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The Sciences

Bloggingheads Diavlog with D. Graham Burnett on the Two Cultures

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyApril 25, 2009 5:22 PM

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Apologies for not keeping up on my C.P. Snow posts as I intended, but perhaps I've done one better: I cornered my Princeton prof, D. Graham Burnett, to do a bloggingheads session about the historical and contemporary meaning of C.P. Snow, in anticipation of the New York conference. And I think it went off quite well: Burnett really kicks ass in a couple of moments: For instance, where he shows that both C.P. Snow and F.R. Leavis were kind of clueless about the very real impact of science on the literary work of someone like Joseph Conrad, who totally grokked the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Other topics that come up in the diavlog: What is the history of science and its origins as a field; why do we tell so many cliched stories about the development of knowledge, and the smiting by science of superstition, when the actual history is always more rich, interesting, and complex; and how can we mobilize history of science knowledge in the present moment to weigh in on the global warming or evolution debates. So, enjoy.

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