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“the greatest discoveries occur when an individual, not necessarily a world renound scientist, mind you, makes a mistake & gets something "less wrong"!” 

 

Shannon I do agree with you and I think this argument follows the branch and basis of “loopy science.”  The way to get discoveries- the scientific method has become some what idolized (not sure if this is the word I want...) rather it has become untouchable.  The feeling around this is that only scientists with lots of college education are able to perform experiments and draw valid conclusion.  This seems to eliminate all the other people (us!) and those who are in the humanities fields.  However, we know that this is not true.  We perform our first experiments as infants and we continue to perform experiments every single day of our life.  These experiments may not be on “scientific material” but we basically follow the scientific method and get results.  A senior is our discussion group (I am so sorry I cannot remember your name!) shared with us how writing her thesis (for humanity) is so much like the method researchers use.  So, if the scientific method is something that is not untouchable and can be universally used how did it get this way?  

In discussion on Thursday Professor Grobstein expressed a opinion that I agree with: scientists (people who do research- especially scientific) usually do have to spend many years in school in order to learn what has already been experimented and what was learned.  There is a tremendous amount of information that one must learn in order to become a researcher.  Yet, I feel this is extended to the humanities as well (especially in literature) how can you analyze a text and writer if you have not studies them and what other people have written about them.  My question is what has caused the scientific method to become this way?  What has made this method so “untouchable” that it cannot be extended to other subjects and other disciplines?  Maybe it is because it is associated with the amount of schooling needed to become a scientist.  Perhaps the distinction has been blurred between the subject matter and the method? 

  

Now to branch into a somewhat unrelated area… In discussion we talked about artists that are “closet artists” (no negative connotations!)  These individuals do not grow up in the artistic community yet they produce art that is considered to be great artistic works.  We were unsure as to whether this extended to scientists and why we cannot have a great “closet researcher.”  It was suggested that it is this way because of the structure of the scientific community, and what it will and will not support.  However, I was thinking about this further and I do agree that structure is a problem and I also agree that it would be very hard to have a “closet-researcher.”  In order to experiment on “breaking edge” (= great) topics one has to understand the basic elements and building blocks of science.  In order to do great research in neuroscience and on the brain one must have an understanding of cells and cellular processes and how these processes affect the body.  I do not think that a “closet researcher” would be able to do this.  This individual would have to start with very basic science and scientific understanding in order to build up this knowledge, not being in the science community would mean that they would have to do all these basic experiments themselves---a life is only so long!! How would one be able to cover all the already discovered basic blocks of science and yet do more cutting edge research in one life time?  Perhaps a long time ago it was possible to be a “closet researcher” as we were still discovering the building blocks- yet now I think this may be impossible. 

 

However this is all not to discredit the “closet artist.”  I do not think it is any easier or less technically challenged to make great art- yet is it possible that individuals can be born with basic artistic skills and knowledge- yet not a researcher?  And does this difference further the schism between the sciences and the humanities?

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