Exchanging email with Easterbrook:
Noting that this is the 50th anniversary of Sputnik, the Edsel, “West Side Story” and Boris Pasternak’s “Dr. Zhivago,” TMQ supposed that half a century ago, technology was buckets of bolts while art was magnificent; now tech is magnificent and art is in poor repair. Why? Vox Day of Milan, Italy, author of “The Irrational Atheist,” supposes, “Technical stuff depends on science, art depends on religion. The former is now ascendant, ergo our art leaves something to be desired. That’s Camille Paglia’s theory, anyhow, which is interesting in light of her atheism. Paglia has written, ‘Great art can be made out of love for religion as well as rebellion against it. But a totally secularized society with contempt for religion sinks into materialism and self-absorption and gradually goes slack, without leaving an artistic legacy.’ Richard Dawkins, a prominent atheist, argues in ‘Unweaving the Rainbow’ that science is capable of inspiring greater art than religion, though this hasn’t happened yet.”
You’ll have to wait until TIA comes out, but it contains an interesting comparison of two poems on a related subject, one inspired by religion, the other inspired by science, that demonstrates this concept rather dramatically. The latter really has to be read to be believed.