New Stories of the Evolution of Science through the Media

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Throughout the semester, we have been exposed to fresh, eye-opening perspectives of the evolution of science and literature. Regardless of whether or not people choose to accept the observations, generative stories still emerged from the class to possibly assist with the ambiguity of our lives. The classroom and group discussion experience was quite personally rewarding, as I “came out of my shell” to embrace new ideas. Although quite overwhelmed with information at times, the entire class really reaffirmed my understanding through our successful group presentation.

“I Want Truth Back” – by Shannon McPherson
It’s all I ever wanted

It’s all I ever needed, Yeah…

So Tell me what to do now

Cause (I,I,I,I,I) I want Truth Back

Beginning of this semester

Trying to figure out just what to do

Science & Arts combined OH NOOO!

So Anne and Paul explain it,

‘Cause Lord knows I HATE ambiguity…

I go crazy without truth.

 

CHORUS

It’s all I ever wanted

It’s all I ever needed, Yeah…

So Tell me what to do now

When I want Truth Back

 

In regards to evolution

I’ve accepted facts as “Truth” without regret

Cuz I’m a “black & white” kinda girl…

But science as a process?

Of getting things “less wrong”, I suppose.

An ongoing story & its revisions…

 

Learn that truth’s a work of fiction.

And that Science & art continue to evolve

New, useful stories are waiting to emerge.

CHORUS

 

Now I’m not intimidated

I relate books & science in my sleep

And summarize observations like a pro

 

Obscurity isn’t scary

…so you know what that means…don’t ya?

This concept of truth?

Well, I guess you could say it goes “Bye, Bye, Bye”!

 

My form of media is my story of personal growth from the beginning of our class to the last lecture. As my song suggests, I was initially uncomfortable with the notion of the absence of truth in science. I generally like things to be “black and white”, easily definable, and not complex philosophically – Ambiguity made me anxious. My journey through class started from the horror of the first day realizing I was scared to talk intelligently about combining science and art, to the end of the semester, where I was exposed to different stories of the evolution of science. I gained immense knowledge and did a complete mental “180” I guess you could say. The class broadened my analytical understanding of the world around me. I chose to base my song from N’SYNC’s “I Want You Back” because 1) everyone knows that cheesy, relaxed boy-band song of the 90s (a fun choice of media art), and 2) I could easily alter the chorus to make “I Want Truth Back”…. Everything just went into place, and I really enjoyed constructing my story.

 

“A Day in Paul Grobstein’s Past” – by Christina Cunnane

Paul: What’s a pretty girl like you doing here?

Kelly: Just chillin. Getting a tan.

Paul: Well, you better be careful. The sun gets really hot. I’ve got extra lotion if you need it. Wink.

Kelly: Whatever.

Paul: So………………. I’m Paul by the way.

Kelly: Ok.

Paul: And you are?

Kelly: I’m Kelly.

Paul: And what is it you do, Kelly? You know, like for work?

Kelly: I’m a model, if you must know.

Paul: That’s cool. I…uh….I….like models……………..um….I’m a scientist.

Kelly: Oh, that’s nice.

Paul: You know, us scientists, we make important discoveries.

Kelly: Ok.

Paul: Like we discovered that the Earth was round! People had gone for like thousands of years thinking the Earth was flat, and then scientists like me came along, and told them it was round. It was the best discovery ever. Really, we wouldn’t be sittin here like this, if we hadn’t told Columbus the world was round. Cause then he wouldn’t have discovered America.

Kelly: The earth could be flat.

Paul: Absolutely not. It is round, I tell you.

Kelly: How do you know? Let me guess, when you walk outside, you slope downward.

Paul: Uh, not really, but I still know.

Kelly: Then you’ve been in outer space and saw that the Earth was a sphere?

Paul: Well, not exactly.

Kelly: So then you say it’s round cause someone told you it was round? It could be flat. You don’t know that it’s not flat. It feels flat to me.

Paul: Ahhhhhh….I don’t know what the truth is anymore!

