Arts steps into the ring, hes looking good (fetching outfit) and is dancing around his opponent the much fancied Sciences. Things are looking fine for Arts; hes coming in with a move that can only be described as surreal
Sciences has come back with the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle and Arts doesnt know where he is!
Those of you that know of me know Im a Science doctorate. This should make this subject easy you would think. I dont think so at all.
My main gripe with arts students when it comes to discussions like this is that they always feel like they have to tell you how much bloody work theyre doing. Hmm. Well, you can take the simplistic view and count the lectures. In my first year at university (way back when ) I had 22 hours a week where I was in a lecture theatre, tutorial or a lab. Many of my friends had contact hours that were in single figures. The reply I often got when whinging about the hours they didnt do was well we have to do background reading Im a bit of a swot at heart, I must admit, I got a first but if you think I got it without doing extra reading and research, you are much mistaken. The extra reading and research for science is simply less prescribed.
As I mentioned being a scientist involves practical work. This can actually be quite hard work in itself. Our University kept messing around with the timetable but basically it meant at least 6 hours of doing hard-pressed lab work in a week in my first year and whole weeks of labwork in my second year. Doing this for the first time in a University is daunting, its dangerous and tiring. Whats more, even in my first year I was required to write two lab reports a week. From what I can gather, this was as much work as writing an essay for an arts subject. Especially for Physical Chemistry, I found
that I had to do a lot of background work to even write down a few numbers.
At the end of all this, I even had more exams than my friends. It always used to bug me that they had such a wide choice of questions as well and always seemed to know what was coming up on the exam paper.
What of job prospects? I was always assured that science led to a good job. This is not necessarily the case. A lot of very clever people go into Sciences and they are all competing for the same jobs when they finish degrees. Unfortunately the government policy of keeping a strong pound has decimated manufacturing industry in the UK (formerly the major employers of scientists, now most graduates become IT specialists or accountants). The remaining manufacturing businesses know that they can pay scientists a pittance. One company I saw was looking for a PhD graduate in London for £14,000. 6 to 7 years of training for that? Thats not fair.
Equally job prospects from arts degrees can be poor. It greatly depends on the subject. I would think that linguists would be more employed than media studies graduates (and not just cunning ones either) although I could be wrong. I suppose scientists get infuriated by people choosing daft degrees (I dont know, fishing with Madonna studies) and then complaining about not getting a job. I suppose we get bitter because we chose sensible, hard degrees but whats happened to manufacturing industry in this country has wiped out what chances we had.
So what does this all come to? This is after all Arts vs. Sciences. Ive pointed out a few things above which I feel makes reading Sciences hard work. If I were honest with myself though, I would love to have been a chef. I took sciences partly because they are perceived to be harder. Intelligent girls at my school took sciences, it was the done thing. Science always interested me though so it fitted in happily. There was also the chance of a good job at the end (but the less said about that the better.)
I am a passionate believer that everyone should at least have the basics of science knowledge and learn this in school. Science affects our daily lives. People try to manipulate the publics opinion by using scientific methods, which are less than rigorous. I think its important for people to be able to apply a little scientific thinking and be able to work things out for themselves. I say this because when I was talking to a teacher friend recently, he said the government were thinking of removing the requirement for all children to be educated in science up to GCSE (even in the form of a combined single award GCSE.) I hope this doesnt happen. I am less concerned about certain aspects of the arts being taught though as I feel that people are more likely (and more able) to pick these up in later life should they chose to do so.
I think its time for peace between the arts and sciences though. If I did choose a harder degree than my friends then I should call myself a fool rather than putting down people who were far more sensible. The fact is, whether it is through my training or genetic, I have a mind that is suited to science. I dont have an artistic mind, I can draw passably, Ive acted a little and I can cook but those are my few artistic skills. If I did possess real talent in arts, I suppose I would have taken that path. I have to admit I am envious of people that do have talent. Maybe thats where the whole argument starts. The fact is anyone can do science if they work hard enough there is no reason why you couldnt succeed. In the traditional arts, however much work I put into being an Artist specialising in painting for example, I would never be as successful as I am at being a scientist. I think us scientists are just a bit envious of that, so have pity on us next time one of these discussions starts and let us have our brief moment of smugness. You know that well be the ones going home thinking, I wish I was creative
*** Update ***
Well on the pay front, I now work in Production which is a route I never considered I could take with a Science degree but it's one thats highly paid and you get contact with some of the maddest, most honest and lovely people in the world. I would never be considered for the role if I'd taken an Arts degree. Of course there's the downside of shift work but with a PhD, first class degree and now production management experience, there's no industrial job I couldn't do.
