Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Yasmin_discussions] Achilles and Wolverine: feasts for the dogs and birds.

Dear Stephen,

What Einstein meant in saying "God does not play dice" is that there is no need for such notions as supernatural explanation and supernatural intervention in the universe. He meant much the same by his aphorism, "The Lord is subtle, but He is not malicious."

It's difficult to think of many things that manage to make a jump from one context to another without some kind of state change. Clement Greenberg's essay on kitsch describe one aspect of this problem. But he'd also have criticised much of the art-science enterprise as overly academic in comparison with his vision of avant-garde art as a purist enterprise uncontaminated by institutions.

It seems nearly impossible for something as remote from popular culture as art-science to serve any instrumental goals if the purpose of that instrumental use is to influence the larger population. In his posthumous book, Fractured Times, the late Eric Hobsbawm offers many examples of how different forms of culture underwent change as they made — or failed to make — the leap across the boundaries of social groups, nations, and cultures.

When I went to bed last night, I thought I'd fairly well said everything I had to say a few days back, so I did not respond to the interesting comments of Roger Malina and Danny Butt. Your added note today drew me back in. It got me to thinking on a slightly divergent question — the question is not whether art-science can be instrumental in social change, but whether this is even possible.

Based on the evidence of history, I think it highly unlikely that art-science can serve instrumental goals in a larger public context. Times have changed too much. It was possible for art to be instrumental in earlier cultures when art retold stories that were woven into the fabric of contemporary culture. When all members of a culture knew a specific myth, legend, or Bible narrative, they understood what they saw or heard as the representation — RE-presentation — of one or another well-known aspect of their world.

We think of The Iliad as a classic, and for us, it is one of the well-springs of Western literature. To the ancient Greeks, The Iliad was more like an action movie. The heroes, heroines, and their stories were something like the endless cycle of X-Men movies. Achilles was their Wolverine, a figure of dramatic complexity distinguished by towering rage and invincible fighting skills.

"Rage – Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles,
Murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters' souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds …"

But there is more to it than this. Everyone knew the stories, and loved to hear them told again, sung by the aiodos (bard) who brought them to life. This was a living tradition, though most scholars did not believe that anyone could memorise and sing a lengthy epic such as The Iliad until Milman Parry demonstrated through field work in the Balkans that a culture of sung epics could preserve and transmit such works. This is also visible in the tradition of those who memorise and chant the Koran.

Popular culture is what a people know, and it is a culture in the anthropological sense because it forms the framework of their being in the world. I can't imagine art-science making a dent in the beliefs or views of the Pentecostals and evangelicals that Robert Duvall brings to the screen in his 1997 film, The Apostle. What makes it such an interesting movie is the depth of cultural understanding with which Duvall portrays this world — even using real evangelicals to play roles depicting themselves and their culture. The world is filled with cultures, and people are embedded in them. It's difficult to see the role that critical thinking can play in the life of someone who takes the Bible as literal truth, even as formal truth. During one of those occasional debates on declaring English as the official, sole language of the United States, one Bible Belt politician argued in favour of English on the basis that English is the language of the Bible: "If the English language is good enough for Jesus," he said, "it's good enough for me."

Art is a way of knowing, but that statement can't be expanded to the statement that "art is a form of scholarship." There are many ways of knowing. Scholarship, science, and research are subsets of the many ways of knowing. Cultures are ways of knowing. Artisan craft traditions are ways of knowing — cooking, sports, martial arts, carpentry. We don't describe a master chef as a culinary scholar. A great chef is a master — a chef de cuisine. Picasso was not a scholar and he did no research. "Others seek," he said of himself, "I find."

Art-science is an odd phenomenon. Is art-science a nascent art movement with the programmatic goals that a word like "movement" implies, or is it a group of people in a loose context trying to move something new forward. I find myself wondering from time to time about the proportions of research, scholarship, and artistry that ought to go into the making of art-science. But on further reflection, I am convinced that art-science should not be instrumental.

