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Should public schools put more attention on the sciences rather than the arts?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/10/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,014 times Debate No: 35486
Debate Rounds (3)
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I absolutely agree that public schools should shift their attention from the arts, like music programs, and on to the sciences. I am saying this as both a scientist and musician, so I do not have a bias against the arts.
While the arts certainly are important and need to be upholded within the education system, they will do little for the future of humanity. Public schools and parents have created this furor that somehow suggests that music programs and art programs are more important to the future of this country, and world, and they should focus on encouraging young people to pursue a career in the arts and humanities. This is a misguided movement; it somehow thinks that all the technological advancements humanity has achieved over the past ten thousand years were the responsibility of art and music, rather than critical thinking and substantiation. Simply put, we need science if we are to survive the next thousand years of history. There will always be enough musicians and artists in the world to entertain and express emotions; there can never be enough scientists in the laboratory. The most popular celebrities, indeed, most celebrities, are musicians (used loosely in this instance) or actors, while scientists are no where to be found in the celebrity social life. Carl Sagan was the closest we have had to a scientist celebrity, and, with no major heir apparent, it does not look like there will ever be one. Although a majority of people on social networking sites rever scientists such as Steven Hawking, Bill Nye, and Neil DeGrasses Tyson, it is not because of their work; instead, it is because of the popular culture value attached to their personas. We need education to encourage scientific thought and exploration, and to teach the students how to encourage scientific thought and exploration on others, in order to influence popular culture and legislation.
Music is wonderful, but it will do us no good is we cannot continue humanity.


I first thank my opponent for bringing up such a topic to be debated.

Now the structure of my debate shall be
Round 1: provide arguments
Round 2: Rebuttals
Round 3: Rebuttals and closing statements

Argument 1: Arts are pivotal for human relations and international understanding(Macro)
Science might give you the technology and the knowledge, however arts provide us humans with language. Rather than having fancier tools gadgets and techs, we should foster better relations internationally. Technology is merely to ease life, however when misunderstandings occur, when countries fight and wage war with other countries for the sake of new technology, when technology is converted into war-tech, then technology has failed to serve its purpose in society as well as to ease the life of others when one push of a button induces catastrophe and not harmony. Therefore, more attention should be diverted into the arts stream in public schools.

Argument 2:Humans should learn from the past before moving forward
As George Santayana once quoted "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it" Humans can never remain stagnant, that is true. However, progress is not everything, because if progress happens too fast, all the humans will end up with is just a loop, repeating all the mistakes our ancestors have done. Virtues and morality should always come first, history for one was written in the bloods of our ancestors as they made mistakes, all their efforts should not be in vain, therefore we must always prioritise on our values before expanding our knowledge. Technology should not progress as values regress further and further into the dark.

Argument 3:Arts help to govern humans, science dominates humanity
While its true technology has came along swift and sound, it is also a fact that technology has dominated and placed its vice grips on humanity. If technology takes a more drastic increase to reach a higher throne in the midst of society, humans shall one day fall and lose everything that makes us human. Arts on the other hand can help self-discovery as well as retain order among men. Rules, enactments, Laws are things that can help keep society in check with human values, technology can neither help nor aid in such a field.

The burden of proof Pro has is to prove that science can benefit society better and should therefore be stressed on more compared to arts. Good luck and have fun :D
Debate Round No. 1


Counterargument #1: Human relationships and international understanding are both topics covered vastly by social sciences. Human relations are studied within the field of sociology and psychology, and international understanding, along with international diplomacy and interactions, is studied vastly in sociology and political science. If students had a better understanding of these sciences, they could predict the political moves of their opponent and create strategies that will avoid war. Art does not serve as the basis for sociology; rather, sociology is steeped in evolutionary principles, and studies how those principles are applied within the society we have created. The arts may act as a catalyst for human relationships and international understanding, but science is the reactant.