The Daily Mail (Saturday February 9th) ran an article concerning the Government's proposal to allow children to drop sciences and languages from their studies at the age of 14. A few days later, a TV news program covered the same issue, only it was very noticeable that there was no mention at all about the dropping of sciences.....just languages. Technology in this country is once again being smacked in the face by a government that could not care a fig about science, engineering and technical progress. It is already very difficult to recruit suitably- qualified people into the sciences; why on earth is this government making it even harder, by giving free rein to children to opt out of what is often seen as a "hard" subject? Although science does not form part of the compulsory sector in O level studies, it is clear that many children, even those with some interest in science, will duck out and go for those options that are often regarded as easier. Without children qualifying at O and A levels in the sciences, it is inevitable that university degree courses will be severely affected, perhaps with a complete collapse in science degrees on offer, altogether. The child who does genuinely want a science career may be forced to leave the UK completely, in order to study for what he or she wants. There is a "thing" in this country about qualifications; people feeling that exams are not important anymore, and that everyone ought to be able to get a job without having to do too much study. "Why should we have to force ourselves through studies, we just want the money at the end of the day". Witness the hordes of students all trying to sign up at university for degree courses in art history and similar soft options. Let us be truthful, not many of them really want to work, it's just for the "status" of having a degree. This is not to say that art history isn't a
valuable subject, but only to those whose chosen careers can genuinely make use of it. We have, for decades, resolutely fed new blood into a stuffy, boring nation of shopkeepers, lawyers and bank managers. Scientists are seen as laughable third-rate citizens, often receiving salaries to match (unlike in the U.S, where science, medicine and engineering are highly regarded). Britain clearly wants no part in technical progress and Tony Blair is opening the doors ever wider for the country to continue it's production line of pin-stripe suits. Administration types like to think that they are oh-so important, and that without them the country will grind to a halt. I doubt whether the next exciting episode of Man's journey to Mars will be planned out and calculated by suitably qualified people in a solicitor's office.
Well I feel better placed then most to answer this. My mother is a conceptual artist, but yet I am training to be an engineer. Personally I think that art can be wonderful it can be very emotive. A world without art would be a very boring place indeed. Though we may consider most art to be hanging in such galleries as the Satchi or Tate Modern and for it to consist of dead sharks or elephant poo. Thats just a misconception in truth as Andy Warhol showed art has penetrated every facet of society. Many people would never think of the art that is involved in a supermarket but in fact everywhere you would care to look there is glorious design covering every package and container on the shelves. In fact as you look at this now you will have icons all over your window this is all art. As degrees go science would tend to be the more respected route. For one the job prospects are far greater at the end of it and your much less likely to become a burden on society. This point of view has its merits but I am happy to support artists as they make this world beautiful. However art degrees are pretentious and alot of them fail to develop the talent that they are given. As a scientist I can honestly say that I prefer science it appeals to my how things work mentality. As a child I was always actively destroying my toys as a way of finding out how things worked. This is why science appealed to me, it allows me to find out how things work and to build them hopefully. But science no matter how hard it tries will never uncover the full intricacies of the brain as they are far from understood. This is where art plays a role its able to stimulate the brain and evoke feelings that can't be explained by science. So I put it to you that both forms of degrees are equally valid but saying that its all down to the type of person involved as to whether you will actually enjoy it.
The funniest story of the week has to be of the young asylum seeker cleaner at The Tate gallery who cleaned up more rubbish than he was supposed to. One such item was a supposedly work of art from one of these pretencious “Cool Britiana” modern art dicks that can sell crap to anyone stupid enough trying to be important. The young Nigerian saw the messy ensemble of items around a table and quite rightly bunged them in a black bin bag. The next morning the ar-tist arrived to discover that his prized work was in the bin where we all know it belongs. Mr Masare was non-plussed at the b****g he got when he thought he was doing a good job. But his lack of education was obviously responsible for not spotting that it was indeed a great work of art and not a pile of crap. Fortunately the young Nigerian wasn’t sacked for his keenness and the brilliant artist managed to assemble the masterpiece of rubbish and lifestyle exactly as before. We turn on the news today and we have an old Japanese guy tipping paint of a step ladder will nilly to the canvas below. The crowd sniggered and posed at his amazing skills in one of the other Tate rooms as he iridescent show obliterated the white canvas. My point is that as art is in the eye of the beholder then how can you learn it at college. Clearly textile design and things of that ilk are taught and not natural talent. You’re artistic or your not. But you can study 48 course of art related degrees in New University England with the unwanted statistic that they are the least likely graduates to be employed a year after leaving. %12 are on the dole with a further eighteen- percent regurgitated back into further study and the buzz of uni. Sociology graduates are of course second. Law is the lowest by the way with only five percent out of work twelve months later. Its pretty clear that if you are dim and your parents are middle class then you can expect they wil
l let you study art regardless of your skill. Its important that Sofia and Jemima get of to college like everyone else to keep face and kudos. The royal family has the same problem with Prince William who is not the brightest according his A-Level results available on the internet. The dashing prince has been packed off to the secluded elite St Andrews University to study the notoriously unerudite History of Art, well grannies on most of the paintings so it should help. Theres a story going around that Geoffrey Archer was offered the chance to take a basic literacy (have you read his books) course in prison to pass the time. Or a degree in Medieval studies, equally relevant to the disgraced serial liar and not likely to get him a job either. The introduction of subjects like the extended arts courses has resulted in good students drifting away from classic A-Levels and degrees. Guys are four times more likely to take Physics than girls who opted for more femine pursuits. Biology is closing the gap but women still steer clear of the sciences on the whole. This forces girls to look at other options with the three-year social degree with the university homosexual’s population taking the rest. Arts is a cop out at college and really shouldn’t be so prominent in current university prospectus. Most modern new unis give the students more than ample help to pass the courses so they can secure more funding. I think students who want a three-year piss up should be made to work in a menial job for a year Then would they go into a long course with ten grand and little chance of a high paid job at the end of it. So come on girls and nice boys, with your colored hair and cool swagger and clear glasses, lets see if we can pick a more epidemic subject as we swig from the Evian.don’t forget the Radiohead CDs, yes you are all a naff cliché.Look at three pence a hit I have to be more controversial now OK!. If
