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Shannon's picture

The Scientific "Black & White" Issue...

I had a great experience in Professor Grobstein's "small group discussion on Thursday! Even though we did not directly cover the material addressed in Mayr's book, we individually discussed our feelings on the conglomeration of science and the humanities. The pondering questions in our discussion that I found most interesting was why does society think that there must be a "black & white" answer to science, while ambiguity in the humanities is accepted without debate. I feel that this notion of the scientific "correct" answer is taught to us in middle and high school. At least in my biology and chemistry classes, the instructors acted as if there was no room for debate whether or not you did an experiment wrong... if it didn't turn out the way they expected, you basically "failed" the experiment.

Another thought as to why society expects straight answers from science is the fact that scientists are expected to be very intelligent individuals, experts in their fields. Society questions a scientist's credibility when he or she does not know the concrete answer... but they are only human. Besides, laypeople believe that scientific discoveries act as a bunch of chain links... one discovery leads to another-- and another--- and another. I would be extremely pissed off if I were a scientist investigating, spending years upon years researching something that I thought was concrete, when it in fact could be interpreted many different ways by anyone (such as the case with poetry). People assume that one discovery is perfectly "black and white" for another big discovery to branch from it. If only science were that simple... the greatest discoveries occur when an individual, not necessarily a world renound scientist, mind you, makes a mistake & gets something "less wrong"!


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