Kelly: The truth is there is no truth. Truth doesn’t exist. What people must do is to get things less wrong. If you do that, you’ll become a great scientist.

Paul: That’s it! Thank you for your wisdom. I leave here forever a changed man. I’ve learned so much. Maybe I should teach a course about it…

The most memorable and shocking things that Christina learned during the course were the facts that there is no universal truth, and evolution could be seen in all areas, especially art. In her video, she wanted to address the aspect of “truth-less science” while showing the evolution of a story in a different art form. She took the story that was told in class and decided to make that story a product of evolution. Christina invented an ancestor to that story by writing about how it was first told to Professor Grobstein. She utilized the point that was discussed in class about the “truth” of the Earth being round. In class, she realized that there was no possible way for anyone to absolutely know the shape of the Earth unless they became an astronaut. This point really stuck with her, and she wanted to incorporate her revelation into the video. During the course of the video, the character Paul has the same revelation that it changes his life. The video is a dramatization of the “know-it-all” attitude taken by scientists that is challenged by a new story that is told by a seemingly-dumb model. Paul’s story evolves from scientists knowing truths to the inexistency of truth and the necessity of getting things less wrong.

“Dear Diary” – by Kristin Jenkins

Dear Diary,

This class is making my brain hurt like WOAH! At least I’m having a good hair day… but REALLY, Grobstein is completely off his rocker! I mean reality?? Sooo simple! In reality, that bag is SO last season, and those shoes – SUPER CUTE! No, but seriously, what if he’s right? What if reality really doesn’t exist? What if everyone’s reality is totally different? Maybe in her reality, stripes and plaids match – because in mine they DEF don’t! What if the world doesn’t actually revolve around me??... NAH, Obvi not true… And truth? What if there ISN”T such a thing as truth? What if everything we’ve ever been taught is just a story—not fact, not fiction, just a good story. Is there even a section in Barnes and Noble for that? OMG the world could be flat! The South Beach Diet could be a total HOAX! Wait – does this mean that all those question I got wrong on the chemistry test are actually right?? Somehow I feel like that won’t really fly…

Anyways, Diary… class is over so I GTG

LYLAS,

Kristin

Yet another form of media – a diary entry from your average teenage girl. Kristin’s part of the presentation provided a balance of the mindset of a ditzy, style-obsessed teenager with the philosophical question of universal truth in science. For example, she created new summaries of observations (new stories) through her skeptical analysis of the South Beach Diet and a flat globe. Her experience of creating her story enriched her understanding of how art can express the evolution of science.

 

You Killed Truth: A Photo Journal” by Katie Baratz

What is truth?

Absolute?

Relative?

Knowledge?

Light?

Darkness?

Love?

Beauty?

Sex?

A Childhood Fantasy?

Life?

Death?

Truth was a flower.

It grew in nature.

It was always in bloom…

…but just out of reach.

I loved truth.

It made me happy.

Then Paul took truth…

…and destroyed it.

Now truth is dead
& I am sad.

 

Katie’s comical and dramatic photo display completely served its purpose. Her title of “You Killed Truth” was playfully directed to none other than the man responsible for introducing the shocking topic of “no truth” to us -- Paul Grobstein. She included inquisitive yet philosophical captions which were associated with the many symbolic pictures. These efforts attempting to define truth conveyed the fact that truth simply cannot be defined. To portray how this topic completely turned our perception of truth inside out, Katie originally defined truth as an untouchable flower that Paul destroyed. Her form of media tells of her “sadness”, for the truth has since been omitted from her life thanks to our class.

Our group presentation emphasized that different forms of media can be used to portray how science has evolved over time to produce new, generative stories. Each segment (a boy band song, stop action movie, diary entry, and photo log) meshed together to give way to a balanced presentation. We each took the concept of “no truth in science” and created our own unique story from our interpretations of the class. The freedom and flexibility of our assignment enabled not only four new stories to develop from my group, but it brought forth a summary of observations from every participant in the class. A truly mind-expanding experience.

 

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