you don’t make mistakes, then your not working on hard enough problems, which is the biggest mist
I know from experience how frustrating it is for arts students when it comes to getting a job, especially when people with science based studies seem not to have any problem. Anyone studying the arts typically gets the hippy layabout image while the scientist gets the strict study-hard image. I, and many like me find this very frustrating as both of the subjects are of equal difficulty, but in different areas. Arts students have to work every bit as hard as the science based ones, yet never seem to get the credit or jobs that they require. I knew a woman once when I was in college that was having to go back to college after getting a good pass for an Art degree as she couldnt get a job with it as an Art degree was not seen by employers as having any value! I think that is rediculous. I studied Art both in school and college as it was a subject I was good at, but I knew that I would never get a job in, so I had to change to a different subject. Only the creme de la creme get jobs doing art, which leaves the good without jobs and without prospects, even if they have a degree. There is, I think, not such a harsh road for the scientist, although they work just as hard as the artist. I ended up studing a subject that was both Arts and Science based: Archaeology, as I knew that I would have little chance of getting a job doing art. For many people who are not science minded, and their forte is art and crafts this type of degree is possibly the answer. It combines enough of both subject to be interesting and challenging, while getting the best of both worlds. The only problem I had with this was that if you want to get a job in the Archaeology area (see my other review) you really need to specialise further. With regards to getting any good job, these type of degrees are great, as they have multitudes of transferable skills (employers love those) and will aid you in getting the job you want. In conclusion I woul
d say that in my opinion the war between the arts and science is an unfair one, but I really dont see it changing in the future, especially with art being taken over more and more by computers. Seek instead to find a happy compromise, like myself, and settle with something between the two. Please write and tell me your opinion on the subject.
There's always a lot of debate between arts and science students about which subject is harder, I generally take the average waffle of the defensive student as a sure sign that they haven't had an independent thought in their life.....but having done both an arts degree and a science degree I can truly say that , in my experience one set of exams isn't easier than the other, just different . To be fair, it's probably easier to pass an Arts exam as you can waffle a bit and will gain some credit, whereupon if you know nothing at a science exam you will not pick up any marks at all . There is also the argument that arts students have few lectures which is true, you have much less structured hours, but your lecture notes are purely a starting point, writing essays or sitting exams based only on information given in lectures will not give you a pass mark. You must know much more. Granted that the average arts student isn't going to spend their entire week in the library- but when I recall the amount of reading I did - it evens up the time spent in general academic pursuits. When I followed up the Politics degree with a Computing Science Masters, I found the amount of time in lectures astounding, but I didn't have to go off and search obscure manuals for information. It was all there in the lecture notes - any more just meant massive brownie points. So you are a lot more confident that you know all the information. It's easier to do well in Science exams and assignments as answers can be completely correct, so realistically you may come out with 100%, not so in Arts, it's much harder to do well. It means that if your course is part assessed by assignments you can go into an examination knowing that you already have 30% of the final mark. That helps a lot. Also, in an Arts exam you have to think and argue your case, where I found in the science exam a lot of the time I just splurged on the paper and passed. I
'd rather sit Science than Arts exams, I had a lot to do, but less actual information to learn than the wide ranging arts subjects where I had reams of stuff to analyse. But when it comes down to it, if you have an unexpected question, or you don't do your revision you have a much better chance of getting through in Art's than in Science. Another pointer is - Science students generally know if they ate right or not. You can hand in an essay wondering if you went off topic, but if your sums add up you are a lot more confident about your mark. Basically it's all swings and roundabouts. You'll find it harder to do well in an Art's Degree, but easier to get a bare pass you'll have less time in a lecture theatre- but you'll learn more for yourself. Scientists have more on their plate - but don't have to look any further than that- and if they understand enough to pass- they'll have a pretty good chance of getting a better degree.
I'd consider myself an art student, i've got the GCSE,A-Level and Foundation course and now i'm starting the degree. But even during my Foundation course there were some students doing other subjects within Art, that didn't consider Graphic Design proper Art.They thought as Graphic designers had no inspiration and were the "jumper and jeans crew" with no originality to dress or think for ourselves.This shows that even within an Art subject people are afraid of bluuring the distinction of subjects. Whether drawing a random line in the middle of a canvas, or creating a piece of structured imaging on the computer, it's still art as it's your interpretation or expression. When applying to university you are bombarded with courses ranging from surfing technology to knitting to institutional banking. Surely there must be some degrees offering a combination of Science and Art, and why shouldn't they? Within what people percieve as the 'Arts' and 'Sciences' there is a huge range of subjects, which means that some must compliment each other.For example with out the 'Sciences' there wouldn't have been the technology of PC's which Graphic designers and those in the media use to create 'Art'.But without the use of 'Art' as communication and expression in the early ages would these ideas have come about in the first place? Rather than seperating the two subjects and dogging them, we should be happy that they have been allowed to mix as it will eventually help us in some way.It all stems from peoples perceptions of what is art? and what is science? Rather than catagorising the subjects we should allow the blur of distinction between them to go ahead as it can only benefit people in the future? Am i the only one who thinks Art and Science can mix?
