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Science, Brains, Humanity Forum

Science, Brains, Humanity Forum


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For CCNY honors students ...
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: //2004-11-24 11:08:53 :
Link to this Comment: 11758

Welcome to this on-line forum. Like all Serendip forums, this is a place for informal public conversation. Informal meaning people are more interested in what you have to day than in exactly how you say it. And "public" in the sense that the idea is to say things where other people can hear them and be influenced by them. Those people are most likely to be fellow classmates but anyone in the world could in principle drop by so things one says here can be meaningful not only for those of us in this class but others as well. And someone elsewhere might in principle leave a thought here that would be useful for us.

So, let's get talking. Starting with

What exactly is science? What makes it possible to do it? And is it a good thing?


Science: Angels or Demons
Name: Sophia
Date: //2004-12-01 20:43:34 :
Link to this Comment: 11837

Those are such broad questions that there is not real way of answering them, but to step back from what I learned so far from the class, I think science is simply methods where we try to learn more about ourselves and where we come from. It is curiosity that drives the scientists today and hundreds of years ago.

Science is also the ways in which one would approach this goal of finding out more about the human kind in relation to everything by digging deeper (in many cases, smaller and smaller, i.e. biochemistry). To understand the methodologies used by scientists, we first need to learn from the bottom up, just so that we could at least understand a dialog that was presented to us in just about any conversations related to science. With this basic understanding from the public, the disconnect between scientists and the public would diminish.

With all the technology we have today, science advanced quickly and moving forward. I think it is a very good thing, depending on how the information is used. Using what scientists learn in medical practice to heal patients of disease that otherwise would have killed them is one great way to introduce science to the public. Another way it would be good is its power to clear up misconceptions. Josh White's "Free and Equal Blues" is a great representation of how science helped correct a worldwide misconception of the differences between race and species. The fact that there is scientific proof that all humans are of the same species and there no particular hierarchies between races and that it is just a human invention showed that with understanding comes acceptance and gaining new information.


Science & Human Interference
Name: Camisha
Date: //2004-12-04 14:22:12 :
Link to this Comment: 11864

Science in itself cannot be termed "bad" since all its aspects are natural. The way in which humans use science is what can cause unpleasant results.

Those blessed with the talent to do scientific research have to realize that a line must be drawn between the facination of discovery and social impact. With the technology constantly being upgraded, the scope of scientific projects is endless. The big question is, can is there a way to incorporate ethics into sciencea without jepordizing scientific advancement? If this balance can be achieved, I have no doubt that science will provide the maximum benefit to society.


Science is beneficial for all!
Name: Leeza Piku
Date: //2004-12-04 21:11:38 :
Link to this Comment: 11865

I agree with Camisha. If a balance can be achieved between ethics and scientific research much of the opposition scientists face would become nonexistent. I think that this balance can be achieved if the public becomes more knowledgeable about the current scientific issues such as stem cell research and cloning. If people know of the benefits of such research they would be more likely to compromise their ethical beliefs because they would see that such research must be conducted for the good of mankind.
Personally, I think that science is great, especially when used for good. So many diseases have either been cured or controlled because of scientific discoveries. Many lives have been saved and returned to a nearly or fully "normal" state. But science doesn't only save lives, it also allows us to learn more about ourselves and the world that we live in. Knowledge if power and with the knowledge that science provides us we become more powerful. With this power we can truly change the world for the better if we ever had the will. Scientists are the people who make this possible. Sure there are those few scientists who may find themselves on a dangerous powertrip and may do harm because of it but no one is perfect. Besides these kind of scientists are few and far between and when found are punished. And the rest of the scientists make up for or correct the mistakes of these rogue scientists with their life-altering discoveries.