Russian Constructivists wanted to change the world. They failed. The Pop Artists did not want to change the world, but rather to reflect it. They succeeded. Both groups did well as artists — neither group did much to change the cultures in which the lives of most people are embedded. To instrumentalise art-science won't change the world around us. It will merely deflect us from the free exploration that makes art-science interesting.

Ken

Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | Editor-in-Chief | 设计 She Ji. The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation | Published by Elsevier in Cooperation with Tongji University Press | Launching in 2015

Chair Professor of Design Innovation Studies | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University | Shanghai, China ||| University Distinguished Professor | Centre for Design Innovation | Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia ||| Adjunct Professor | School of Creative Arts | James Cook University | Townsville, Australia ||| Visiting Professor | UTS Business School | University of Technology Sydney University | Sydney, Australia

Email ken.friedman.sheji@icloud.com | Academia http://swinburne.academia.edu/KenFriedman | D&I http://tjdi.tongji.edu.cn

--

On 2014Oct29, at 06:44, Stephen Nowlin <stephen.nowlin@artcenter.edu> wrote:

—snip—

> I am not an academic scholar (although I do think, as Roger cited in his reference to the landmark Exploratorium conference, that 'art is a way of knowing' can be expanded to 'art is a form of scholarship'). So my ability to contribute to the strictly academic perspective on the subject is limited other than to say I agree: it makes sense to allow that the workings of the cosmos could be different than what is currently implied (or dogmatized) by that which we already know about it.

—snip—

> As I've mentioned before, I think the word 'supernatural' cannot be retrofitted or reinvented to apply to a sophisticated concept of the limits of knowledge. It's baggage is too great, and to the extent that the academic community continues to appease as legitimate an otherwise fine concept (open-mindedness) in the vicinity of a corrupt concept (supernatural) that, inevitably, leaks into popular culture without the protective nuance of academic context (as the perennially damaging "God doesn't play dice with the universe" is a stereotypical example), it does injury to the cause of critical thinking and to the possibility that world culture (the unwashed non-academic masses) may someday evolve into a force that views evidence-based science as a better basis for informed social and personal behavior than it does the hocus-pocus of the disproportionately influential but prosaic form of 'supernatural.' I think art-science has a role to play in this, and especially the writing about art-science — which will ultimately amplify its practice, as is the case with all nascent art movements, with a history of meaning.
>
> Instrumentalization? I don't think so -- no more than one could claim the flattening of illusionistic space by the Russian Constructivists or the exaltation of the ordinary by Pop Art were less than aesthetic achievements because their resonance was in social change.

—snip—


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Re: [Yasmin_discussions] supernatural

Thank you Roger and Danny for expanding the discussion field with your recent contributions. It is easy for conversation about subjects such as we've engaged here to become captive to swirling eddies of repetitive dialogue. I think we've escaped that fairly admirably in this discussion, given the medium's tendency to suck even the most thoughtful exchanges into its monotony vortex. I hope most of the Yasmin silent majority will agree.

The subject of open-mindedness strikes me as particularly apropos to the perspectives of theory and philosophy when speaking of how science may have limits in its ability to know, and that one should not (cannot) set further limits on what is, after all, not known or unknowable. The carrying on of that discussion is perhaps best informed by well educated scholarly contributions and citation of credible and rigorous sources.

I am not an academic scholar (although I do think, as Roger cited in his reference to the landmark Exploratorium conference, that 'art is a way of knowing' can be expanded to 'art is a form of scholarship'). So my ability to contribute to the strictly academic perspective on the subject is limited other than to say I agree: it makes sense to allow that the workings of the cosmos could be different than what is currently implied (or dogmatized) by that which we already know about it.

To be honest, I'm mildly interested in what academics think about the limits of science and its relationship to a meaning for the term 'supernatural.' I am greatly interested, though, in the alarming possibility that academics may dismiss as unworthy of their attention the more pedestrian meaning of 'supernatural' that most of the planet's less intellectual, less educated, or educated but less critically-thinking populations believe, with no degree of open-mindedness, rules the universe.

