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EB Ver Hoeve's picture

Why is ambiguity not tolerated in science?

Throughout Tuesday’s lecture and into Thursday’s small group discussions, we struggled and contemplated various questions ranging in degree from the philosophical to the contextual- whether humans were inherently programmed for either science or the humanities, to whether Mayr considered his book to be actual truth.  However, the question that stayed with me throughout the weekend and into my Bio 102 class at 11:00am this morning was (raised in Thursday’s class with Prof. Grobstein): Why is ambiguity not tolerated in science?  After all, I am 174 pages into What Evolution Is by the highly respected, well-known scientist, Ernst Mayr, and have yet to sense one speck of uncertainty concerning any of his evolutionary arguments.  Through his unmistakably clear cut-and many times demeaning- tone toward all theories not supported by Darwin and Evolution, Mayr strongly asserts over and over again that science is definite.  Ambiguity is not tolerated in real science.  However, other evidence convinces me that not everyone views the scientific process in this way.  Last summer I worked in a lab where questions of ambiguity and alternate approaches to current theories were accepted, promoted, and thrown back and forth almost continuously.  There, nothing was taken for granted-everything was questioned and reinterpreted.   Therefore, I find Mayr’s tone to be extremely misleading and confusing, not just to me, but for any developing person trying to make sense of the world of science.  Should we just accept science as a non-narrative subject during school as long as we aren’t actually working in a lab?  And in regard to the idea that school is responsible for molding science into a non-narrative story, is it even fair to place all blame on school, isn’t it more of a continuous feedback cycle?

~EB

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