Two articles  

Monday, July 02, 2007

Floods are judgment on society, say bishops

While those who have been affected by the storms are innocent victims, the bishops argue controversially that the flooding is a result of Western civilisation's decision to ignore biblical teaching.

The Rt Rev Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, argued that the floods are not just a result of a lack of respect for the planet, but also a judgment on society's moral decadence.

OK, tell me this: If flooding is due to changes that are wrong, why was there flooding before those changes? If humans are always doing something wrong and always getting punished per the bishop, what does it matter? Never in our human history have we not had natural catastrophes. So does it really matter whether we accept alternate lifestyles? I'm sure we'll be punished for having pets or something else as ridiculous instead.

The new age of ignorance

Given that science informs so much of our culture, and so many of us have such patchy knowledge, it is surprising that such embarrassments are not routine. It's half a century since CP Snow put forward the idea of the 'Two Cultures', the intractable divide between the sciences and the humanities, first in an article in the New Statesman, then in a lecture series at Cambridge and finally in a book. Back then, Snow, who was both a novelist and a physicist, used to employ a test at dinner parties to demonstrate his argument.

'A good many times,' he suggested, '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 at the illiteracy 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 ever read a work of Shakespeare's?'

It doesn't sound so new, but it does embarrass me to realize there are many concepts I should know well that I couldn't explain properly.

(via onegoodmove)

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1 comments: to “ Two articles

  • glomgold
    Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at 7:21:00 PM CDT  

    But thermodynamics is just no fun! This is an odd coincidence actually because I was just bringing up the laws of thermodynamics (specifically the 2nd law) in a conversation I was having with friends the other day.


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