As I've mentioned before, I think the word 'supernatural' cannot be retrofitted or reinvented to apply to a sophisticated concept of the limits of knowledge. It's baggage is too great, and to the extent that the academic community continues to appease as legitimate an otherwise fine concept (open-mindedness) in the vicinity of a corrupt concept (supernatural) that, inevitably, leaks into popular culture without the protective nuance of academic context (as the perennially damaging "God doesn't play dice with the universe" is a stereotypical example), it does injury to the cause of critical thinking and to the possibility that world culture (the unwashed non-academic masses) may someday evolve into a force that views evidence-based science as a better basis for informed social and personal behavior than it does the hocus-pocus of the disproportionately influential but prosaic form of 'supernatural.' I think art-science has a role to play in this, and especially the writing about art-science — which will ultimately amplify its practice, as is the case with all nascent art movements, with a history of meaning.

Instrumentalization? I don't think so -- no more than one could claim the flattening of illusionistic space by the Russian Constructivists or the exaltation of the ordinary by Pop Art were less than aesthetic achievements because their resonance was in social change.

/stephen
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[Yasmin_discussions] supernatural

danny


much thanks for your post

you say

I think this requires those who wish to explore such frontiers of
knowledge paradigms to hold, first of all, an open attitude to
different ways of knowing and understanding to those we have been
raised in, whether those are scientific or humanist, and this means
not taking topics off the table, no matter our thoughts on their
relative worth. It also means having a historical and critical account
of the methodologies that have birthed our own methods of enquiry,
with a resolutely material account of their cultural and technological
underpinnings, and there are many cases we can look to in the arts and
the sciences for instruction on our current conjuncture, and so the
critical conversation of sharing those between disciplines remains
urgent and necessary (but not police-able).
danny

i have become of fan of david bohm's discourse on dialogue- and indeed
much discussion i think doesnt
really engage in real dialogue= as you say
It also means having a historical and critical account of the
methodologies that have birthed our own methods of enquiry

this is really difficult because one has to suspend judgement long
enough to create new ideas and real exchange

as i said in my post - often people refer to 'science' or the
'scientific method' as if was as fixed a reference
point as the 'books' of people of 'the book" and this bothers me -an
interesting book on the complexities
within the scientific method are the writing sof allen repko etc
http://www.amazon.com/Interdisciplinary-Research-Allen-F-Repko/dp/1412988772
the good news is that the scientific method itself has continued to
evolve over the centuries
to take into account new methodological, mathematical and
philosophical discoveries
( and yes- i have trouble with points of view that accept a 'book'
written at a particular moment
in human history as a fixed un-modifiable text- that cannot be evolved
in the way as say
the constitution of a political system

within scientific disciplines there are deep differences of approach=
one anecdote i tell is
when i was in the collaboration led by saul perlmutter and michael
levi working on a new
satellite to try and understand dark energy=there was a mixture of
astronomers and physicists
and we often were embroiled in vigorous discussions- the astronomers
wanted to design
the perfect observation ( and had deep understanding of the problem of
systematic errors)
and the physicists wanted to design the perfect experiment as if one
could set up an
a falsifiability of theories- two cultures of practice in collission

a second anecdote is that in our NASA projects we had mixture of
scientists and engineers
and we were writing specifications for a satellite- but the engineers
viewed a spec as a maximum
goal that you did nothing to go beyond, while the scientists viewed
the spec as a minimum
level that you worked hard as hell to go beyond- another example of
the need to 'translate'
between cultures of practice

in the whole art science arena we rarely engage in sustained bohmian
dialogue in a way
that creates new opportunities

as i aruged in my appeal to 'translation studies' in a previous post -
in the same way
as we accept and foster multiculturalism within the arts= surely we
should do this in art-science

--
Roger F Malina

Calisthenics for minds? try the exercise machines on Creative
Disturbance http://creativedisturbance.org/

Roger is in Dallas

url: artscilab.utdallas.edu
blog: malina.diatrope.com
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Re: [Yasmin_discussions] against syncretism ?

