In Old Blighty... which is derived from the Hindustani word for foreign... the five pound note was called in Cockney slang the Fiver or even more titillatingly the Lady Godiva. Swap two Lady Godiva’s for a Tenner and that gives you a Big Ben and the Big Ben is in the news.
One of London's most recognisable landmarks. If you were born within the sound of the Bow Bells you could be called a Cockney, although the sound footprint of the Bow Bells would be much reduced today due to background ambient sound...
After all these years of not really being interested in Jane Austen’s books I’ve started reading Pride & Prejudice... The Origin of Species will probably have to wait... but I’m thinking about getting around to that... eventually NOT!. You might ask why I’m mentioning those two books. Well anyway, the Old Blighty is about to get rid of Charles Darwin from their Ten Pound Note aka Big Ben and put Jane Austen there instead.
Christchurch College, Oxford University, UK
You would probably be forgiven for saying, “who cares”, and in itself it doesn’t really matter too much to the punter whose problem at the moment is getting enough of them. But what I find interesting is that an author has replaced a scientist. Not just any old scientist but the person the whole scientific and academic world has hung their hat on for the last 150 years.
A rock pool on the New South Wales Coast... early ancestors of man...
Does this tell us anything? What it more than likely does tell us is that science and scientists are loosing their credibility... and credibility is like virginity, once you loose it you can never get it back. You only need to look at the climate debate to realize that science has well... how could such a serious threat likely to effect everyone in the entire the world... other than perhaps the Sherpas... expounded by an army of white-coated reputable thinkers with tomes of data larger and higher than the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt away from public interest as merely doomsday speculation by misguided nincompoops.
A summer view of NZ's Southern Alps and Mt Cook. Are the world's mountains to look like this even in winter due to human induced climate change?
In the USA which we all know is the biggest economy in the world... until China takes over... less than half the people accept Darwin’s theory as an explanation for the evolution of life on earth. And in China, a spring-roll to a knob of panda poo, I bet it’s even lower. Some countries don’t allow their education systems to even teach the subject. And what is more interesting is that the proportion of disbelievers of Darwin’s theory to believers is growing steadily further and further apart.
There is no doubt that we are curious. We like to know about stuff. Science is one method of discovery, although it is constrained by its own limiting set of rules. Art on the other hand has no boundaries. It discovers through imagination and art always will be in the vanguard of curiosity.
Ancient Aboriginal rock carving of a human... art has been created by man for thousands of years and illustrates the link between knowledge and expression...
Fiction is the antithesis of scientific method. Science is substantial not ethereal. Writers, and Jane Austen is one of the most enduring of them, express their creative skill by the portrayal of undefinable inner thoughts and emotions... such as pride and prejudice. Pride is by definition; self esteem, dignity, self-respect and even honour; but it is also arrogance, vanity, self-importance and hubris. Science, sadly has an over abundance of both the good, the bad and the seriously ugly.
The juxtaposition of natural and man-made creation. This wheel placed in the fork of a Ghost Gum in the Pilbara had grown into the trunk. It has distorted the trees growth but at the same time has become part of the shape and dymanics of the tree.
Prejudice is by definition wholly negative; it’s about pre-conceived ideas, intolerance and bias. Science haughtily looks down it nose at anything it sees as unsubstantiated dreaming compared to the cold hard facts of evidence based research. And that is prejudice. It takes itself too seriously. Science probably more than anything needs a good feed of GM, mono-cultured, feed-lot grown humble pie... after all when the whole enchilada of peer reviewed natural history has been upended by an artist... whose attribute is the ability to see into the human spirit...
Woman, Old Man and Flower by Max Ernst in New Yorks MOMA.
Maybe science needs to read Jane Austen. The lab and the white coat has lost it’s shine often because cold hard facts are not as cold and hard as they ought to be. Science little by little is becoming no more than just another pagan religion... engrossed by its own self.
Sir Isaac Newton wrote... “I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
Was Sir Isaac Newton standing on the beach at Dungness on the English Channel coast when he wrote the above quote? No shortage of pebbles to look for as there are about 75 trillion of them...