This is a big question. Before I start, I will categorise myself - I am scientist, and always have been. However, I still try to find the flaws within my own craft (Software), and there are plenty of them. One of the biggest questions with art Vs science is born by the very different nature of each. Anyone who loves science, as I do, finds a great deal of comfort by working between certain boundaries, whatever they may be. It is the testing of these boundaries that give results that we can clearly sense, units of achievement if you will. For instance, whenever I complete a particularly difficult algorithm, whether this is sat in front of the computer, or at home jotting it out on a notepad, I feel an intense pleasure, It is difficult to describe the source of this pleasure, but in psychology it has been noted as a male's version of having a baby. The intense satisfaction of personal achievement is so great that often, spurred on by my success, I will work long into the late hours on harder and harder problems until I collapse. This has happened recently, for example, as I just completed my Final Year Project, and having put that extra effort in and gained a good mark for it, felt my ever-greatest sense of personal achievement. It is also true, however, that whenever I am troubled by a particular problem, that if I put it off and continue some other day, I am less inclined to work on it, until I abandon the project altogether, or restart. However, it is the work itself that projects the sense of achievement, and not the content, which I can come up with at any time. I can only speculate because I am a scientist, that the sense of achievement from, say, completing a poem, is less defined. Certainly, whenever I attempted to express myself in school, I was almost always undecided about the value of the piece, and was more involved with the actual content than the expression that I have made. I was no less worried about what other people would think
of my work as a Scientist than as an Artist - I had the same concerns. I have in fact participated in Drama in University as an outlet to express myself, but often I find my attitude to the pieces different to the attitudes of others, which do drama because they are Artists. Another medium I enjoy when expressing myself is the medium of dance, and I mean on dancefloors and getting drunk etc. I get drunk when I go out as an excuse to dance, which I have to say I thoroughly enjoy. And so I can boogie the night away without worry of criticism. It is this fear of criticism that I originally decided unconsciously to become a Scientist instead of an Artist. What does bother me, though, is the attitude between Scientists and Artists. I understand that my view will be biased towards Scientists, but it is scientific methodologies that make many of the functions of modern day to day living possible. My perception of Art is that sometimes it can be very fickle, for instance, if an Pop Artist is particularly successful with a song, it is more likely that their next piece of music be more readily accepted, whereas if it is bad, the artist will struggle to be convincing. Yet, you may ask, this doesn't cover one hit wonders, does it? My own perception of this is that when an artist produces a particularly catchy and successful hit as their first production, this then becomes the public perception baseline on which the consecutive hits will be measured. Kung Fu fighting, anyone? I also have a problem with people who have tasted a little Science, decided that they don't like it, because they are Artists, and have decided that in future, Science should be left to the people of the "lower" end of the intellectual spectrum. The main perception of these people seem to be that because Science is often such an exact subject, that the people who study it are not capable of comprehending the bigger picture, and while this is sometimes true, it is often the Sc
ientists who have the deepest understanding of the problem that are the ones who are capable of stepping back and seeing the big picture because they already know the detail at each level. I am not saying that Artists can't see the bigger picture because they don't know all of the detail, I am simply saying that you need the right level of abstraction to see the picture. In both directions, to be really excellent at the subject, you need real dedication to become an expert, and learn with both eyes open. I am a Software Engineer, which to non-computer people boils down to a programmer. Yes, indeed, I am an excellent programmer, and have a detailed knowledge of Java. I have a friend who therefore believes that all I have learnt in my three-year university degree is how to program in Java. However, as anyone who is a Software Engineer/IT Specialist will know, systems can be implemented in any language, as long as they meet the specification required, and so it might not be Java that the system is implemented in, it could be Ada, C++ or SmallTalk. This doesn't reduce my skills, just because I can only program in Java! The analysis, specification, design, testing and maintenance levels of a Software Engineer are just as important as the actual programming - and so Software Engineers have to see the bigger picture - of the whole system. This is how Sun produced Java to be so flexible/extendable, by working to the bigger picture. My main problem is that I have spent so long working towards becoming a top-class software engineer and working with such low-level details, it becomes harder for me to abstract away all of that detail to produce a decent argument about something so broad such as politics. It seems then, that Artists must come to turn with the fact that Scientists, often working on incredibly difficult concepts to follow, often focus all of their efforts towards a single problem that in fact their entire perception changes, and it becomes
harder to break away from it. Indeed, the art of "being a geek" actually does have a psychological cubby-hole, where the human involved becomes so used to the intense and staccato for of interaction with computers that in fact finds it difficult to break away and uses it subconsciously to communicate with other human beings, becoming frustrated with the inexact form of normal conversation. We Scientists have a place in the world, and have to work hard for it - where do you think everything around us came from? On the other hand, we Scientists have give Artists and indeed ourselves a break - a little humility never hurt anyone, and it is far healthier to get out of the lab and do something else, so that when we go back into the lab we can concentrate. The main problem with the view of the Artist from the Scientists view (I don't speak for all Scientists, before any of you complain) is that Artists don't appear Useful. Because we measure everything in such unitary amounts, it becomes difficult to challenge the fact that we are indeed working within a very blinkered view, and that life is not exact - we wish it were, but its not. Artists work with as many concepts as we do, and that just because they don't seem as low level, does not mean that they have not purpose. We don't program in Binary, do we? If we did, would we dismiss higher level programming languages as inexact? No - because higher level languages were produced to make the whole Software Lifecycle easier and life is short. It is important that Scientists understand that they need to take out the time to try out different things before the humdrum of everyday life turns us into the little old man who grumbles in the shop cafe corner. To both alignments... understand that the other has the right to exist, and that without the other, the world would be a very dull place indeed. Acknowledge also that in fact both are facets of human nature, but that both have to be gua
rded and brought into balance - the neurosis of Art with the inflexibility of Science. This is just my personal opinion. If anyone has any comments, I would be pleased to discuss them, but note that I promote a healthy attitude towards both human agendas.
