While many scientists value and are strongly interested in literature, music, and art - what are commonly called "the humanities" - they believe that the status of these disciplines is completely different from that of science. The "subjective" humanities deal with culture-bound "values" and "taste," while the "objective" sciences are concerned with "truth," which in this scenario transcends culture. In other words, even though science is a product of culture, it is completely independent of culture.

This belief in the mutual isolation of science and culture is not confined to scientists. In recent articles a prominent art historian and a literary theorist each warned against attempts to relate science and art or science and literature. It seems a great many people across the disciplinary landscape have a stake in maintaining disciplinary boundaries; we define ourselves professionally as much by what we are not as by what we are.

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