Thanks Roger for this suitably agnostic commentary on what has been an enjoyable discussion.

While there are those who bemoan the return of religious dialogue, the cleavage between the humanities and the sciences that every popular science (or recently, "evolutionary" humanist) work attempts to reconcile is unavoidably inaugurated at the origin of the religions of the book. In Genesis there is a wayward nature whose ultimate purpose is hypothetically discernible and a flawed human who cannot keep up the task of managing it in the name of that divine purpose ("scientia" was knowledge of God's natural world before it was of the world named as nature). The question of belief or not in a deity is less important than the Romantic idea of otherness to the self that can be discerned in most lines of knowledge-seeking, whether scientific or artistic (Galison puts it best I think with his claim that "objectivity" is perhaps itself Romantic).

Nevertheless, as you point to, the modes of practice, institutional foundations and justifying rhetorics between art and science (or I would also suggest, between scientific or science-like practices from a Christian heritage versus others) are radically heterogeneous, even more than the already grave distinctions between scientific disciplines, for example. They are all, as Haraway et al have taught us, unavoidably storied and discursive.

I think this requires those who wish to explore such frontiers of knowledge paradigms to hold, first of all, an open attitude to different ways of knowing and understanding to those we have been raised in, whether those are scientific or humanist, and this means not taking topics off the table, no matter our thoughts on their relative worth. It also means having a historical and critical account of the methodologies that have birthed our own methods of enquiry, with a resolutely material account of their cultural and technological underpinnings, and there are many cases we can look to in the arts and the sciences for instruction on our current conjuncture, and so the critical conversation of sharing those between disciplines remains urgent and necessary (but not police-able).

Danny

--
http://www.dannybutt.net
http://www.local-time.net
+61 428 820 766

On 28/10/2014, at 1:31 AM, roger malina <rmalina@alum.mit.edu> wrote:

