Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

meroberts's picture

week 1 thoughts

I found myself oddly comfortable with the idea that objectivity does not exist and the closest approximation to it is the shared subjectivity of a community or culture. I believe this idea allows for more perspectives to be considered. Instead of a dichotomous right or wrong answer, scientists (and the general population) should be looking to further shared understandings. I don't believe that scientists will ever run out of things to study and I also disagree with the mindset that "if there is no objectivity, there is no point to science". Science is still just as important to the world even when conceding that it might not be objective. What's so important about objectivity, anyway? We can still progress and further widely-held understandings without objectivity. Different perceptions and beliefs are the reasons people set out to explore the world in the first place.

In middle school, I had a science teacher who did not believe that men had walked on the moon. As a 14-year-old, I had serious misgivings about this woman's ability to teach in a modern world. I mean, really?! How the hell can you teach SCIENCE if you don't believe men made it to the moon? Didn't science put those men on the moon? Luckily, she was an Earth Science teacher. We didn't delve into deep discussions about our diametrically-opposed ideas concerning extra-terrestrial explorations. She taught me how many bones there were in the body. I don't know if other cultures/religions believe there are more or less than 206 bones in the adult human body, perhaps that is one piece of cross-cultural objective information. I do know that babies are born with way more bones than adults because they're mushy little things and they need to be pretty flexible before all those bones can fuse together. So if something as endogenous and beyond our control as the number of bones in one's body can change over the course of a lifetime, why can't science? Science is continually evolving. That's the point of science. I think science can only continue to do that with input from people with differing perspectives. Hundreds of years ago, if no one had disagreed with the common belief that the world was flat, we would still be worried about falling off the edge. Science needs subjectivity, it thrives on disagreements. Without subjectivity, there would be nothing left to "discover" or test out.

Reply

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
7 + 10 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.