Thursday, March 20, 2008

Clarke, Science, and God

Give my "timeliness" I'm sure most of you know Arthur C. Clarke has died.

Despite his long life it's still sad.

Rand has some good thoughts on it.

I can really agree with the sentiment that Clarke's work helped inspire one to go into science and engineering.

He also mentioned CP. Snow's two cultures.

Now I'm going to commit the sin of posting something I got from Wiki without verification

"A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?
I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question -- such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? -- not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had."


I like the point here. Well-rounding is key, a scientist or engineer should be able to understand and appreciate the arts, but similarly someone in the humanities should at least have a basic knowledge of science and physical laws.

Rand also cited a very good short story by Clarke "The Star".


It reminds me of one things about God. You can't disprove the existence of an omnipotent being, and what's more worrying is the opposite. If there ever were proof of God... what kind of God would that be?

2 comments:

Sean said...

"It reminds me of one things about God. You can't disprove the existence of an omnipotent being, and what's more worrying is the opposite. If there ever were proof of God... what kind of God would that be?"

Alright. Interesting point.

The Jack said...

As a thought experiment sure.

For real world stuff it's rather pointless, but it makes for neat SciFi.

Well it can.