Counterargument #2: “Every past is worth condemning.” If we worship our past, like we have a tendency to do, we bring it upon ourselves. Mistake such as the Holocaust are ingrained into society’s collective memory, and do not need as great an influence upon education as progress does. Values, like those we associate with the collective memories of atrocities in the past, are existentially subjective, and have no objective logical binding that makes them substantial, or any more important than other values. It is only when one substantiates the benefits of values through research do they become of objective importance. Take, for example, discrimination: there has been no substantiated argument that suggests discrimination is beneficial to society, nor have we found any evidence that begins to refute its inverse. I would personally disagree that values are regressing; indeed, when the majority of the population of the United States support gay marriage and an otherwise qualified atheist president, I would say that values are becoming more progressive. Ultimately, when an emphasis on science takes precedence over one of art, we can substantiate our viewpoints and make progress towards equality, reason, and justice for all.

Counterargument #3: The use, type, and purpose of government itself is, in fact, a social science, one that is hardly mainstream. It is not art that governs humanity; rather, it is political science that solves the problems of government and nations. Political science can be used to perfect, or at the very least enhance, existing governments, and science based policies create accurate, substantiated laws and regulations. Technology permeates throughout society not because it is merely science; instead, the arts have taught society to take the easy way out, and absorb themselves in technological materials. This may not be a bad thing, for as humanity moves on towards the future, we will need technology in order to survive. We are not perfect, and it is foolish to say so; we must invest in technology in order to improve ourselves. By passing this core theory down towards the younger generation, we facilitate the improvement of the species as a whole.

Without science, we would not have art in the first place. Leisure time must exist within a culture before art can appear, and science ensures that. Science is our past and future, and is the foundation for society, not a book concocted up by sheepherders nor a cave painting.



Rebuttal 1:
I would like to help point out to my opponent that Social sciences and political sciences are both subjects in the ARTS STREAM of the school. and since this debate is confined to the parameters of PUBLIC SCHOOLS we cannot simply define science as anything that we study involving analysis and calculation. Due to such a careless misconception of the definition, Pro has ultimately helped Con to prove their case. Therefore, whatever rebuttals brought forth by PRO actually comes back to support my arguments making it stronger that Arnold freakin' Schwarzenegger during his prime time. :D

Rebuttal 2:
I thank my opponents for bringing upon the quote of Friedrich Nietzsche, who himself agrees that one must meticulously interrogate and understand wrongs in the past BEFORE we forget it. And therefore, Adding substantial Backbone to my arguments to state why we should not neglect Arts for Science especially history because of its values. Now about values, Pro stated how we need science to determine and substantiate the benefits of values to society? This goes back to Pro's analogy of how Science is a mere catalyst while the real thing at work here are values within humans or known by Pro as the Reactant. We do not require analysis and calculation on the impacts and benefits of values for it to take effect among society. Today, our society is seeing a terrible amount of lack of value. People are discriminating and being discriminated against. We seem to be leaving behind a legacy of hatred and destruction for our future generations. What does our society need? It needs a value check and mindset change. People are forgetting the values of extreme importance which we need to focus on. All these are rising and presenting itself as an inhibition in society because humans are progressing too fast. Humans are growing before making sure they have the capacity to do so, and this is due to the greater emphasis we have on the science stream. We should prepare ourselves in terms of values before proceeding to improve on technology. Because science gives us reason true enough, however arts stream is what provides equality and justice in the society. Hence, Arts have a better weighting in terms of importance to society.

Rebuttal 3:
Once again, Social Science is a subject that falls under the category of science streams in school and therefore crippling most of Pro's rebuttals. Now to deliver the coup de grace to Pro's counterarguments. By proving and having a convinced mindset on how Political science can help in a society Pro has just committed an impeccable timed suicide upon himself. Pro has no proof and mere speculations when he said how arts have taught society to take the easy way out. Moreover, What does Pro mean when he says we will need technology to SURVIVE? The notion that we can only survive with technology is a very good example of how the drastic improvement of technological advancements that do not tally with the value transitions of society causes a big problem for society. To say that we must invest in technology in order to improve ourselves is no more than a fallacy, why are you working on something external when what you need is to reflect upon yourself to improve. Self-improvement can be found in Arts subjects and not science. Thus this 'core' theory cannot be passed down as the core is nothing but packs of fallacies.

Rebuttal to conluding statement: Art came before religion, and religion came before science as proven through historical findings. Therefore arts has build past and is a well-deserved element to be present in the future.