> yasminers
>
> -- Against Syncretism ?
>
> The last series of posts on our supernatural discussion has incited me
> to make some personal comments against having goals to create a
> 'syncretism' that unites the variety of practices that come under the
> general label of art-science. Elsewhere I have argued against those
> who are promoting the creation of a 'third culture'. I have also
> provocatively said that I don't think 'inter-disciplinarily is a
> discipline". Unlike the way that astronomy and physics came to create
> astrophysics, or biology and chemistry led to biochemistry, I don't
> think we are developing a unified field of artscience. We are seeing
> those that founded what is called 'digital humanities' having to back
> track because after all scholars are born digital digital humanities
> will disappear and re-emerge as the humanities ( digital astronomy has
> long disappeared; fortunately no universities started departments of
> digital astronomy that had to be closed down).
>
> I think that we have to understand that there are different ways of
> knowing (the Exploratorium conference on this was a landmark). Even
> within the sciences, observational and experimental sciences come to
> their conclusions in different ways and the scientific method itself
> has evolved ( eg the use of computer models as hypotheses, or data
> driven science today). And phenomena which were held to be outside of
> scientific investigation sometimes come into scientific purview ( eg
> the recent science of consciousness area, quorum sensing in non
> humans…).
>
>
> Similarly the work of artists itself has continuously evolved. The new
> 'art as research' movement often does not result in art objects or
> experiences that are meant to be assessed using aesthetic criteria
> that were developed for static images, or time based art performances.
> Today we see a large growth in socially engaged and public art
> practices that are to be evaluated by the cultural changes they bring
> about rather than the individual aesthetic experiences. That doesn't
> make it 'pseudo-art'. Sustainable development and controlling and
> adapting to climate change are opening up whole new areas for
> interventions by artists that would be un recognizable as art to a
> 19th century art critic; in a Leonardo ebook
> (http://malina.diatrope.com/2012/07/11/the-sublime-in-art-and-science-now-available-in-ebook/
> )we argued that this doesn't mean that the 'sublime' is not part of
> the art-science lexicon.
>
>
>
> I am not arguing that 'everything goes' ; my father once accused me of
> having a mind so wide open that the wind blew right through it. As a
> scientist I do think we have to be careful and indeed I sometimes am
> troubled by areas of art-science that I think mis-understand and
> mis-use certain scientific ideas. Sometimes I do see art-science which
> seems to me pseudo-science. An no, anything is not art just because
> its called art; there are criteria for evaluating and assessing art
> and its impact on individuals and our cultures. I am sometimes
> troubled by the work of scientist engaged in art-science who seem to
> be ignorant of the last hundred years of art-making. Just because you
> make a pretty picture doesn't make it significant art today. In my own
> art-science practice, our artscilab seeks to develop projects that can
> be assessed both on their scientific interest and their artistic
> interest without syncretism, or what I have called 'hybrid' practice.
>
> One of the areas that I think could be useful in these discussion is
> the field of Translational Studies. This field has expanded from
> linguistic translation, to cultural translation and in more recent
> years to trans-disciplinary translation. In Translation Studies it is
> established that some facts, concepts are not translatable from one
> area to another because of the importance of semantic and social
> context. We need to identify false friends ( eg the word prototype
> does not mean the same thing in technoscience as in art). Analogies
> and Metaphors are very difficult to translate and there is a whole
> literature on this area. But often I see concepts from science
> translated unscrupulously to art with misleading implications from
> fuzzy thinking and use of words and analogies; translation is a real
> expertise that needs to be deployed with sophistication.
>
> Finally I think one of the processes that art-science engages in is
> what might be called cultural digestion of science and technology.
> Some technologies are culturally sterile ( steam engine art ?) but
> until the technology is culturally appropriated it is often hard to
> understand its cultural meaning ( eg the birth of digital arts
> industries, net-art leading to social media etc). That means we have
> to be patient until artists appropriate the science and technology and
> translate it within the arts and culture. Some artists take scientific
> experiments and just restage them in a gallery- often this translation
> is absurd; sometimes it can be generative ( cf Root Bernstein's
> restaging of the Urey origin of life experiments).
>
> In recent posts the predictable debate about science and religion has
> begun to surface. It is impossible to deny that some scientists are
> deists and some atheists. As are artists. The %s are highly variable
> depending on location ( I live in Texas !) The art science field
> reflects this cultural variety in its local grounding. It is
> interesting to see art-science begin to be practiced in deeply
> catholic cultures in south America ; and in India with its multiple
> religious influences; what direction will they take us in ? I don't
> think that art-science is a 'universal' practice ( whereas I do think
> that scientific is knowledge is universal and not culturally
> specific). Necessarily in the process of translation from science to
> art ( and back again) some art-science will be culturally grounded and
> not universal. And as argued above I don't think we are seeking to
> create a global third culture, or a syncretism.
>
>
>
> roger malina
>
> _______________________________________________
> Yasmin_discussions mailing list
> Yasmin_discussions@estia.media.uoa.gr
> http://estia.media.uoa.gr/mailman/listinfo/yasmin_discussions
>
> Yasmin URL: http://www.media.uoa.gr/yasmin
>
> SBSCRIBE: click on the link to the list you wish to subscribe to. In the page that will appear ("info page"), enter e-mail address, name, and password in the fields found further down the page.
> HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE: on the info page, scroll all the way down and enter your e-mail address in the last field. Enter password if asked. Click on the unsubscribe button on the page that will appear ("options page").
> TO ENABLE / DISABLE DIGEST MODE: in the options page, find the "Set Digest Mode" option and set it to either on or off.
> If you prefer to read the posts on a blog go to http://yasminlist.blogspot.com/


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If you prefer to read the posts on a blog go to http://yasminlist.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 27, 2014

[Yasmin_discussions] against syncretism ?

yasminers

-- Against Syncretism ?

The last series of posts on our supernatural discussion has incited me
to make some personal comments against having goals to create a
'syncretism' that unites the variety of practices that come under the
general label of art-science. Elsewhere I have argued against those
who are promoting the creation of a 'third culture'. I have also
provocatively said that I don't think 'inter-disciplinarily is a
discipline". Unlike the way that astronomy and physics came to create
astrophysics, or biology and chemistry led to biochemistry, I don't
think we are developing a unified field of artscience. We are seeing
those that founded what is called 'digital humanities' having to back
track because after all scholars are born digital digital humanities
will disappear and re-emerge as the humanities ( digital astronomy has
long disappeared; fortunately no universities started departments of
digital astronomy that had to be closed down).

I think that we have to understand that there are different ways of
knowing (the Exploratorium conference on this was a landmark). Even
within the sciences, observational and experimental sciences come to
their conclusions in different ways and the scientific method itself
has evolved ( eg the use of computer models as hypotheses, or data
driven science today). And phenomena which were held to be outside of
scientific investigation sometimes come into scientific purview ( eg
the recent science of consciousness area, quorum sensing in non
humans…).


Similarly the work of artists itself has continuously evolved. The new
'art as research' movement often does not result in art objects or
experiences that are meant to be assessed using aesthetic criteria
that were developed for static images, or time based art performances.
Today we see a large growth in socially engaged and public art
practices that are to be evaluated by the cultural changes they bring
about rather than the individual aesthetic experiences. That doesn't
make it 'pseudo-art'. Sustainable development and controlling and
adapting to climate change are opening up whole new areas for
interventions by artists that would be un recognizable as art to a
19th century art critic; in a Leonardo ebook
(http://malina.diatrope.com/2012/07/11/the-sublime-in-art-and-science-now-available-in-ebook/
)we argued that this doesn't mean that the 'sublime' is not part of
the art-science lexicon.

I am not arguing that 'everything goes' ; my father once accused me of
having a mind so wide open that the wind blew right through it. As a
scientist I do think we have to be careful and indeed I sometimes am
troubled by areas of art-science that I think mis-understand and
mis-use certain scientific ideas. Sometimes I do see art-science which
seems to me pseudo-science. An no, anything is not art just because
its called art; there are criteria for evaluating and assessing art
and its impact on individuals and our cultures. I am sometimes
troubled by the work of scientist engaged in art-science who seem to
be ignorant of the last hundred years of art-making. Just because you
make a pretty picture doesn't make it significant art today. In my own
art-science practice, our artscilab seeks to develop projects that can
be assessed both on their scientific interest and their artistic
interest without syncretism, or what I have called 'hybrid' practice.

One of the areas that I think could be useful in these discussion is
the field of Translational Studies. This field has expanded from
linguistic translation, to cultural translation and in more recent
years to trans-disciplinary translation. In Translation Studies it is
established that some facts, concepts are not translatable from one
area to another because of the importance of semantic and social
context. We need to identify false friends ( eg the word prototype
does not mean the same thing in technoscience as in art). Analogies
and Metaphors are very difficult to translate and there is a whole
literature on this area. But often I see concepts from science
translated unscrupulously to art with misleading implications from
fuzzy thinking and use of words and analogies; translation is a real
expertise that needs to be deployed with sophistication.

Finally I think one of the processes that art-science engages in is
what might be called cultural digestion of science and technology.
Some technologies are culturally sterile ( steam engine art ?) but
until the technology is culturally appropriated it is often hard to
understand its cultural meaning ( eg the birth of digital arts
industries, net-art leading to social media etc). That means we have
to be patient until artists appropriate the science and technology and
translate it within the arts and culture. Some artists take scientific
experiments and just restage them in a gallery- often this translation
is absurd; sometimes it can be generative ( cf Root Bernstein's
restaging of the Urey origin of life experiments).