The main underlying answer we are still, to this day, trying to work out, as to whether sciences or the arts are better will never be found. This is becuase there is no answer. Unlike the fact that there is a right and a wrong way of doing things on this Earth. There is no "better" subject. Whether the reason is behind that fact that there genuinely is *no* answer. Or simply the fact that, no matter how strong one person's views are, there is always going to be someone equally strong minded - but supporting the other subject. Personally im on the science side of this argument. However this does not automatically mean I think science is better. In my opinion, science *is* better - but im not talking universally here, I mean, personally I prefer the science subjects to the arts. Thats just me though. Lets look on the matter logically. This world would be an entirely different place if the sciences *and* the arts werent around. Science: Science is basically bringing together all known laws, whether it be quantitatively or qualitatively. Lets now probe deeper into the science subjects: Physics: This is bascially the fundamental science, covering all quantitative laws of nature, trying to bring them together with complicated mathematics. Study of energy, fluid flow, electricity, sound, light....you name it, physics has been there, done it, got the t-shirt! Chemistry: This is the study of the atom. Whether it be in its elemental state, a molecule, a single electron. Chemistry is the other physical science that probes nature and tries to understand it quantitatively. Biology: The study of living things, whether they be of the plant or the animal variety. Brings together laws, generally of the qualitative format. You can then probe further again: Quantum physics: the study of, well basically, the study of particals, the way they react wi
th the world around them. Quantum physics has to be one of those mind-boggling subjects. One simple question would be: "How can a partical be in position A and position B at *exactly* the same time?" Something out of DrWho or Star Trek for you there, but it exists. If it wasnt for science we'd be lost. We truly would be lost. We simply couldnt exist for very long. And if we were to *exist* it would be in the simplist of forms. There is no end to how far you can probe with science....after all I could go on and on...for example you can probe further in quantum mechanics....*very* complicated maths then! There have been countless Scientists throughout the ages making vital discoveries to aid our understanding of life on earth, in the milky way, in Andromeda, infact....thoughout the Universe as a whole...and beyond even, into the next paradox we come! What may seem like Science fiction to the non-scientists among us, is, or at least can be, science fact. Some discoveries would have really hindered our development, some to the non-scientists wouldnt think much about them. For example where would we be if Boyle's Law had never been discovered?! 1 simple equation, but extremely vital really! So maybe arts dont play that much of a vital role in society? Well even though, like I said, im on the science side of the coin here, I still believe that arts play a vital role in society - just like science does. Neither one nor the other is *more* important than the other - *as a whole* that is. After all some parts of science are far more important that a piece of art or literature. If some parts of science were not yet discovered then there would be no paper for Shakespeare to write upon, or no paint for the artists. However *as a whole* neither one nor the other is *more* important. They're both important in their own ways. After al
l Shakespeare is, apparantly one of the best writers to have lived. So where would we be without Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet...to name but a few! (Or rather where would SATs and GCSE students be without them books!) Generally this argument, or rather, discussion can neve be *won* - there is no correct answer. It basically boils down to personal opinions. Society as a whole finds a use for both the arts and the sciences. We need good actors to play roles on the TV, we need the scientists to come up with new advances in technology to make the TV an even better piece of equipment (can it get any better?!?!) There is a vital place in this world for both artist and scientist alike. Neither the arts students should be reffered to as "poncy" or scientists as "geeks". The amount of times ive been called a "geek", purely becuase im doing A-level Physics, Chemistry and Biology, and basically want to devote my life to Science has been uncountable! I think we should all learn to respect other peoples opinions much further than we do currently.
