The Science and Culture Initiative  

Science is one of the many facets of human culture, and is commonly thought to be very different from the others. But there is a unifying thread, because it is possible to conceive of all aspects of culture, from the arts and humanities to the sciences, as ways of explaining things:

  • Scientific explanations are about how things work in the external, physical world.
  • The arts and humanities are about explaining to others the things going on in the internal, mental world of their creators – their feelings, emotions, opinions, and the like. 

This is where they differ:

  • Scientific explanations have to be consistent with the way the world actually is.
  • Other kinds of explanations do not. 
But whether scientific or not, these explanations-become-culture stem from the same place: the inescapably relentless drive to explain that is the signature characteristic of our species.

 

Science and technology are hugely important in today’s world. There is no doubt that people who understand science and the scientific process will be better prepared to make critical science-related decisions affecting society as a whole as well as those affecting their own personal lives. But anyone who embraces scientific thinking – not accepting something just because someone says so but because it is supported by evidence and is consistent with other known things – will make better decisions whether they involve science or not. 

 

The mission of the Science and Culture Initiative is to promote public understanding of science, scientific thinking, and the connections between science and other forms of culture. 
 
Here are some places to visit on the web to see some examples of how science and culture are intertwined: