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Science Or Humanities: What Is Better?

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Literature, English, Philosophy. These practices that were extremely important at one time but we forced to change their shapes to accommodate the wants and needs of the present time. All of these studies were once important in the early 20th century, but now in the 21th century, struggle to stay afloat. Professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago, Martha Nussbaum, discusses the downfall of the humanities. She calls it a “silent crisis.” She adds, “The future of the world’s democracies hangs in the balance.” Nussbaum’s solution to fixing this imbalance is to encourage the learning of the humanities and show how important it was 80 years ago. The fight between science and humanities has been going on for many years and, in recent years, science has had the upper hand in this losing war for the humanities (Clemmitt).

Technology and the advancement of medicine have created and discovered wonderful outcomes in the past 100 years. The invention of the computer and the discovery of cures for multiple diseases are outstanding feats. However, the process could not have been done without the skills of thinking for the self, being literate, and a diverse knowledge base. This comes from the humanities and the arts. The number of liberal art colleges who provide general-education requirements in small classes that have highly engaged students has declined. In 1990, there were 212 colleges who considered themselves as liberal arts colleges. In 2012, only 130 of these colleges still considered themselves as a liberal arts colleges (Clemmitt). As a history major at a liberal arts college, the majority of my friends are either in the science or in business. It is rare to come across someone who is not involved with the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program (STEM) even in a college that is built for the liberal arts. That is an example of the dying focus on the arts within the United States. According to New York University’s senior vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Matthew Santirocco, the liberal arts and humanities are growing in Europe, Africa, and Asia. These are constrained societies that focus on technical training and on a job that will give them a large income (Clemmitt). Dismissing the right to think creatively and question the world around them is an example of one-dimensional thinking. As other countries begin their expansion of liberal arts, the United States has already lost its value for the humanities. If deciding to pursue STEM, free thinking is not frequently used. Rote memorization is a required process of thought that a scientist or an engineer can use when dealing with problems. On the other hand, social scientists are able to freely think and create solutions to solve a variety of problems. For the scientist, they simply accept methods that they remember being taught to solve a situation through one way of thinking.

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Many people think that as we move deeper into the generation where STEM reigns supreme, the humanities begin to fade into the background. This statement is extremely false. The humanities, liberal arts, and social sciences are only transforming into different shapes to meet the requirements of today’s society. The new look of the humanities would fall under the categories of finance, journalism, business, politics, and many other examples of this new alter toward the modern age (Pickstone). The medieval education style has been permanently changed forever. It ‘s old system of the trivium and the quadrivium has now emerged into practices. Trivium was the exercise of grammar, the use of logic, and applying of rhetoric. Quadrivium was the studies of astronomy, music, geometry, and arithmetic. These two lessons have split into two different disciplines, trivium being the core of the humanities and quadrivium applying to science (Garber) This split between “Culture” and “Nature” developed at the end of the 17th century when a specific discipline was created and naming this specialized field as “science.” This practice was made to observe and analysis development schemes that removed human communities and the rapid decline of numbers in a species (Adamson). In recent years, there has been a decline of people who graduate with a liberal arts degree. Due to the major cuts from Obama’s administration and his dedication to making STEM one of his top initiatives, 1.5 million elementary students do not have a music class, 4 million are without visual arts, and approximately 100% of the student are not taught dance and theater (Richards). As liberal arts continues to be abused by government policies and society’s criticism, they still stand tall in the battle to eliminate the study of human things.

The push towards science and technology has become the focal point for education, leaving the arts and humanities on the back burner. Ever since the rise of the machines during the industrial revolution and the dropping of the nuclear bombs at the end of the World War II, science has taken over the world. Consumers are always looking for the new best things. This has pushed scientists to constantly invent new advancements every day. Because of this, consumers will buy the newest items and this leads to job openings in economics and finance. A lot of money is being spent on these new improvements and businesses need people to sell these products in order to gain more income for their company. The unstoppable demand of the public has created many job openings for STEM college graduates. According to a Georgetown University, Rutgers University, and Urban Institute study in the 1970’s to the late 1990’s, the number of graduates in the STEM fields has increased. To add to the importance of STEM, President Obama has asked United States citizens to focus on the sciences and mathematics so that the nation can become number one in all the academic fields. By making this request, Obama promised to reward additional educational funding to the most outstanding schools in the 50 states. In order for the schools to receive the reward, they have to take standardized tests to see which schools are pushing their students in classes that are related to STEM (Richards). With jobs opening up in the science fields, the push toward STEM will continue for many years to come.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics helps to provide a nation with a promise that guarantees a world of potential for future generations. Science helps us understand the natural world we live in and Technology provides the information and knowledge we need in order for us to grasp the concept of life and make our daily lives more convenient. Engineering establishes the pathways that are used for transportation while creating environmentally-friendly machines to be bought and made a source of travel. Mathematics is used to help us solve everyday problems that involve a set of numbers that needs to be added up or subtracted to reach certain results. According to the United State Department of Labor in 2009, eight of the ten most wanted employees were STEM-related majors. Of the eight STEM fields that are in high demand, four of them are engineering positions, electrical, mechanical, computer and civil. The advancement of science has helped us find solutions and continues to aid current research attempts for the solutions to the world’s most challenging problems that we face today. Examples of these problems are global warming, cancer, world hunger, the disappearing of habitats and the interconnected world economy (Science Pioneers). By given our full undivided attention to science the world is forever changed in a positive way and will bring a bright and successful future for the later generations.

The call for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics will never come to an end. The availability of the arts has continued to shrink smaller every day. Government officials are working a creeping pace in achieving STEM as every American’s way of life. As a cultural critic and American and Canadian scholar Henry Giroux: “As the humanities and liberal arts are downsized, privatized, and commodified, higher education finds itself caught in the paradox of claiming to invest in the future of young people while offering them few intellectual, civic, and moral supports.” This quote explains that the higher educational systems, college, and graduate school, will only offer programs in the future that are a majority of STEM-related majors and almost zero majors of the arts. Life-long skills that the humanities provide us with are analytical thinking, clarity in written and spoken expression, collaboration, and creativity. With these skills, an individual is able to understand the events that unravel in the present day.

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