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We all need an integrated education. The two sides have a lot to learn from each other. For those of us in the humanities faction, there is so much now that is exciting and challenging about the biological sciences particularly, and much that could reinvigorate our understanding of human nature, which is integral to the study of the creative arts. We liberal-arts-know-nothings need a good workout with maths and physics to discover what true intellectual difficulty is like. For their part, scientists need to draw on the fabulous and beautiful heritage of the arts—what has been imagined about our condition over the centuries is a vital resource. Also, science needs to cultivate and honour its own scientific literary tradition; from Leonardo and Francis Bacon to E. O. Wilson and Steven Weinberg, scientists have written exquisitely about the world we share. Also, young scientists need to learn how to communicate clearly, and studying an essay-based subject like history or English would be a vital training in ordering and articulating ideas.

In an interview with the Harry Ransom Center, which has just acquired his literary archive, Ian McEwan reminds us why science and the humanities need each other – something Dorion Sagan, Carl’s son, has also articulated beautifully

Also see E.O. Wilson himself on reconciling science and the humanities

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