The Instigator
Abob
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Misfire
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Studies in the STEM fields are more difficult and more useful than humanities (Lit, History, etc)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 792 times Debate No: 32820
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

Abob

Pro

In today's job market, it is clear that the economy desperate for engineers and scientists (http://www.bloomberg.com...). The US is desperate enough to consider granting visas for just studying engineering in the US. With this high demand and need, how can people justify choosing to study English Literature or History? Granted these fields may be of interest to some people, but these fields are not nearly as useful as Engineering. My stand is, people choose fields like English Literature and History b/c they are much easier than Engineering. I am not against studying Language and History but the idea of MAJORING in these fields esp with the job market the way it is, is simply ridiculous. Are people avoiding Engineering b/c of fear?
Misfire

Con

The first thing to address is your apparent disdain for the humanities, which is an opinion not shared by the vast majority of people. Theater, art, dancing, music, writing, and the numerous other subjects that fall into this category are invaluable to our culture and creative processes, both of which are required to alleviate ourselves of many societal ills and promote innovation. As I understand your argument, you don't seem to have any issue with someone taking interest in these things. You do, however, sound rather condescending towards those who make them their life's passion when other things could be, as you say, "more useful".

Let's look at some of the benefits children experience when they study the humanities, the arts in particular: 1) Boosts in creativity and confidence, 2) problem solving skills, and 3) improved focus and desire to persevere [1]. While the article I'm linking here only mentions their 'Top 10', there are literally dozens and dozens of observable improvements in areas that would likely otherwise remain unstimulated. That's not to say that other areas of study don't also formulate some of these same benefits, but rather that no other area develops them quite as fully.

Secondly, note one of the most famous innovators of our time: Steve Jobs. "Steve Jobs taught the world that good engineering is important but that what matters the most is good design," [2]. The entrepreneurs, inventors, and engineers that you think so highly of usually hold a high level of respect for the humanities - at least, the successful ones do. And what's more, many of them work hand-in-hand with the people who you contend are taking the easy way out to create and improve the technology and innovations that keep our world running.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com...
[2] http://techcrunch.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Abob

Pro

First off, thank you for engaging me in this debate. I agree with you that the arts do have impressive effects on cognition and creativity, but I disagree with your argument that "no other area develops them to an equal degree." 1) Creativity involved in building a robot and programming it to do something is astounding. And I must say, after building a robot or finishing a computer program, I feel pretty confident. 2) Problem solving, I don't think I need to discuss how engineering and science develop problem solving. 3) If you have every tried to write a useful program or to build something more complex than a shelf, you will know how much perseverance is required.

I agree that good design is essential to any successful device, but do you use your iPhone primarily b/c it looks nice or because it can do things like call, play angry birds, browse the internet, check email? All of those are breathtaking feats of engineering. Design is essential when it comes to getting an edge over competition, but if all the iphone had was a nice sleek case and a cool dial pad, i doubt it would be as successful as an uglier phone that could browse email, call, and play games (i.e. blackberry.) Blackberry used to dominate because it had technical capabilities other phones didn't. It wasn't until other phones caught up in capabilities that the competition turned to user interface( http://www.newyorker.com...).

You also did not address my point about people avoiding engineering due to fear of the difficulty. One of your sources did state that the real world does value engineering more than English degrees. In this current world economy, is it not more effective to choose a more marketable discipline? The current job market trends have already shown it values Engineering over humanities if politicians are throwing around ideas for enticing foreign engineers to stay not foreign historians or actors (see source in previous)
Misfire

Con

I apologize. I meant to, but I hit my character limit. And you're quite welcome! Thank you, as well!

I've taken several engineering classes throughout my years with the PLTW program. I've written complex programs (which was always my forte) and built small machines for difficult tasks. Something is missing from that enterprise, though. Personally, although this is subjective I feel it relevant enough to expose, I feel as though the humanities are more beneficial to myself. Reflecting on life, learning philosophy, understanding the symbolism in literature and art, and connecting with stories and other people is by far one of the most important things we can do as humans.

Networking and creativity drive innovation, as I mentioned before, but I give merit to your comparison of the iPhone to the Blackberry. However, every single aspect of each device is a product of design. I would attribute no more than effective function to engineering.

I believe you've misinterpreted my source. The latter of my two aforementioned sources does admit, in all actuality, that it is harder to find and fill a job position with liberal arts or humanities degrees; it does not argue that the world values engineering over humanities, because that simply isn't true. The arts and humanities train our empathy and make us better human beings. People who feel compelled to contribute to our culture and society in this way aren't taking the easy way out, afraid of pursuing a degree heavy in math or science. Instead, I contend that they are taking a much harder road. Contributing to existence and helping to find and trigger the core emotions of humanity through philosophy, dance, art, and innumerable other enterprises when often times ridiculed is just as noble, if not more so, than seeking out a secure, well paying, needed job position out of duty rather than desire.
Debate Round No. 2
Abob

Pro

Abob forfeited this round.
Misfire

Con

That's a shame. I'll refrain from posting anything else here.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Abob 3 years ago
Abob
Hi, I apologize for forfeiting the 3rd round. I got bogged down with homework and I completely forgot about this.
Posted by Skeptikitten 3 years ago
Skeptikitten
You may run into trouble here with the definitions of the words "useful" and "difficult"- you should define them more clearly in your premise.

I think it's an interesting subject, but I'd be more likely to argue pro as well. Of course that could be my bias as a biologist talking.
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