Ruskin rhetoric competition considers science in education

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Linda Smith
Assistant News Editor

Last night three students spoke on the place of science in a liberal arts curriculum to a panel of three judges and a few guests.

Senior politics major Kevin Burns opened the competition, claiming that it was ridiculous to take science out of the liberal arts. He reiterated an Aristotelian thought that since happiness is the end of man, man must do all he can to work toward knowledge of the virtues, which includes a complete education to learn of these virtues. Burns used the metaphor of the city crafted by Socrates in the Republic, pointing out that the ideas that are certain and grounded in science will provide a foundation for eternal truths and ideas.

Sophomore psychology major Evan Sadasivan was next, explaining that science and the liberal arts were a bad marriage from the outset, and that the time had long since come for separation. One of Sadasivan’s most crucial points was that since science majors are exempt from the fourth Lit Trad class, they are not able to enjoy the full fruits of their labor in the core. Sadasivan argued that since the liberal arts and natural sciences do not overlap, science majors are prevented from sharing in the commonwealth of non-science majors.

Junior philosophy major Ben Starnes concluded with the thought that while modern science has given those with a liberal education a pause at times, the liberally educated must stand with science because it is right. Citing Abraham Lincoln and Cardinal Newman, Starnes claimed that all of the liberal arts have a truly scientific character that is not limited to the natural sciences. Starnes concluded by saying that as young scholars, students should possess thought that matches reality and that can ultimately guide them through issues they experience in reality.

The judges included philosophy professor Dr. William Frank, English professor Dr. Scott Crider and chemistry professor Dr. Charles Eaker. The competition took place in the upstairs Haggar dining room beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday. After the presentations, the judges deliberated and declared Starnes the winner of the competition.

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