Rebuttals to opponents arguments: Pro has failed to understand the proximity and parameters of the debate. Also Pro places Technological advancements as a milestone for human achievements while stating that we need technology to survive for the next thousand years. WRONG, as stated time and time again, humans must have a capacity regulation before proceeding to further technological advancement, humans must know how to have values that would control their actions with the technology in their hands. Because even if you have the best technology in the world, values will be the one doing society the favour of preventing any technology-induced disasters or war. Too fast a change will cause more materialism, fear, and jealousy which leads to the destabilising of society.

Summary of round 2
-Pro has failed to perceive the definition based on the parameters of the debate
-Pro suicided in counterargument 1
-Pro failed to understand deeper in his own rebuttals which eventually was the inverse of his justification in counterargument 2
-Pro Suicided again in counter argument 3
-Pro seems to think that technology alone can let us survive, and neglected the fact that the lack and differences in values are what erupts wars in the first place.
-Pro still has the burden of proof as he had no reference in his arguments

This was fun :D
Debate Round No. 2


Now it is my turn to point out my opponent’s mistakes:

Counterargument #1: Science is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as the following: “noun the : intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”[1] My opponent claims we cannot define science as anything we study involving analysis and calculation, whereas the OED quite clearly describe it as such. The possible source of error for this misnomer may come from my opponent’s lack of knowledge about the delineation between the “hard” and “soft” sciences, that is, the dichotomization within the scientific community between sciences that study abstract topics such as physics, biology, and chemistry, and sciences that study more concrete topics such as sociology and political science. Instead of seemingly hurting my argument by pointing out a misconception within my argument, he has brought to light a misconception of his own. Contrary to Con’s beliefs, sociology and political science are still sciences. Also, Con claims that my argument has breached the scope of the debate, by including the social sciences when the argument is regarding public schools, falsely claiming that public schools do not touch upon the social sciences. I would like to remind Con that high schools do indeed teach psychology, which is a social science. Con also fails to account that with a greater shift towards the sciences, the social sciences will be taught with greater frequency.

Counterargument #2: While we are on the subject of Fredrich Nietzsche, I will point out to my opponent that Nietzsche was an existentialist; he required justification for values, as life is meaningless. The later philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre expanded on this, stating that morals are essentially meaningless, as humans first exist then assign meaning, or essence. Con has also misquoted my catalyst analogy, or more appropriately maligned it for his own intentions. My argument was as follows: “The arts may act as a catalyst for human relationships and international understanding, but science is the reactant.” [emphasis added] Without a clear imperial basis for values, they can be easily manipulated to inhibit progress and understanding. Our society needs a mindset change, just as Con says, but one towards understanding the reasons for our values rather than mindlessly accepting them. It will do very little for society if we accept beliefs on face value rather than critically examining them. Science is the only field that very actively encourages us to do so, and is the hallmark for critical thinking. Our values today are like what Carl Sagan said about technology: “We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That's a clear prescription for disaster.” [2] In essence, we live in a society heavily based on values, but oblivious to why we hold them.

Counterargument #3: In response to Con’s question “Moreover, What does Pro mean when he says we will need technology to SURVIVE?”, I am asserting that the planet that we currently reside on has a finite amount of time that it can support life, due to the impending expansion of the sun and absorption of the inner planets. Thus, we will need technology to send ourselves into space and colonize other worlds if humanity is to survive. Also, Con fails to realize that we are not discussing one person to improve here; indeed, we are discussing humanity and society, which quite clearly needs technology to survive. Even if we were discussing self-improvement, which we are not, it falls under the umbrella of the “soft” sciences, namely psychology, not the arts stream.

I will ignore the rest of my opponent’s statement because it is essentially non-sequiter.

In conclusion, reliance on the arts will do little to improve society, as it fails to justify the values it creates, leaving them easily malleable, and cannot and will not liberate humanity from the world we live in and into the stars.





