters Against Folly. (1987), pp. 16-57.

Knodel, John. “Deconstructing Population Momentum.” Population Today. Population Reference Bureau, 27:3, March, 1999. pp.1-2. 7. “actions can be taken in the present to lessen momentum.”

Kent, Mary M, and Haub, Carl, “Global Demographic Divide,” Population Bulletin. Vol. 60: no. 4, December 2005. pp. 3-24, Fertility decline is described, pp. 9-11, and called the “contraceptive revolution.”


Two Cultures, Redux

Text of Two Cultures

Snow's words | Snow's essay interpreted | The Two Culture's context | The Redux Essay | Siry essay

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