History Main / HardOnSoftScience

2nd Apr '17 10:39:44 AM LB7979
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* ''Film/{{Sunshine}}'' [2007 Danny Boyle film]: Both Played With and Downplayed. The eight protagonists are: six engineers of various kinds, a theoretical / particle physicist, and a psychiatrist. You'd think the psychiatrist would be the odd one out, particularly since a point is made that he is on their mission because a previous mission which only had hard scientists & engineers failed and it's thought that was due to human (interaction) failure (so this mission is the first to include a non-engineer / non-hard-scientist). But actually the physicist is the one who stands apart from the rest and has tension with the others. It is escalated pretty soon in the movie when a crucial decision has to be made regarding the mission, and the Captain declares the decision won't be made democratically but will be solely up to the physicist, because ''he'' is the only one who can interpret, or even grasp, the complex parameters involved. So in the end, it's more "theoretical vs. applied sciences".
25th Feb '17 10:04:59 AM JapaneseTeeth
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** On the other hand, the ''de facto'' main character of the trilogy is a ''philologist'' (one who studies language), and his ability to communicate complex ideas ends up being ''extremely'' important, and the main villain of the first two books is a physicist.

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** On the other hand, the ''de facto'' main character of the trilogy is a ''philologist'' (one who studies language), and his ability to communicate complex ideas ends up being ''extremely'' important, and the main villain of the first two books is a physicist. Said physicist expresses much derision for any discipline that isn't a physical science.
27th Dec '16 9:55:43 PM Fireblood
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Think of it as an interdisciplinary TakeThat. How much the rivalry is SeriousBusiness, and how much friendly banter, depends on the people involved. It's still an influential conflict that not only has spawned new theories and schools, but became a full blown [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_wars "war"]] during the 90's. The standard comeback from soft scientists is that their subject is more "applicable" or more relevant to life and society at large (e.g.: as hit and miss as psychology can be, even biologists admit that neurological or even pharmacological solution to mood disorders [[DrugsAreBad should only be a last resort]]). Another reaction is that these complaints come from those for whom science has been fetishized by, usually non-scientists, thus missing the point entirely and cheapening both.

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Think of it as an interdisciplinary TakeThat. How much the rivalry is SeriousBusiness, and how much friendly banter, depends on the people involved. It's still an influential conflict that not only has spawned new theories and schools, but became a full blown [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_wars "war"]] during the 90's. The standard comeback from soft scientists is that their subject is more "applicable" or more relevant to life and society at large (e.g.: as hit and miss as psychology can be, even biologists admit that neurological or even pharmacological solution solutions to mood disorders [[DrugsAreBad should only be a last resort]]). Another reaction is that these complaints come from those for whom science has been fetishized by, usually non-scientists, thus missing the point entirely and cheapening both.



Also see AllPsychologyIsFreudian, which also contributes to how psychology became such a target - psychoanalysis is ''blatantly'' unscientific navel-gazing, but because it was one of psychology's most {{vocal minorit|y}}ies, the "psychologists sitting in couches charging 200 bucks to talk about YourMom" stereotype became a NeverLiveItDown. Modern types of psychology, such as behaviourism, cognitive science and neuroscience, are a lot harder yet just as practical. In this case, calling Freudians quacks would work, but Skinner's experiments have been repeatedly verified. However, the history of scams, the possible lack of ethics - see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment these]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment experiments]], the BedlamHouse, and [[Literature/AClockworkOrange behaviourism's possibility of abuse]] - and "pop psychology" in general still haven't liberated it from being an acceptable target.

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Also see AllPsychologyIsFreudian, which also contributes to how psychology became such a target - psychoanalysis is ''blatantly'' unscientific navel-gazing, but because it was one of psychology's most {{vocal minorit|y}}ies, the "psychologists sitting in couches charging 200 bucks to talk about YourMom" stereotype became a NeverLiveItDown. Modern types of psychology, psychology such as behaviourism, behaviorism, cognitive science and neuroscience, neuroscience are a lot harder yet just as practical. In this case, calling Freudians quacks would work, but Skinner's experiments have been repeatedly verified. However, the history of scams, the possible lack of ethics - see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment these]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment experiments]], the BedlamHouse, and [[Literature/AClockworkOrange behaviourism's behaviorism's possibility of abuse]] - and "pop psychology" in general still haven't liberated it from being an acceptable target.



