Why Do the Humanities and the Science People Hate Each Other?
Voxcorvegis who is not only a gifted blogger but also a physicist has written an interesting post on the subject:
I have noted in the past the way that many of my colleagues in undergraduate physics were completely dismissive of the Humanities in general, and would happily have agreed that such disciplines were both useless and entirely unneccessary. Less charitable commentators may have even suggested that the only reason that anyone ever took them at all was because they were too stupid to take any “real” subjects. My own secondary field, history, was considered to be the furthest outpost of academic “seriousness;” beyond this, presumably, there was only a wasteland populated exclusively by heavy-set, multiply-pierced, hippy lesbians who’s fields consisted of writing horrible beat-poetry about their genitals and self-pitying essays in the passive voice*** about the need for a very nebulous revolution.
I also have observed the tension between the Humanities and the Science people at the universities where I have worked. The reason for this tension at these universities is that the people in the Sciences tend to be very conservative politically. Maybe it’s just these specific schools, I don’t know, but the issue is definitely there. Whenever we have a university-wide discussion on politics, academic freedom, the introduction of the business-model into academia, the science folks are always on the side of the most conservative opinions possible.
Science profs also tend to be extremely anti-feminist. Even the female scholars in the sciences seem to have interiorized the anti-women position profoundly. I read the Female Science Prof’s blog and it’s like she is from a different planet. I have not met a single female prof in the Humanities who is even remotely capable of such self-effacement and self-degradation for the sake of pleasing men as this successful academic and a scientist.
It might, of course, be just a coincidence that scientists tend to be so conservative at the schools where I have worked. I know individual scientists who comment on this blog (GMP, V., David Bellamy, Voxcorvegis) who are very progressive people. However, at work, I keep encountering administrators who come from the sciences and who are the vehicle of every oppressive pig-headed pro-bureaucracy anti-reason initiative anybody could ever come up with. I’m a huge admirer of science, which is why this antagonism between the Humanities and the Sciences bothers me a lot.