A recent column in Nature by Daniel Sarewitz, which could have been a welcome meditation on the power of religion to stimulate art which “speaks to the soul”, is marred by overstatement and an inflammatory headline.
Nature’s on-line editor Ananayo Bhattacharya comes to the defense with an article on Discover magazine’s ‘The Crux’ website which is somewhat disturbingly entitled ‘The Limits of Science—and Scientists‘ , but after reading the Sarewitz article and looking over a number of the comments, I have to say that this self-serving defense of a poor editorial decision unfairly misrepresents the positions of most of those who criticized it. Indeed, I have to agree with Chris Chambers that it constitutes an insult to a large part of Nature’s readership.
Coincidentally, an almost simultaneous posting by TRIUMF’s Byron Jennings at ‘quantum Diaries’ continues the “two cultures” discussion that was taken up there a couple of months ago by Jordan Pitcher. Although I expressed some disagreement with the simple dichotomy identified by Jordan with regard to types of people I am inclined to accept the complementary of aesthetic and empirical ways of thinking (and don’t think I have ever seen Hume effectively refuted on that)