* In ''Film/{{Arrival}}'', when Ian, a theoretical physicist, meets Louise, he's reading her book on linguistics. He points out that she's wrong that language is the foundation of civilization, science is. Of course, given that they're dealing with a race of StarfishAliens with a StarfishLanguage, who [[spoiler:don't think in a linear manner]], Louise'a expertise turns out to be far more useful than Ian's. It's pointed out that his idea of using simple linear equations fails. Strangely, the aliens are able to recognize more complex three-dimensional equations.

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* In ''Film/{{Arrival}}'', when Ian, a theoretical physicist, meets Louise, he's reading her book on linguistics. He points out that she's wrong that language is the foundation of civilization, science is. Of course, given that they're dealing with a race of StarfishAliens with a StarfishLanguage, who [[spoiler:don't think in a linear manner]], Louise'a expertise turns out to be far more useful than Ian's. It's pointed out that his idea of using simple linear equations fails. Strangely, the aliens are able to recognize more complex three-dimensional equations.equations [[spoiler: (because they are non-linear)]].



* In Creator/NealStephenson's ''Literature/{{Cryptonomicon}}'', a few intellectuals met by the computer scientist protagonist are insufferable idiots with little grip on reality. On the other hand, the insufferable idiots are shown to have social skills unlike [[{{Nerd}} most of the protagonists]], and Enoch Root is both a priest, philosopher, and [[spoiler: cryptographer]].

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* In Creator/NealStephenson's ''Literature/{{Cryptonomicon}}'', a few intellectuals met by the computer scientist protagonist are insufferable idiots with little grip on reality. On the other hand, the insufferable idiots are shown to have social skills skills, unlike [[{{Nerd}} most of the protagonists]], and Enoch Root is both a priest, philosopher, and [[spoiler: cryptographer]].



* Inverted in Creator/StephenKing's ''The Stand''. Not only is hard science [[ScienceIsBad bad]], but one of the heroes is a sociologist.

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* Inverted {{Inverted}} in Creator/StephenKing's ''The Stand''. Not only is hard science [[ScienceIsBad bad]], but one of the heroes is a sociologist.



* Discussed and subverted in Creator/MichaelCrichton's ''Literature/{{Sphere}}''. One of the JerkAss physicists asks what somebody from such a useless field as psychology is doing on the mission. The psychologist protagonist points out (perhaps only to himself) what terrible people skills the average physicist has. It turns out the psychologist is [[spoiler: the only one mentally stable enough to handle the nigh-omnipotence the title sphere gives without killing everyone.]]

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* Discussed {{Discussed}} and subverted {{subverted}} in Creator/MichaelCrichton's ''Literature/{{Sphere}}''. One of the JerkAss physicists asks what somebody from such a useless field as psychology is doing on the mission. The psychologist protagonist points out (perhaps only to himself) what terrible people skills the average physicist has. It turns out the psychologist is [[spoiler: the only one mentally stable enough to handle the nigh-omnipotence the title sphere gives without killing everyone.]]



* Shows up repeatedly in the works of Creator/GregEgan; most notably in ''Literature/SchildsLadder''.
* This is zig-zagged in ''Literature/ThatHideousStrength'' by Creator/CSLewis -- one of the protagonists and most of our villains are sociologist-types. It goes so far that ValuesDissonance rams this book into PoesLaw.

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* Shows up repeatedly in the works of Creator/GregEgan; Creator/GregEgan, most notably in ''Literature/SchildsLadder''.
* This is zig-zagged {{zigzagged}} in ''Literature/ThatHideousStrength'' by Creator/CSLewis -- one of the protagonists and most of our villains are sociologist-types. It goes so far that ValuesDissonance rams this book into PoesLaw.



** On the other hand, the de facto main character of the trilogy is a ''philologist'' (one who studies language), and his ability to communicate complex ideas ends up being ''extremely'' important, and the main villain of the first two books is a physicist.

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** On the other hand, the de facto ''de facto'' main character of the trilogy is a ''philologist'' (one who studies language), and his ability to communicate complex ideas ends up being ''extremely'' important, and the main villain of the first two books is a physicist.



