One of the things that annoys me most about English, as a subject, is that any book or story or song or whatever can mean whatever the hell you want it to, you just have to be able to “prove” it. This means a person can twist “Meat is Murder” by The Smiths into a tome about spousal abuse. When this sort of thing is done in Science, it’s called ‘bad science.’ People are reprimanded, careers are ruined, etc. But not so in English. Not so in religion, either.
In hindsight, I would have to guess that one of the reasons I always felt off at church was that the “infallible word, given by an infallible, omnipotent, and omniscient god” could be twisted to basically mean whatever the hell you want it to. If a person who naturally loves people gets a hold of a religious text, the text is suddenly rife with some sort of loving deity who throws blessings around like confetti. If a person who is embittered gets a hold of it, heads start rolling, sometimes literally.
When I sit in English or Philosophy I realize why people feel that they can ignore the reality of climate change and other serious scientifically proven problems in the world, because they are thinking in some sort of religious mindset where everything is subjective, specifically, subjected to their own personal opinions and biases.
There is a movement to change STEM to STEAM. The A stands for Art. I’m not opposed to art, in fact I think it is very important for children to learn basic art skills, facts, and history. (As an aside: if there was money in Art History, I would change my major.) I do believe it is a subject that should be taught in schools and object its removal. But to put it on the same level as STEM subjects bothers me, and this subjectivism is why.
Science and Math are not subjective. I mean, would you like an engineer who is building a bridge your kids have to go over every day for school to say, ‘Hmmm, you know, I really don’t feel like using metal rivets here. My heart is telling me that wood would work just fine. It’s worked in bridges of the past. I think we should return to the good old days of bridge building for this one?’ Yeah, I doubt it.
Art, and even English and Philosophy, have their purpose, but none of them belongs anywhere near the letters: STEM. Religion doesn’t belong there either. Anything subjective should be as far away from Science and Math as humanly possible.
Don’t believe me?
Consider, if you will ;), Broca’s ‘brains.’ Paul Broca was a renowned scientist who decided to prove his belief that white
people men were superior to all others. He did this by posthumously (I suppose I should give him props for that) measuring cranial cavities then twisting the data to prove his a priori belief that anyone who was not a white man was an idiot. That, folks, is subjective science. Are you frustrated? Yeah, me too. And I’m pissed, mostly because that shit still happens. (See The Bell Curve, published in the 90s, buried under harsh scientific criticism, and revived just last year by Sam Harris, in case you thought racially biased science was dead and buried.)
My future astronomer loves art. I encourage this love. Art, as I said, is an important subject. But to put something that subjective on par with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, is just wrong. It’s difficult enough to keep our personal biases out of research, we don’t need to teach kids that the arts are on the same level as the STEM subjects. They already have enough subjectivism in their lives.