Week One thoughts

Cremisi's picture

From all the discussion and statements uttered during the first two days, one quote in particular stuck out to me. Professor Grobstein said something along the lines, "In the movies, you see the scientist running out of the room screaming 'I was right! I was right!' in elation. What scientists want to prove most is that what they were thinking--and what everyone else in the world was thinking--was wrong. This statement made me incredibly happy. It gave me his feeling that I usually get when I am about to go on a long vacation to a new town in a different state, as though life is moving around me at a barreling pace, and whisks me along in a hopeful and caring wind. However, this feeling ended very soon. Something that made this comment even more interesting to me is that soon after he said it, my bio lab teacher sent us an article to read which was talking about the decline effect--that is, how the replicability of experiments decreases over time. This article describes when experiments initially have high test results but upon subsequent tests to replicate the experiment, the efficacy of the dependent variable decreases dramatically. Later in the article, it goes on to say that the decline effect may be happening because of a publishing bias--that perhaps it's the journals who seek the more interesting articles--ones that prove interesting hypothesis, rather than ones that make null hypotheses. "Ninety-seven percent of all published data is the result they [the scientists] were looking for." As I think about it more however, or, as my thoughts evolve, I realize that though what professor Grobstein goes against what this article suggests, both end up at the same place. All scientists want to discover something interesting, groundbreaking, and something that changes the way people think--whether that be a grand idea that they themselves present in a hypothesis that they conjured up, or a hypothesis that they asked because it represents what the general population thinks. Though they are worded very differently, what professor Grobstein said and what the New Yorker article said are differently packaged parcels with similar goods inside. Everyone wants to make a difference in science. Everyone wants to find something that changes the idea of science. Comparing these two ideas is just another way that makes me realize that things may look very different on the outside, but seemingly different concepts are surprisingly akin to each other--it's just easy to ge caught up in the wording and think that they are different. 

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