* Deliberately {{inverted}} in Creator/SeananMcGuire's short story "Laughter at the Academy"; a mad psychologist, disgruntled by the lack of respect for her field, repeatedly sparks [[ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder]] in previously-stable hard scientists to make a point about where true power lies.

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* Deliberately {{inverted}} inverted in Creator/SeananMcGuire's short story "Laughter at the Academy"; a mad psychologist, disgruntled by the lack of respect for her field, repeatedly sparks [[ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder]] in previously-stable hard scientists to make a point about where true power lies.



** This behavior was actually the subject of a TakeThat in an episode where Booth and Bones head to a mental hospital where Bones makes pointed [[TakeThat remarks]] to the head psychologist there. Eventually after a while of this the psychologist finally gets sick of this and points out that while her expertise in the dead is all well and dandy, he's using his training to help 'living people' who desperately need it, soft science or not.

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** This behavior was actually the subject of a TakeThat in an episode where Booth and Bones head to a mental hospital where Bones makes pointed [[TakeThat remarks]] to the head psychologist there. Eventually after a while of this the psychologist finally gets sick of this and points out that while her expertise in the dead is all well fine and dandy, he's using his training to help 'living people' who desperately need it, soft science or not.



** Bones and Sweets are interrogating a super genius because he menaced a scientist who was building a device that theoretically could destroy the universe. The man works welding things. When Sweets tell him that for being a genius his profession is very humble, the man retorts that at least his work is real-psychologists cannot say that of themselves.

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** Bones and Sweets are interrogating a super genius because he menaced a scientist who was building a device that theoretically could destroy the universe. The man works welding things. as a welder. When Sweets tell tells him that for being a genius his profession is very humble, the man retorts that at least his work is real-psychologists cannot say that of themselves.



** Amy Farrah Fowler has also belittled Bernadette's field of microbiology, saying that while she studies the brain: "the organism responsible for Beethoven's symphony", Bernadette studies yeast: "the organism responsible for 'Mueller light'."

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** Amy Farrah Fowler has also belittled Bernadette's field of microbiology, saying that while she studies the brain: "the brain ("the organism responsible for Beethoven's symphony", symphony"), Bernadette studies yeast: "the yeast ("the organism responsible for 'Mueller light'."").



* In 2012, an atheist philospher from Belgium [[http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/09/28/philosopher-pulls-a-sokal-on-theology-conferences/ duped a theology conference with a Sokal-style hoax]]. The philosophers who were doped acknowledged they thought the paper was bupkis, but admitted it wasn't out of [[JerkassHasAPoint the range]] of what they had previously published.

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* In 2012, an atheist philospher philosopher from Belgium [[http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/09/28/philosopher-pulls-a-sokal-on-theology-conferences/ duped a theology conference with a Sokal-style hoax]]. The philosophers who were doped acknowledged they thought the paper was bupkis, but admitted it wasn't out of [[JerkassHasAPoint the range]] of what they had previously published.



* Conservative publicists sometimes approach this attitude, since they see modern academic teaching in literature, sociology etc. to be overriden by left-winged philosophy, while science such as physics and mathematics remains perfectly objective and politically neutral.

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* Conservative publicists sometimes approach this attitude, since they see modern academic teaching in literature, sociology etc. to be overriden by left-winged left-wing philosophy, while science such as physics and mathematics remains perfectly objective and politically neutral.



* UsefulNotes/MargaretThatcher, a research chemist before going into politics, remarked "What a luxury," to a student who told her she was studying Norse literature.

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* UsefulNotes/MargaretThatcher, a research chemist before going into politics, remarked "What a luxury," luxury" to a student who told her she was studying Norse literature.



* In construction, "soft" is planning, "hard" is execution: architects design buildings emphasizing the art, leading engineers to struggle in finding out how to make them actual edifices, making them frequently diss\mock architects. Add a third party, and there is an old joke:

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* In construction, "soft" is planning, "hard" is execution: architects design buildings emphasizing the art, leading engineers to struggle in finding out how to make them actual edifices, making them frequently diss\mock dis\mock architects. Add a third party, and there is an old joke:
8th Dec '16 6:36:33 PM ChronoLegion
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8th Dec '16 6:04:25 PM ChronoLegion
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[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Film/{{Arrival}}'', when Ian, a theoretical physicist, meets Louise, he's reading her book on linguistics. He points out that she's wrong that language is the foundation of civilization, science is. Of course, given that they're dealing with a race of StarfishAliens with a StarfishLanguage, who [[spoiler:don't think in a linear manner]], Louise'a expertise turns out to be far more useful than Ian's. It's pointed out that his idea of using simple linear equations fails. Strangely, the aliens are able to recognize more complex three-dimensional equations.
4th Nov '16 3:45:56 AM ShorinBJ
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** On one occasion, Brennan voices her distaste for psychology to a psychologist played by Creator/StephenFry, and he promptly agrees. He seems to regard himself primarily as a therapist, though of course he is trained in psychology.



