In his argument that U.S. education needs to focus on both the sciences and humanities, Alan Brinkley of Columbia neatly summarizes how we embraced science at the start of the 20th century, only to turn to the humanities when it failed to fix -- well.. us.
"In the heady progressive years of the early 20th century, few things were more alluring than the promise of scientific knowledge. In a world struggling with rapid industrialization, massive immigration, and chaotic urban growth, science and technology seemed to offer solutions to almost every problem...Many Americans came to believe that scientific certainty could solve not only scientific problems, but could also reform politics, government, and business. Two world wars and a Great Depression rocked the confidence of many people that scientific expertise alone could create a prosperous and ordered world. In the aftermath of World War II, the academic world turned with new enthusiasm to humanistic studies, which seemed to many scholars the best way to ensure the survival of democracy and to resist tyranny."
Read the full article from Newsweek here.