Are Scientific Truths Better Than Other Truths?
Adam Frank: What about the truths expressed by poetry or dance or theater? What about truths discovered in history or philosophy? Are they simply lesser versions of the truth? Are they nothing more than mere opinion? Does whatever veracity they hold really boil down to “harder,” more scientific truths about evolutionary psychology and then biology and then particle physics? This is the kind of question I saw addressed at a remarkable gathering this weekend. It was held at Dartmouth College in honor of the Center for Cross Disciplinary Engagement (ICE). ICE is the brainchild of 13.7’s own Marcelo Gleiser. Supported by both Dartmouth and the Templeton Foundation, its purpose is to transform “the dialogue between the sciences and the humanities in academia and in the public sphere in order to explore fundamental questions where a cross-disciplinary exchange is essential.” For two days, an intimate gathering of scientists, philosophers, writers, faculty, and students asked hard questions about where truths arise and where they might co-exist.