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Class notes for Monday, February 7

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GIST class notes for Monday, February 7

Go around the room, introduce your neighbor, say what portion of your body would you be willing to “put under the knife?”

- most of us say no surgery, specifically no cosmetic
- a few people willing to have LASIK eye surgery
- would only have surgery if medically necessary

“showcasing our diversity” - new avatars

- end of the world
- “cool” painting

Is Roughgarden’s language of social cooperation more justified than Darwin’s language of competition?

Is she making the same mistake as Darwin? Is she no better than Darwin?

- shin1068111: impossible to completely prove a hypothesis, only suggesting another opinion like Darwin
- PhreNic: counter narrative, only way to be sure is to do more research, look into it more. Still trying to create a story
- Franklin20: looking in more detail, there way be more similarities than oppositions

Liz: Creating a theory, used to advance some coherent nature of facts you have. Important to become aware of that scientific process, than dry, narrative of scientific hypothesis. Must identify boundary between social and studying. science as human species. Roughgarden is willing to be on this boundary. Most scientists wouldn’t be willing - they would only stay on science or other.

Examples of where science and society blend:

- kgould: worked with Paul Grobstein - research on the brain, then practical work with educators with how to use in classroom. they purposefully went through boundary.

Liz: Does it matter that mammalian species were in minority? (in Roughgarden’s examples)

- Hilary_Brashear: importance of understanding and explaining outliers. must keep in mind minority cases. Darwin does not take into account the outliers. Roughgarden can explain mainstream AND minority.

Liz: Maybe there is another binary, might divide science into two sections:
1) claims refuted,
2) everything else. these all have a degree of merit

- impressions of scientists vs how they actually operate
- several interpretive accounts may describe the observational data
- science can’t give a black and white breakdown of what is happening, if science can’t say with certain level of precision, then science can’t say
- until you propose a new hypothesis, you can’t test it

Climate change -- what are other scientific debates in public media?

- Anne: smoking, 2nd hand AND 3rd hand smoke (in furniture)
- A_F: abortion debates. whether it should be legal or not. when does life begins? Biologists do not agree.
- shin1068111: this is related to stem cell research. it’s like abortion. a woman’s egg is harvested
- Anne: science can be turned to for certainty during debates

Read from PhreNic’s post:
- category making. Do we need them? Last class, we said yes. but there are problems related.

Liz: there is tension between boundaries and centers of scientific disciplines. we grow and learn new things by going to the boundaries.

Is tension a positive or negative force?

- leamirella: likes tension. you gain more, a better perspective.
- with honor code, less tension with grades because you don’t discuss them. there is tension among students, competitive tension within a community.
- Liz: internal tension, caused by conflicting ideas in the mind
- Hilary_Brashear: when classes have competing ideas, it makes her want to learn more. drive to try to resolve tension, though tension alone can be uncomfortable.
- Liz: if tension was eliminated, we would stop moving forward

Switch to Anne teaching

- reconstructive vs cosmetic procedures, but actually, this binary is not always distinguished
- some think cosmetic is normal and natural, others thing unnecessary
- in cosmetic surgery, problem patients are usually men, since their expectations are unrealistic.

- punch line: all surgeons are co-participants, facilitating gender’s accomplishments through technology

In the Banales article:
- in minorities: the goal is to appear ordinary, not beautiful. distinction between use-value vs exchange-value
- cosmetic surgery offers socioeconomic mobility, but at macro-level, disempowering

What would Clark and Haraway think about these articles?
 - A_F: science reinforcing social order, social patterns.
- Haraway would say no distinction between male and female, so why are you pointing it out? cosmetic surgery is reinforcing a binary that doesn’t exist. there is a problem with surgeons who draw difference between male and female.
- Haraway says everything is related, things can’t be separated and reduced. as a woman, doesn’t want to be reduced to just a nose, just a face.
- leamirella: confused when first reading. going from reading about no boundaries to distinct boundaries between male and female.


- various medical procedures written down and taped around the room, with colored stickers, we vote as a congressman and someone we know who wants the procedure
- when doing this, we made distinctions between reconstruction and cosmetic

-PhreNic: without the options made possible through insurance coverage, parents may rush to have procedures for intersex children too soon, not at the best time for children
- breast surgery: masectomy for F to M, same level as rhinoplasty, would not fund for that reason

What about cleft pallet? We mostly agree for insurance to pay for this:
- jlebouvier: has a friend who had a cleft pallet, it was hard to eat. the surgery was for function, not for cosmetic purposes.
- Apocalipsis: thinks we should do this exercise again, once we have more information about each procedure.

Most of these feelings are anecdotal

Anne: what about disfigured children? should parents choose to not have surgeries to help the world to accept this type of diversity?



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