A Colby Community Web Site

Tag: culture


Being a part of a group or clique is something most people experience throughout their lives. These groups can be determined by many things, such as sports team, academic interests, social interests, and mutual hobbies. But to what extent do these groups become exclusive and look intimidating from the outside?  Continue reading

The Two Cultures

If I were to give a lecture on the problems within education, I would elaborate on the following remarks:

Problems within our society arise when one is unable to accept the cultural differences of another, and these prejudices become instilled in us at a very young age. However, this issue may be mended if the American education system makes some changes.

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Importance of Scientific Knowledge

Scientific knowledge often contributes to what defines the very culture we have. Society is reliant on the fundamental ideals of scientific knowledge on a consistent basis. Scientific knowledge is apart of culture, but deserves to be recognized with significance considering its’ influence on our daily lifestyles. C.P. Snow discussed the separation and disparity that emerged between literary intellects and scientists during the mid 20th century in his piece, The Two Cultures. And although Snow has several valid arguments, the highest ends of literary and scientific knowledge coexist on a daily basis. Whether in the workplace, at school, or in your own home, society functions because of our ability to understand scientific knowledge, and incorporate those understandings into the cultural lifestyles that we live.

Many of the actions performed by human beings on a regular basis can be attributed to advanced scientific knowledge when we do not even realize it. The smallest of discoveries can have enormous impacts. For example, the fact that two hydrogen atoms combined with one oxygen atom formed to make H2O, or water. This basic principle has been understood for decades and has, and will continue to, play a role in every person’s daily life. I do not sit on the third floor of Miller Library and think to myself, ‘Wow. All of this: the architecture, the energy sources, my materials, etc., they were all made possible because of scientific discoveries’. Our society evolves into fluid cycles where cultures change and adapt only with the latest scientific advancement. The argument is no stronger than it is today: cultures are fully defined and limited to the capabilities of their scientific knowledge and discoveries. Because of this reason, it it my belief that scientific knowledge does deserve a special status in our culture. Whether we recognize it or not, our societies can only go as far as our scientific knowledge allows us too. So long as scientific knowledge continues to grow, our cultures and societies will follow suit and be able to advance simultaneously.

The Two Colby’s

Novelist and Chemist C.P Snow, in his 1959 lecture The Two Cultures, laments the divide between scientists and literary intellectuals. He notes that this breach acts as an obstacle in the way of solving global issues, in part due to the fact that scientists and literary intellectuals alike feel a level of contention towards the other:


“Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?”

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