Imagine a world with no music, no TV, no nice clothes, no nice house furnishings, no good books. Where would we be? Its a harsh reality that life as we know it just wouldn't exist if there was ONLY Sciences or ONLY Arts. Lets just think about it: Music. Now, I'm a musician its classed in the arts, and yes a lot of it is down to personal interpretation. Musicians however, still need to learn about the Theory of music, and about the History (and how many scientist can tell you how music developed through the ages). It takes a great deal of hard work to achieve qualifications as a musician. However, I have to read the music from books, which have been printed on machines that were invented, and are maintained, by people in the sciences. Even our favourite pop stars need to use the sciences to perform on electric keyboards, guitars and synthizers. TV/Film. Yes, one of this nations favourite pastimes needs a combinations of both the arts and sciences. You need that 'artists' to perform, design costumes, sets and write the music. The 'scientists' are required to make the cameras and editing equipment, and to operate it. Hmmm, special effects are created by both artists and scientist with the use of modern techonolgy. Home furnishings. Now, look around your house, imagine no furniture, no decorations, no pictures on the walls - or do pictures come under a different catergory? The chair you sit on as you read this opinion was designed by an 'artist' but made using the 'sciences'. The sofa, bed, and tables which do they come under?? Wait, you're getting bored aren't you? Going to make a coffee? The mug you're going to use, does it have a picture or pattern on it? Quite possibly it does, that required someone artistic to put their ideas from their mind on to paper, so it could be transferred the mug using scientific techniques. Moving swiftly on, so as not to bore you. Books. Ho
w many of us like to settle down in the evening to a good book, or magazine? That book was quite possibly written by someone who never even went to University. They may have never had a qualification in the 'arts' or 'sciences'. But what if they did? Would that affect the way they write? Do you understand the book you're reading anymore because you've studied English Lit at Uni? Or does that just spoil our enjoyment of the basic 'artistic' storyline? Whatever, your view on this matter that book or magazine had to be published, probably using a computer and many other scientific objects, operated by people who work in the sciences. Lets be honest, neither the arts nor the sciences are any less important to us in our day to day life. Why try and decided which is 'better'? After all, if they weren't both used in modern soceity what boring lifes we would lead.
Arts degrees, not worth the paper they are written on? What alot of tosh. You see - there are arts degrees and arts degrees... Let me tell you about my weekend - I have just graduated with my master of arts. A hard earned degree, I think you will agree, when I tell you my tale of how an MA can't fail... Nearly seven years ago, I turned up at Kings College, Cambridge, a wee young thing, impressionable, and niave. We were shown around college, and shown the beautiful lawns. However, being mere human beings, we were not allowed to walk on the grass. Only Senior Members were allowed on the grass. Sprint forward to 1997, when I graduated, with a 2.1 BA in Natural Sciences. You see, Cambridge, being an antiquated institution, gives BA degrees to everyone (well, not to them that fail, obviously!) - but you get a BA in Maths, Computer Science, Engineering, and all the other sciences. An example of a Very Useful arts degree! Now, I was so horribly hung over when I graduated (free wine from college the night before!), that I remembered very little of the ceremony. Sprint forward again, to last weekend. Now you may not be aware that Cambridge gives out MAs three years after your BA, if you manage to stay out of prison (obviously a trial for some!). This time I was sober... MY GOD. What an antequated place Cambridge really is. You see - the whole ceremony is in latin. Really. You go forward (dressed in the daftest gown ever), hold someones finger while they say sommat in latin, kneel down in front of some other bloke - he holds your hand and say sommat else, and then you leave, a Master of Arts. But more importantly...you become a Senior Member of college. This is incredibly important, as it means (cue drumroll...) that you can WALK ON THE GRASS!!! So as you see - even the most useless of Cambridge Degrees (MAs are preetty useless if you ask me!) has some function. And thi
s is the moral of this opinion - everything is worth something to someone. While arts may not be as functional, or even as vocationally relevant, they still have value. I dread the day when we only read, learn about, or are interested in things which are functional. And afterall...someone has to work in McDonalds!!!
The question of what constitutes, and how to do 'science' has been subject to lengthy argument and debate ~ such is the reverence that is afforded to all science disciplines. It is science not the arts that holds the prestigeous centre stage position in today's academic and professional circles, but should that be the decisive actor on which course you should opt for? Science is built on general laws and explanation it is concerned with cause and effect by the adoption of an objective approach which is clear and operationalized -the research undertaken needs to be replicable and is usually empirical with no input or value judgements from the researcher or any other influencial factors which cannot be quantified. Arts, in contrast is concerned with the qualitative nature of the subject in question, general laws and cause and effect principals are not characteristic of the arts instead subjectivity, exploration, understanding, characterisation and individual appraisal are the guiding forces to uncover the meaning and differentiation at the core of the arts. Society gives far more credibility to the science degree than the arts, in doing so are students being conveyed a very clear directive that scientific rather than an arts application is best and will benefit students better in terms of job applications and career success? If students are being influenced by this train of thought then will this result in a general demise of the arts as a serious and acceptable further education choice? particularly if the students take on board the addage that it is a waste of time and money (particularly the tax -payers)? and the sciences increase their already favourable stronghold? The underlying message to the student is to concentrate on only what is quantifiable, what can be measured, all matters requirimg objectivity not wasting energy on subjects which fall beyond these boundaries i.e. those concerned with meaning, subjecti
ve interpretation and qualification, if this continues the huge disparity betwixt science and arts will surely have far reaching consequences for education as all. Personally I hold a science degree in psychology, but have a keen interest in the arts particularly art history, I respect both degrees which belong to two quite different approaches to equally important subject domains. Psychology questions the whole argument itself, the degree in the main is based on and requires systematic methodologies within an experimental setting to further psychological knowledge, examples of this are memory, attention, artificial intelligence, problem solving and personal construct theory research experiments. Psychology's subject matter is the person but within this subject reside differing theoretical perspectives and explanations of the person - the behaviourist school will examine behaviour as an observerable and quantifiable matter, being determined environmentally and biologically in contrast to other schools which consider the individual as autonomous,not determined and not open to cause and effect. It is important within this field to consider the different explanations and view points, it is not a question of quantitative = right and qualitiative = wrong, they are both relative and need equal consideraton. Freud himself was seriously concerned with the collection of scientifically rigorous data collection for theory generation and susequent observations.However there is much in psychology that is not concerned with what is directly observerable but concentrates on feelings, thought and motivation etc. The essential difference is a matter of degree (science) to kind (arts) and the two different, but equally important degrees need to be accepted for what they are, without exterior labelling.
