Sculpture 14: the dragons of Error and Darkness


The dragons of Error and Darkness being strangled
by the hands of Science and Light.

Old College, University of Wales, Aberystwyth

The former Castle House built by architect John Nash was extended by Gothic revivalist architect J P Seddon as Castle Hotel before conversion into the University College of Wales in 1872 and even more development.

These splendid sculptures are just one of a myriad of Gothick architectural details on the building now known as the Old College.


4 thoughts on “Sculpture 14: the dragons of Error and Darkness

    1. That’s certainly true when you oppose Science with Belief.

      But I also like to think that Science (from scio ‘I know’), unlike much faith-based belief, is able to change and adapt as our knowledge and evidence base expands or changes. The science from fifty or even ten years ago is often markedly different from what we accept now, especially in the physical sciences. (I speak as a non-scientist.)

      It’s interesting that the Victorian hope that Science would always throw light into dark corners and reveal errors is not always shared by all communities over a century later. And a little sad.


      1. Interesting that you would reference Victorian hopes about science. A recent exploration of this (sort of) in The New Republic pits Steven Pinker against Leonard Weseltier: AND

        It’s easy to see why people develop a distrust of science — it’s been wrong, and wrongly used, so often. I like to think that science can tell us much about the world we live in, but it can’t tell us HOW to live in that world.


        1. I skim-read the Pinker but haven’t properly looked at the Weseltier (though I have to say that I immediately started to have objections to many of his first few statements).

          I do agree to some extent with you, but I think the often-stated boundary between science and ethics is a false one: as I always say when teaching music, you can’t separate theory and practice. Just because they are assessed separately doesn’t mean that they are mutually exclusive, nor that one doesn’t inform the other: after all, the practice of any discipline presupposes a working theory, whether conscious or not.

          Science doesn’t exist in a vacuum because its workings are mediated by our observations on it, and we have all-too-human limitations, both physical and moral. As far as we as a species are concerned the two — Science and Mores — must go hand in hand.

          But this is a big subject, closely argued by better minds than mine, and I’m aware that I’m already beginning to muddle up different concepts. I think the whole issue is particularly coloured these days by the suggestion that atheists (and others of a rationalist or humanist persuasion) have no moral compass because they are irreligious, a suggestion which is patently untrue.


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