Anthropocenic ignoranceJuly 3, 2007 at 4:36 pm | Posted in Anthropocene, Arts education, Broadcasters, Entropy, Humanities, Ignorance, Science Education, Scientists, Thermodynamics, Writers | 2 Comments
The state of my daughter’s bedroom provides an example of The Second Law of Thermodynamics in action, as there is a tendency for most things (including teenagers) to end up, over time, on the floor. One sunny afternoon, one of my sons suggested that his melting icecream was a more tasty example of said Law, with heat passing from the hot summer air to his cold dessert with visible results. Perhaps the National Health Service would provide useful analogies for older friends who can easily relate to its decline in service levels over the years 😉
So, with interest, I just stumbled upon picture-perfect descriptions of entropy by Natalie Angier in this Observer article, ‘The new age of ignorance‘. Well worth reading. And, oh dear, the interview with selected panelists is cringe-worthy:
We asked three writers, three scientists and two broadcasters to answer six basic scientific questions, and their answers appear to confirm the arts/science divide
The new age of ignorance is epitomised, I think, by the Anthropocene—we have become more and more decoupled from daily personal interaction with nature, most of us lack a thorough understanding of the workings of the natural world that our ancestors regarded as common sense, and as a race, we have had an impact so great on our climate and ecosystems that problems we face today are unprecedented. What we think of as common sense, has undergone a massive shift in definition in this past century. This unfortunate state of the affairs of mankind goes hand in glove with our ability to accept, address, and overcome our climate challenge.