Thursday, January 06, 2005

World Question Center

"What Do You Believe Is True Even Though You Cannot Prove It?" That is the question asked of "third culture scientists and science-minded thinkers" on the World Question Center site. But before we get to any of that, I stumbled and fell face first in "third culture scientists." "Whab dub fub eab thab?" I asked while rubbing a bruised nose. The site answers the mysterious question with an even more mysterious answer that got me thinking that maybe these guys were smoking something way past its expiry date. Their answer:
"The third culture consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are."
I was prepared this time, and didn't stumble, but a great big, "Huh?" did pop up in a bubble above my head. So I read on. And I loved it. Basically, these guys think that your average intellectual, educated in the humanities, are really just plain dumb fucks -- hacks at best -- who would have gotten a lot more out of their education if they had join the college jocks and got pissed for four years. It also drives a hard smack at the face of most conservatives, who themselves consider themselves to be traditional intellectuals, but are really wearing no clothes and haven't capacity to notice their irrelevancy. Glad I read that tidbit. But back to topic.

Apparently, every year, the World Question Center asks a question -- one that you would think is profound, as a question is only asked once a year -- and they then solicit answers from some selected brainiacs -- no, no, not the intellectuals -- those third culture people! They got back some interesting, maybe profound -- and at the very least, some interesting answers. In truth, I haven't read all the answers yet -- some of the answers need time for some serious thinking. Maybe even an unhealthy conversation or two at the office water cooler or lunch congregation.

Since I don't have the time just at this moment for some serious thinking, I thought, what would my answer be to this question. Startlingly, I did have an answer -- unfortunately, it's not suitable for publishing, printing, telling, or ever communicating -- so I won't. It's too bad that the Edge Foundation doesn't provide the facility to allow you and I to answer that question at the World Question Center. I am interested however in your answer -- so, take a stab at it. Click on the question below, and post your answer to my site. [Thanks for the link Darren!]

1 comment:

  1. I don't think either scientific knowledge or humanities based knowledge are superior to one another. They are different forms of acquiring knowledge, and are accordingly equally important. I think it's important to have a borader base of knowledge: a scientist should have a background in humanities, and a humanist should have a background in science. They are not mutually exclusive.


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