In their most intellectual form, all things are Art.

In their most practical form, all things are Science.

In this statement, I am taking the term Science to mean a process of following a set of predetermined guides in order to acheive a result. An Art, by contrast, takes the power of metaphor and independent thought inherent in the human mind to bear in order to create something.

A model, assembled from a kit by following a detailed list of instructions is not a work of art. That is not to say it is not something to be proud of -- and indeed the directions always need some degree of interpretation, substitution, etc -- which could be construed as Art. In other words, anything that could be theoretically done by a computer, given enough time, is a science rather than an art.

The greatest of scientists and mathematicians, the ones who come up with comepletely novel approaches to problems are truly artists. But the rest are mere scientists, following rules discovered by greater minds in an attempt to be like them.

I suppose I could be upset with this node as the first writeup comes across as somewhat condescending towards scientists, but Sand Jack has included a number of insightful comments which are dead on, in my opinion.

To distinguish art from science as higher versus lower forms of thought is probably a mistake. If science was indeed "following a set of predetermined guides", then the point might be valid. This, however, is not the job of a scientist. For an apprentice who is learning the ropes, or for a technician in a laboratory, whose assigned function is to carry out tasks directed by a researcher, this may be true. However, the majority of scientists who are doing independent research, if they follow a set of predetermined guidelines, will become obsolete in a matter of years, effectively terminating their research career. The good scientist, like the good artist, must have novel ideas in order to succeed.

This is the insight I think Sand Jack has hit on. The good scientist must have the creativity to build on the current knowledge base in a meaningful way. Obviously, the scientist will devote time to filling in the gaps through predetermined methods, just as an artist may devote a large part of his or her life to a particular idea or form of expression. As always, the greatest scientists will have to be artists, because nonlinear thinking is the key to the progress of science.

There is, however, an important difference between art and science. While both endeavor to justify their creations to society, the basis of justification is different for the two. Art is the representation of human thought while science is the representation of natural order. Artists who express a new idea must communicate it to their audience for justification. Scientists who explain a natural phenomenon must validate it based on the body of knowledge available.

If science is asking a computer to keep on randomly mixing an infinite number of chemicals until it discovers DNA, then art is asking a computer to randomly squirt color on an infinite number of canvasses until it generates the Mona Lisa.

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