An Essay in Science Criticism

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Scientific Paper
Title An Essay in Science Criticism
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Author(s) Thomas E Phipps
Keywords science criticism, bespeaking heresy, Maxwell-Einstein electrodynamics
Published 1995
Journal Apeiron
Volume 2
Number 4
No. of pages 3
Pages 116-118

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Although art criticism is a recognized profession, the same is not true of science criticism. This is odd, in view of the convergent tendency of both fields to be ruled by aesthetic criteria. It might be thought that those who define an area of human endeavor in terms of their personal responses to inner voices should expect and even welcome the sound of other voices criticizing. But the science of physics, which took its most wrenching turn beautywards as recently as 1905 "soon after the blossoming of Oscar Wilde (post hoc ergo propter hoc?)" is too immature to have evolved career patterns, tenure, and retirement plans for such other voices. The latter are as yet recognized only as bespeaking heresy, treason, or lese majesty. So it is with something of the reckless spirit of the pioneer that I venture the following commentary on the current scene: By using brick and mortar to build a latrine one can make of it a very solid and enduring structure; and by decorating its interior with French wallpaper one can make of it a thing of beauty, admired of generations. But it is still a latrine, as can be verified by invoking the sense of smell. This observation begs application throughout the more pretentious parts of all modern theoretical science. But here we confine its illustration to Maxwell-Einstein electrodynamics, the rock on which much of the more loftily towering superstructure of contemporary "beauty" is founded. Without any expectation that our love of either truth or beauty will be requited, let us see what stimulus can be lent to the restoration of critical faculties.