THE OPTIMISM OF REASON [L'OTTIMISMO DELLA RAGIONE]

[ Sun. Feb. 20. 2011 ]

 

[Google Translation:] ...In Milan on Tuesday, Matt Ridley will inaugurate an exhibition on art and science, a combination that is also a good strategy to try to overcome the old division between the "two cultures", the scientific and the humanistic. "The science is, from my point of view, one of the arts. The creation of knowledge through research that takes place is able to generate some of the most beautiful things, moving and fascinating: the theory of natural selection, the double helix of DNA; relativity. For me a great scientific idea is as exciting as it is a great work of literature or music. Science is not mere cataloging of facts: it is an exploration of what we know and the mystery that is inherent. Yes, I think it is vital to overcome the division between art and science. Both are part of the culture. "

Edge.org the founder of the New York literary agent John Brockman (who also is the author of What Are Your Optimistic About?), in this context refers to a "third culture".Brought together under this sign authors of scientific texts, such as Dawkins, Greene, Pinker, Dyson and many others, who know their views, interesting and deep, directly addressing a very wide audience, fueling debates that do not stop in the narrow circle of scientists, but are able to engage a non-specialist. Matt Ridley, of course, is one of them.

"I'm very lucky — says Ridley. That people want to read my books means that I can be paid time and energy spent in the exploration of ideas and scientific discoveries!I'm just a writer — not a real scientist — but good writing is useful for transferring ideas into life. Richard Dawkins makes him so extraordinary. It changed a whole field of science, that of evolutionary biology, giving it a perspective from the viewpoint of the gene. Dawkins has a talent for understanding what people do not know, and then nell'esporlo and explain it to everyone. Which is rare among scientists, who often fail to enter the mind of man of the street. "

Knowing full well that in Italy — but not only — there are many educated people who even hate science, Ridley I ask what are the best strategies for providing the people the perception that science is an integral part of culture. The answer is very laconic: "Give good science!"

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