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Hello, I'm RK, from the USA. I live in the state of New York. I am an Ashkenazi Jew, meaning that I am of Eastern-European Jewish ancestry. I'm here to contribute what I can to entries on a variety of topics, including articles on Judaism, religion, philosophy, science, videogames, and anything else that catches my fancy.

My e-mail address is rkXXXscience100@yahooXXX.comXXX You need to remove the "XXX" in order to e-mail me. They are there as a spam blocker.

The Seer of Lublin, a famed Hasidic rabbi, wisely observed, "I prefer a wicked person who knows he is wicked, to a righteous person who knows he is righteous".

"Think of how stupid the average person is and realize that half of everybody is stupider than that." George Carlin

Harlan Ellison writes "...Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, that's horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it's nothing. It's just bibble-babble..."

Our speculations on the growing antipathy toward academic radicalism on the part of scientists are influenced by a certain sense of how the humanities and the arts enter into the actual lives of our scientific colleagues. On the whole, scientists are deeply cultured people, in the best and most honorable sense. The image of the scientific monomaniac, of science departments devoted to a "naive scientism" (9) is, to say the least, highly misleading. The range of knowledge of music, art, history, philosophy, and literature to be found in a random sample of scientists is, we know from long experience, extensive, and in some fortunate venues, enormous. Most of this learning has been acquired, of necessity, at odd moments here and there -- not through formal or systematic study. As humanists, therefore, scientists are autodidacts. One obvious consequence of this fact is to undercut the argument that traditional humanities departments, in their role as educators, are indispensible bearers of the great treasures of our cultural heritage. There are other, albeit less efficient, routes to education.

Let us be blunt: Having come so far, we have litle left to lose. If, taking a fanciful hypothesis, the humanities department at MIT...were to walk out in a huff, the scientific faculty could, at need with enough released time, patch together a humanities curriculum, to be taught by the scientists themselves. It would have obvious gaps and rough spots, to be sure, and it might with some regularity prove inane; but on the whole it would be, we imagine, no worse than operative. What the opposite situation -- a walkout by the scientists -- would produce, as the humanities department tried to cope with the demand for science education, we leave to the reader's imagination.

This little excercise in oneupmanship is, of course, utter fantasy. But it does point to something real. The notion that scientists and engineers will always accept as axiomatic the competence and indispensability for higher education of humanists and social scientists is altogether too smug. Other sentiments are clearly astir. How these matters play out in American intellectual life will depend, to some degree, on the ability of the non-scientists to rein in the most grotesque tendencies in their respective fields.

Higher Superstition, Gross and Levitt, p.243-244.

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