*** As is neurobiology, [[SheIsNotMyGirlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler's]] field which Sheldon is condescending toward, leading to [[spoiler: their 'breakup' and Sheldon's acquiring 25 cats]]. Most of the evidence suggests that Sheldon just thinks all other scientists (or for that matter, all other ''humans'') and their work are innately inferior to him and his work.

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*** As is neurobiology, [[SheIsNotMyGirlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler's]] field which Sheldon is condescending toward, leading to [[spoiler: their [[spoiler:their 'breakup' and Sheldon's acquiring 25 cats]]. Most of the evidence suggests that Sheldon just thinks all other scientists (or for that matter, all other ''humans'') and their work are innately inferior to him and his work.



** Amy Farrah Fowler has also belittled Bernadette's field of microbiology, saying that while she studies the brain: "the organism responsible for Beethoven's symphony", Bernadette studies yeast: "the organism responsible for 'Muller light'."

to:

** Amy Farrah Fowler has also belittled Bernadette's field of microbiology, saying that while she studies the brain: "the organism responsible for Beethoven's symphony", Bernadette studies yeast: "the organism responsible for 'Muller 'Mueller light'."



** Interestingly, however, when Raj's sister Priya (the only non-hard scientist recurring character save Penny) was going out with Leonard, Sheldon uncharacteristically never mocked her academic discipline (the law), despite disliking her. FridgeBrilliance kicks in when you realize that a discipline comprised largely of making and/or interpreting strict rules and regulations which maintain or promote social order is right up Sheldon's alley.

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** Interestingly, however, when Raj's sister Priya (the only non-hard scientist recurring character save Penny) was going out with Leonard, Sheldon uncharacteristically never mocked her academic discipline (the law), despite disliking her. FridgeBrilliance kicks in when you realize that a discipline comprised largely of making and/or interpreting strict rules and regulations which maintain or promote social order is right up Sheldon's alley.
27th Oct '16 3:09:22 PM AgProv
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*** Which makes his horrible handle on Klingon phonetics and pronunciation even funnier. And Chinese. Although in one episode he is seen learning [[UsefulNotes/{{Finland}}Finnish]] - for recreation.

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*** Which makes his horrible handle on Klingon phonetics and pronunciation even funnier. And Chinese. Although in one episode he is seen learning [[UsefulNotes/{{Finland}}Finnish]] [[UsefulNotes/{{Finland}} Finnish]] - for recreation.
27th Oct '16 3:08:09 PM AgProv
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*** Which makes his horrible handle on Klingon phonetics and pronunciation even funnier.

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*** Which makes his horrible handle on Klingon phonetics and pronunciation even funnier. And Chinese. Although in one episode he is seen learning [[UsefulNotes/{{Finland}}Finnish]] - for recreation.
18th Oct '16 4:25:59 PM nombretomado
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* Gordon Freeman of ''FreemansMind'' feels indignant toward psychology. Although, this may have less to do with scientific elitism than the fact that Gordon is a ''[[HeroicComedicSociopath friggin' loon]]'', and as such not enamored of what they probably have to say about him. He's even more dismissive of string theorists, who are toward the soft end of physics research, essentially regarding them as goat-sacrificing cultists.

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* Gordon Freeman of ''FreemansMind'' ''Machinima/FreemansMind'' feels indignant toward psychology. Although, this may have less to do with scientific elitism than the fact that Gordon is a ''[[HeroicComedicSociopath friggin' loon]]'', and as such not enamored of what they probably have to say about him. He's even more dismissive of string theorists, who are toward the soft end of physics research, essentially regarding them as goat-sacrificing cultists.
5th Oct '16 7:05:52 AM Folded13
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** Creator/RandallMunroe had a strip about this [[https://xkcd.com/435/ here]]
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