Reading some of the opinions about the dichotomy between arts and science, it does indeed prove that degrees don't equal education. The favourite gripe of the science student is that arts students do nothing and contribute nothing to society. And arts students come up with something equally original such as science students are geeks and/or arrogant. Arts students do tend to have a small amount of teaching hours, but that is because they are meant to spend the rest of the time in self directed study. I understand the time we spend in the library (or at home watching neighbours) is spent by the science student in labs doing...self directed work. The familiar argument is that science and technology are extremely useful and provide us with stunning enhancements to life, which of course they do...washing machines, medical care, atomic bombs, cloning and so on. Science has great examples of human knowledge developed without consideration of ethics. On the other hand people see the arts as fuzzy subjects which don't contribute to human existence at all. This rather peversely concentrates on fashion and design (clothes of course being unimportant to the western world), ignoring sociology, literature and all the modern languages. But then we've never thought other languages and cultures were particularly important. I don't think the problem lies with science or arts in themselves, but with our perceptions of them. People seem to think science = truth and that sociology and arts are fuzzy and rather inexact. They never consider that all branches of human knowledge are vague and sometimes inaccurate. Although I find this whole debate intensely irritating. I do think there are things that sciences and arts could learn from each other, rather than criticising each other. It's all so junior school! For example maybe science could think about their ethical impacts on people. It might have been u
seful in the whole GM and cloning debates to consider what issues were raised rather than racing ahead with technology. And the arts (especially sociology) could think about how they could have positive impacts for people, rather than abstracting their debates continually to the world of theory and therefore only to students extensive reading lists.
Arts degree? Not worth the paper it's printed on mate. Bloody poncey students wearing stupid clothes and making stupid pictures out of elephant crap that nobody can understand. Just a second. Did you ever stop to think maybe it's you who's stupid..? As an ex student of Contemporary Arts, I can truthfully say that arts courses have the *potential* to be unfulfilling, pretentious, and a waste of time and brainspace. HOWEVER, this does not mean that arts qualifications are any less valid than science-based ones. If I had to tick a box - am I arts or sciences? - I would put a firm tick in arts. But I hated every second I was studying them. I think this was largely due to the broad scope of my degree course, which necessitated taking part in ludicrous and futile 'performance pieces' - when what I actually wanted to learn was digital photography and writing. But in general, to my mind, the arts are what makes the world go round. I like beautiful and creative things, and have no idea how a catalytic converter works (and have no desire to). Arts develop the individual, and technology keeps society moving as a whole. In the real world of course, arts and science have to co-exist. Behind every new product that is developed, there is a technical AND aesthetic designer. One cannot survive without the other. But in terms of academia, maybe it's naive to assume that the arts can be taught at all. I'm not convinced they can - or at least, not graded by a tutor. All art forms, from music to fashion to saucer-making, are about personal expression. Sounds obvious really, but how is one person's piece of self-expression worth more or less than another's? In study terms though, this can be an excuse for slackness. The nature of my own course meant that a lot of students really pushed the bullsh*t boundaries - and got away with it, consistently submitting one-word poems, or a canvas with a single black li
ne in the centre, and still passing the year. It's disheartening really because there are some people who genuinely want to study an aspect of the arts and make a career of it, but the estimated value of their qualification is being lowered by students who take art or media or whatever as a 'soft' option. A soft option is one thing that I did NOT find an arts degree to be (well if you're serious about it anyway). The time involved in the work is extensive, but the product is often very hard for the general public to appreciate. If someone has studied biochemistry and discovers a cure for something, there is concrete evidence of their success. If someone produces a short film about racial tension in an inner city, and it has a huge impact on its audience, the effect is still invisible and immeasurable. I think this is a large part of the problem - coupled with the fact that the British population as a whole is not terribly bright, and has little willingness to understand modern (or any other kind of) art, theatre etc. The pretension aspect is the main area in which I struggle to find an argument in favour of the arts. Arts degrees ARE pretentious. Arts students ARE, very often, completely self-absorbed and blinkered (sometimes out of necessity to produce good work, but sometimes just because they're a bit moronic). But by that cliche, science students often ARE very dull individuals. Stereotypes are born in truth and when it comes down to it, you have artists who are groovy and artists who are twits (I'm trying really hard not to curse here). Ditto with doctors or engineers. I think basically what I'm trying to say is (to use another cliche), one man's meat is another man's poison. You can't slate 'arts' or 'sciences' subjects as whole groups because it is a matter of preference and inclination. In the same way that, um, some people don't like Marmite, and you'll never convince
them that it's nice really. See?
