STEMming the Tide
STEMming The Tide
- How to Stop Schools and Universities From Being Swamped by Scientism
Education in the U.K. is under attack. Driven from the very top of government, almost any subject outside a narrow band designated STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) is being thrown on a latter-day Bonfire of the Vanities. Savonarola managed to whip the citizens of 15th Century Florence into a state of mass hysteria and for a few months, to purge themselves of secular art and culture. The U.K. government is gripped by the same destructive urge, obsessed by the Chimera that ‘Global Britain’ needs to reinvent itself on the lines of South Korea. They fail to see that in as much as the U.K. is in any sense global, it's largely because of our culture. We certainly punch above our weight in the sciences, but a wide range of data supports the view that we actually train more than enough people in STEM subjects, with the exception of medicine.
Gayford argues in this polemic that priorities in education need changing. STEM has its place, but it should be subordinate to subjects which develop students’ capacity for complex thinking, subjects which necessarily involve multi-tasking, the simultaneous assimilation of several data streams. These subjects, SHLAM (sport, history, languages, art and music) promote complexity in a way which spills over into STEM. The best scientists acknowledge that innovation relies on creativity; Einstein stated that his breakthroughs in science could not have been accomplished without his extensive musical training.
The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of musical perception.