Evidence, originally meaning “something clearly visible or obvious,” has only relatively recently become an important term in science, after a long history of use in religion and law. The term began to be used as we use it now in science—to mean empirical data, gathered in accord with scientific method and used to test a hypothesis—in the late nineteenth century, soon after science research began to be sufficiently specialized that people of broad culture began to find it difficult to understand. By 1959, in a lecture at Cambridge that subsequently became an important book, the novelist and physical chemist C. P. Snow famously identified the sciences and humanities as having become “two cultures,” with different vocabularies, assumptions, and interests, and decried the loss of scientists’ interest in the humanities (1959, 1).

This essay may be found on page 85 of the printed volume.

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