In recent posts the predictable debate about science and religion has
begun to surface. It is impossible to deny that some scientists are
deists and some atheists. As are artists. The %s are highly variable
depending on location ( I live in Texas !) The art science field
reflects this cultural variety in its local grounding. It is
interesting to see art-science begin to be practiced in deeply
catholic cultures in south America ; and in India with its multiple
religious influences; what direction will they take us in ? I don't
think that art-science is a 'universal' practice ( whereas I do think
that scientific is knowledge is universal and not culturally
specific). Necessarily in the process of translation from science to
art ( and back again) some art-science will be culturally grounded and
not universal. And as argued above I don't think we are seeking to
create a global third culture, or a syncretism.

roger malina

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Instrumentalist Art-Science?

Another stimulating and thoughtful post, Ken -- thanks.

-- "Working scientists don't care whether art-science people say anything about the supernatural."

My guess is that, like the rest of a general population in which some people are concerned with supernatural beliefs and their social/political consequences and others are not, some working scientists/serious scientists/natural scientists are interested is what art and/or art-science has to say about the subject.

-- "Any scientist interested in theology and its implications for science would spend time with real theologians such as the new Archbishop of Sweden, Dr. Antje Jackelen, or the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams."

Theology and a belief in the supernatural are not the same thing. There are professional theologians who are experts on the subject of religious doctrine, history, and belief. There are professional philosophers who are experts in logic and reasoning. None of them are experts on the subject of the supernatural. Nobody is an expert -- nobody knows anything about it. The supernatural is all fanciful speculation, yet it is key to critical components of certain subjects claimed to be governed by professional expertise. For some reason, society accepts and overlooks this contradiction. I understand the appeal of academic elitism, but it is more reliable if chased by common sense. To quote one of artist Jenny Holzer's Truisms, "A Lot of Professionals are Crackpots."

/stephen

________________________________________
From: yasmin_discussions-bounces@estia.media.uoa.gr [yasmin_discussions-bounces@estia.media.uoa.gr] On Behalf Of Ken Friedman [ken.friedman.sheji@icloud.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2014 2:38 AM
To: Yasmin Yasmin
Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Instrumentalist Art-Science?

Dear Stephen,

Thanks for your reply. The universe and everything within it operate on principles that a Newton or an Einstein could understand because the universe is a natural system and not supernatural at all. If there is a God, one explanation for the absence of the supernatural is that God governs the universe through natural law. The principles built into universe are sufficient. This is a the difference between Der Alte and Zeus hurling thunderbolts.

Working scientists don't care whether art-science people say anything about the supernatural. It is as irrelevant to art-science as the religious views of any one scientist are to another. All that counts is the work. No one cares that Georges Lemaitre was a Jesuit — what counts is his contribution to physics. Many Nobel Laureates are religious, a higher percentage than the number of American scientists who see themselves as atheist. This makes little difference the quality of science, and it is irrelevant to art-science.

No serious scientist will think more of us or less of us based on our belief in or opposition to God. As an aside, God may not be supernatural. If God operates only through natural law, one can't speak of the divine as supernatural from our perspective. But natural scientists have no reason to listen to artist-scientists acting as amateur theologians. Any scientist interested in theology and its implications for science would spend time with real theologians such as the new Archbishop of Sweden, Dr. Antje Jackelen, or the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. If I were interested in science and religion, I'd be reading their work, rather than reading Yasmin or Leonardo.

Neither atheism or theism makes any difference to art-science. Our views on God or the supernatural make no difference to how scientists think of us. If anything, I'd imagine scientists would wonder why we are saying anything at all about God. That is the province or philosophy, philosophy of science, and theology. Most art-science people draw on applied science rather than basic science, and that makes these issues irrelevant.

