Quote of the Day: When Science Deals With Art and Laughter

It can explain, but it can't compete

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"Scientists now offer a fascinating evolutionary explanation of why laughter developed in humans, and a neurophysiological explanation of how laughter operates, but they will not make us laugh by doing so, or find a formula for being funny, or make us laugh less in future because we understand better why or how we laugh.

In the same way we have been shaped to savor art and stories more immediately, more viscerally, more emotionally than we can respond to new scientific explanations. Science may help explain why and how art and fiction have come to matter, but that will not give science their emotional impact, nor allow it to find a formula for art or fiction, nor make them matter less. If anything, it will only clarify why and how they matter so much."

--From Brian Boyd's Why We Love Fiction in the Swedish magazine Axess

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.