When I saw this category on Dooyoo I knew I had to have my say, infact I was debating this topic with my friends relatively recently. I love science, be it physics, chemistry, maths, anything scientific; I love it. I could quite easily write 1000 words on why I think science is best, but that would achieve nothing. Everyone reading this will have already made their mind up, so everyone would either agree or disagree with me. I don't what I plan to write, but I have a blank page to fill so lets see what comes out of my head. First of all, what is meant by the sciences and the arts? At university this is clear because most subjects fall in to one category or the other, so the degree title usually has the words art or science in it. Sciences are generally considered to be physics, biology and chemistry, as well as maths and computing. Lots of other things fall in to this category, such as psychology and geology. The arts consist of more creative subjects, art, music and drama and subjects such as English. So what is my situation? I am currently doing A-levels, and am part the local school's Sixth Form. I do physics, maths and chemistry A-levels and when I have (hopefully) passed them this summer I hope to go on to do a Physics degree. So you can see straight away I definitely favour the sciences rather than the arts. Why I do not know, it’s just the way I am, but just because I prefer the sciences to the arts it doesn't mean that science is necessarily best. Society seems to see it the other way around. A person well versed in the arts is called cultured, whereas someone with a lot of scientific knowledge is often known as a geek. It’s perfectly acceptable to talk about art, or a book, in public with your friends, but can you imagine the response if someone started talking about differential equations at the dinner table. While the average person may not be an artist nor a scientist, they certainly have m
ore in common with the art side. Even in our sixth form common room, I sit with my group of friends. Many of them do English, and would happily talk blissfully all day about Catcher in the Rye, or why one them was like Lago from a Shakespeare play (OK, I admit, I forgot the name). Should the conversation stray to physics, or computers, we are frowned upon. It is cool to talk about English, but not about science. So the logical answer would be that scientists should talk to scientists, but it doesn't seem to happen like that. If I could mention only one plus point about A-level English I would have to say it would be the people taking it have changed, they have grown in confidence and are much more willing and happy to express themselves. Undoubtedly the people who do science are the quieter people, more shy and introvert. This isn't a bad thing, indeed I am not saying that we science lovers are all loners, far from it, its just we don't seem as happy to express ourselves and our emotions as the people who do the arts. Because of the timetable and the fact that we do the same lessons, at school I tend to hang around with people from my science and maths classes. However, not all of my friends who do science are particularly out going, so when it comes to having fun and going to parties, I see a lot of my arty friends. One time at a party, me and a fellow 'science person' got talking to our 'English people' friends. Under the influence of a little alcohol we decided to question them about this topic, and if I remember correctly we accused them of thinking that they were 'deeper' that us science folk. Both me and my friends agreed that they made us feel inferior when they talk about their books, but I guess at the end of the day we were jealous, because while we long for the culture that they have, we know that they don't long for the scientific knowledge we have. I can't remember their
response (perhaps a little too much alcohol). It is also noticeable that people who go for the arts side of thing don't delve in to what science has to offer. There are a lot of people who do sciences, and then also do English. I guess everyone realises than English is essential whatever career you embark upon, and even though I detested English GCSE I hope my English skills are not too bad (judge for yourself). I guess physics just hasn't got the same appeal for the masses. Please don't think I'm just a guy with a chip on my shoulder, I like science and wouldn't give it up for anything in the world, but I would also like to be able to feel cultured and not be shunned for my love of science. So, back on to the point of this opinion, should you go for the arts or the sciences, and which really is best? To be honest just do whatever you feel is right, its not like choosing what to call your pet, everyone is going to prefer one or the other and nothing will change it. I think it is accepted at university that science courses are in general harder than arts courses, but this is not always the case. Public perception of scientists isn't good with all the anti GM and cloning talk, but then many people moan that we spent millions on a new statue. On the other hand we all love music, and don't complain at all the new electronics scientist’s produce. So what is the real answer, to be honest I don't think there is one. I can tell you to do a science course, but the next opinion will tell you to do arts. Its just one of those things, everyone is different, it’s the way of life. But still, my op wouldn't be complete without at least trying to convince you a little so here goes. Science is easily the best choice, science matters. Art is fun, art is nice, but art is not important at the end of the day (I await complaints on that point). Science inve
nts new medicine to save people, creates new technology to make our day-to-day lives easier. Without science we would have no cars, trains, antibiotics, computers. Without art we would have no Mona Lisa, no statues and no music. Now I love music, but I know which list I would choose to be without. Before I go any further and annoy every artist on dooyoo I'd better stop. Hope you all enjoyed what I had to say, and I hope you aren't too mad with me. At the end of the day do what you want and don't let anyone change your mind. And that’s me all out of things to write!