Re: Power "Idols & Isms" Part II

Robert Owen (
Wed, 24 Nov 1999 22:02:46 -0500

REFERENCE: Subject: Re: power: Idol broke the silence - new isms ahead.

        Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 20:44:00 -0500
        From: Robert Owen <

~ Beauty, Charm, and Strangeness: Science as Metaphor ~

                                by John Banville

I wish to advance a thesis which, were they to take note of it, the academies would decry as scandalous. My thesis is that modern science, particularly physics, is being forced, under pressure of its own advances, to acknowledge that the truths it offers are true not in an absolute but in a poetic sense, that its laws are contingent, that its facts are a kind of metaphor. Of course, art and science are fundamentally different in their methods, and in their ends. The doing of science involves a level of rigor unattainable to art. A scientific hypothesis can be proven--or, perhaps more importantly, disproven--but a poem, a picture, or a piece of music, cannot. Yet in their origins art and science are remarkably similar. It was a scientist, Niels Bohr, who declared that a great truth is a statement whose opposite is also a great truth. Oscar Wilde would have agreed.

                               ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This essay in complete form may be read at:

CREDIT: Volume 281, Number 5373 Issue of 3 Jul 1998, pp. 40 - 41. 1998 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA