[SIGCIS-Members] Science wars quote that scientists can teach English but not vice versa

Lee Vinsel lee.vinsel at gmail.com
Fri Oct 21 12:35:29 PDT 2016


I'm fairly certain that you are paraphrasing ideas from C. P. Snow's The
Two Cultures, though the way I remember it is that scientists have some
knowledge of literature whereas people in the humanities can't tell you
what the laws of thermodynamics are.

But maybe you have something else in mind.



On Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 3:32 PM, Thomas Haigh <thomas.haigh at gmail.com>

> Hello SIGCIS,
> I was looking for a quote I recall reading in the days of the “science
> wars,” probably late-1990s, from a scientist saying something like: “If all
> the English professors got sick and we were called in then we would so an
> OK job teaching Shakespeare etc. based on what we know and the inherent
> triviality of the humanities. Whereas if the physics professors got sick
> then the humanities people would be completely unable to step in, because
> science is hard.”
> I tried constructing Google searches and doing Amazon’s search inside the
> book on Sokal & Bricmont’s *Fashionable Nonsense* and similar targets,
> but didn’t locate it.
> NB: I’m just looking for the source here, not for people eager to reignite
> the science wars by arguing for or against the proposition.
> Best wishes,
> Tom
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Assistant Professor
Program on Science and Technology Studies
College of Arts and Letters
Stevens Institute of Technology
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Twitter: @STS_News
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