General Fallacy: Definition of 'sciences'
In Public schools, I am not saying that they do not teach sociology or social science, I agree that they do. The topic of hard science and soft science is irrelevant because since my opponent has kindly set up the parameters to debate about public SCHOOLS, then it is only logical that we separate arts and science based on the streams in schools, social science might have the word SCIENCE in it, but it is a subject offered in the ARTS STREAM. And therefore, if we are to focus on the arts in the school, we focus on the ARTS STREAM, not just music and painting, rather the subjects in the ARTS STREAM. Likewise, if we focus on the sciences in school, we focus on the SCIENCE stream. It is not my fault that Pro had a misconception about a topic he himself put forth, he set up the topic along with the parameters, of which he fails to abide by, therefore rendering his entire rebuttal as fallacies upon fallacies.
(example of subjects under arts stream) Including POLITICAL SCIENCE as a main

Rebuttal against counterargument 1:
I have clarified once more the reason why Pro has given an absurd definition for the debate.
-Con also fails to account that with a greater shift towards the sciences, the social sciences will be taught with greater frequency-
While saying this, not only did Pro fail to present any facts or statistics, but another misconception on the debate. We are here to debate whether we should shift our attention to the science stream, just by SAYING the above statement, your counterarguments are not only rendered fallacious, it is also post hoc to assume that a greater shift will happen let alone induce a greater frequency which hardly proves Pro's points. Hence, my argument retains its position on the pedestal.

Rebuttal against counterargument 2:
-The later philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre expanded on this, stating that morals are essentially meaningless, as humans first exist then assign meaning, or essence-
R: Thank you for bringing up the topic of existentialism, its because of the tendency of people to go as they please justifies why we have to stress on how important morality and values are. And for those who stray away heavily from them would suffer consequences equally as dire as those in the past as depicted through history. Existentialism is an emphasis as to why values should be given more attention and not a counterargument. Morality and values are the core of humanity and should be prioritised before anything else.
-Carl Sagan said about technology: "We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That's a clear prescription for disaster."-
R:With so many powerful forces in play, technology could hyper-accelerate to the stars with stunning rapidity, or it could stall completely. The expectation is that it will do both, with various technologies proceeding at various rates. The new technologies may be self-accelerating, but they are not self-determining. They are the result of ever renegotiated agreement with society. Because they are so potent, their paths may undergo wild oscillations, however the trend will be toward the dynamic middle: much slower than the optimists expect, much faster than the pessimists think humanity can bear. Once again I say, Humans cannot progress in terms of technology before they progress in morality and values. Learning how to control is more important than having the knowledge to wield the technology. A very vivid example would be a common sight nowadays, people glues to their phones no matter the age group. Humans are expanding too fast and are becoming fastly dependant on technology for all the wrong reasons. Having the right technology for all the wrong reasons? That is a bigger disaster if you ask me.
-In essence, we live in a society heavily based on values, but oblivious to why we hold them.-
R: The more the reason why we need to understand the purpose to hold values through the social sciences in the ARTS stream.

Rebuttal to counterargument 3:
-I am asserting that the planet that we currently reside on has a finite amount of time that it can support life, due to the impending expansion of the sun and absorption of the inner planets. Thus, we will need technology to send ourselves into space and colonize other worlds if humanity is to survive.-
R: The only reason why Earth can no longer sustain life is because of the extensive usage of resources and disposing of waste upon mother earth. All this was done in the name of Progress in Science or caused by lack of morality and eventually overpopulation. If we were to emphasise again upon the science subjects, then the whole world would just head on to hell faster. Instead of the science subjects, we should turned to arts to instill morality among society, waste disposals are done poorly because of poor ethics and not poor technology.

-Three words: Burden of Proof, Pro has yet to fulfill this after so long of debating
-Pro has failed to abide by the set parameters of the debate in the word arts and sciences in context of school streams
-Pro has failed to say how society can benefit from technology in science BETTER than morality in arts
-Pro has committed suicide more than once during the course of the debate.
-Pro neglects the fact that technology has progressed too fast for humanity to firmly grasp causing destabilisation in many areas
-Pro failed to note that existentialism is the reason why moral values need to be instilled and govern actions in the right path
-Pro does not understand that one has to have self-control before wielding something as dangerous as technology.
-Pro misspelled 'non sequitur' :P while inducing a 'non-sequitur' effect in his own arguments
-Moral values are what holds societies together, all technology has ever done is cause more segregation and desolation, how does one consider that as doing a favour for society when the base of humanity is ropy and destabilised.
-I wish Pro good luck in the voting period and congratulate him for putting up such a good fight.
-It was fun and I look forward to the end of it, Thank you :D
Debate Round No. 3
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