Yours,

Ken

Ken Friedman

On 2014Oct26, at 04:25, Stephen Nowlin <stephen.nowlin@artcenter.edu> wrote:

> A null result repeatedly, e.g., the absence of evidence for any supernatural element taking place in the operations of a waterfall or the cosmos, can logically be construed as evidence against the persistent claim that such an element nonetheless exists and interacts robustly with the natural world. The fundamental principles of science and the layers of knowledge they have created over time, in contrast to the creation and existence stories embodied in supernatural belief systems, do offer an argument for atheism.
>
> Art and science employ different methodologies, and I think it is important for artists to engage science with an understanding of it that scientists will respect -- no fuzzy science, no new-age pseudoscience. On the other hand, it is important for scientists to know that art has a tenuous grasp on theory, employs sometimes rigorous but entirely subjective methodologies, and is by its nature an intuitive grasp and expression of knowledge. It is always interpretive, always a statement of personal belief, and is slippery prey for a logician. That's not just a difference, it's torque power for reaching deeply and affecting how people think. A difficulty for art-science and for a list discussion such as this one on Yasmin, is that, to paraphrase Barnett Newman, some of us are ornithologists and some of us are birds. With no judgement intended or implied as to being either of those -- the true kinship of art and science is the spark of insight that can result when each discipline is allowed and encouraged to ignite the other . . .


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Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Instrumentalist Art-Science?

Dear Stephen,

Thanks for your reply. The universe and everything within it operate on principles that a Newton or an Einstein could understand because the universe is a natural system and not supernatural at all. If there is a God, one explanation for the absence of the supernatural is that God governs the universe through natural law. The principles built into universe are sufficient. This is a the difference between Der Alte and Zeus hurling thunderbolts.

Working scientists don't care whether art-science people say anything about the supernatural. It is as irrelevant to art-science as the religious views of any one scientist are to another. All that counts is the work. No one cares that Georges Lemaitre was a Jesuit — what counts is his contribution to physics. Many Nobel Laureates are religious, a higher percentage than the number of American scientists who see themselves as atheist. This makes little difference the quality of science, and it is irrelevant to art-science.

No serious scientist will think more of us or less of us based on our belief in or opposition to God. As an aside, God may not be supernatural. If God operates only through natural law, one can't speak of the divine as supernatural from our perspective. But natural scientists have no reason to listen to artist-scientists acting as amateur theologians. Any scientist interested in theology and its implications for science would spend time with real theologians such as the new Archbishop of Sweden, Dr. Antje Jackelen, or the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. If I were interested in science and religion, I'd be reading their work, rather than reading Yasmin or Leonardo.

Neither atheism or theism makes any difference to art-science. Our views on God or the supernatural make no difference to how scientists think of us. If anything, I'd imagine scientists would wonder why we are saying anything at all about God. That is the province or philosophy, philosophy of science, and theology. Most art-science people draw on applied science rather than basic science, and that makes these issues irrelevant.

Yours,

Ken

Ken Friedman

On 2014Oct26, at 04:25, Stephen Nowlin <stephen.nowlin@artcenter.edu> wrote:

> A null result repeatedly, e.g., the absence of evidence for any supernatural element taking place in the operations of a waterfall or the cosmos, can logically be construed as evidence against the persistent claim that such an element nonetheless exists and interacts robustly with the natural world. The fundamental principles of science and the layers of knowledge they have created over time, in contrast to the creation and existence stories embodied in supernatural belief systems, do offer an argument for atheism.
>
> Art and science employ different methodologies, and I think it is important for artists to engage science with an understanding of it that scientists will respect -- no fuzzy science, no new-age pseudoscience. On the other hand, it is important for scientists to know that art has a tenuous grasp on theory, employs sometimes rigorous but entirely subjective methodologies, and is by its nature an intuitive grasp and expression of knowledge. It is always interpretive, always a statement of personal belief, and is slippery prey for a logician. That's not just a difference, it's torque power for reaching deeply and affecting how people think. A difficulty for art-science and for a list discussion such as this one on Yasmin, is that, to paraphrase Barnett Newman, some of us are ornithologists and some of us are birds. With no judgement intended or implied as to being either of those -- the true kinship of art and science is the spark of insight that can result when each discipline is allowed and encouraged to ignite the other . . .


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