Science and the Public Trust
Name: Paul Hung
Date: //2004-12-05 11:03:56 :
Link to this Comment: 11866

I agree with Leeza and think that science is great and that it has greatly improved the lives of mankind. I think that science greatly benefits society and I think that there should be less restrictions on what they be allowed to research. I think that scientists are very moral and that they wouldn't research things that are unethical. For the few scientists that do they should be punished but I think that the scientific community could do better by running public ad campaigns promoting stem cell research or other controversial areas. With the right education the public will agree to allow scientists to research anything they think will help society.


some thoughts
Name: Olga Mikhl
Date: //2004-12-05 13:17:39 :
Link to this Comment: 11871

I think science is a basic study of how everything works and why it does so. we all have curiousities about the world around us, and we because of those curiosities, we created science. our curious nature is what drives science forward and helps us create new technologies to examine our own lives in greater detail. i dont think that science is intrinsically good or bad, it just is. it is what people choose to do with the knowledge they gain from science that determines whether a dicovery or invention (or anything in that vein) is good or bad. if anything, i believe our intentions were originally good, and are still good. but we cant control what happens with any information we find in the search for knowledge.


thoughts
Name: NB
Date: //2004-12-05 14:20:44 :
Link to this Comment: 11873

i remember my high school physics teacher telling an anecdote about this physicist asking congress for funding, and though i cannot remember the anecdote, i remember the "punchline" (i guess you would call it) was something to the effect of "science gives us a reason for living."

as sappy and cliche as that was, i have to agree. the more we learn about ourselves, the more we learn how to better ourselves. has science not shown cigarette smoking to be the most detrimental thing one can do to their body? or that ultraviolet rays from the sun are harmful to the skin? or that we are killing off entire species through our actions? scientists, for the most part, have the noble cause to help the world better itself (however they define that).

but once politics are thrown into the mix, it becomes anything but as simple as i have just stated.

i believe the American public is simply afraid of the truth (in more than just science, at that), and that is why science is so negatively viewed, as something that makes it scarier to live. in America, a headline may read: "cell phone use increases risk of brain disease", whereas somewhere where they actually do live healthy lives (i believe it is Denmark, where they have all the bikes instead of cars) might print: "decreased cell phone use decreases risk of brain disease." its that whole is the cup half full or half empty situation. science is what the public makes of it.


My Opinion
Name: Leydannis
Date: //2004-12-05 21:07:27 :
Link to this Comment: 11875

I think that science is basically the study and observation of certain facts that exist in this world. Scientists use these observations to obtain knowledge. They then try to relate this information to our everyday lives for some beneficial purpose. Science can be a good thing when the proper research and testing is done. It is also important to take the public's views and opinions on science into consideration.


science
Name: Marina Ovt
Date: //2004-12-05 22:01:19 :
Link to this Comment: 11876

Science is basically a process of studying and understanding the world around us. I think that overall scientific explorations are good becasue they broaden our understanding of the world. There are times ofcourse when applications of scientific breakthroughs become harmful to our planet. This is why it is important to approach science with a conscious mind. I think that the majority of scientists think about their actions along with consequences. I think that instead of viewing science in a negative light, we should try to understand it so that we can influence the world's treatment of science.


We need science
Name: Tingting Z
Date: //2004-12-05 22:32:35 :
Link to this Comment: 11877

Science is always very important to the development and evolution of this world, not just for humans but for every species. In the long history of human beings, there have been some many admirable scientists. Without them, without the science discovered by them, we probably would not have advanced disease treatment or we probably would not even know lots of fundamental things about nature and ourselves. So, I think science is very necessary and important.

However, I also agree that scientists definitely have to have a clear ethic line in their minds. They also have to be responsible and caucious about the application of what they discover or creat.



Name: Jesse
Date: //2004-12-06 00:48:11 :
Link to this Comment: 11879

Saying that science is a bad thing would be just outright ignorant, but it is undeniable that bad things have come of it, but just as many if not more good things have come from scientific studies too. Most of us would not have even been born if not for scientific research and advancements.

One wouldn't say sunlight is bad unless thay got burned.


Science, a conceptual issue
Name: Patrick Is
Date: //2004-12-06 11:44:20 :
Link to this Comment: 11882

How does one think of science but in the frame of the real world? Can it not be a conceptual issue? What I would like to touch upon is that even though science can only evaluate the "so called real" world, but it has to start from a pure conceptual, or abstarct idea which then scientist try to analyze to determin if it's tangibility.
Again, how can one think of something as real if they cannot see it but only can expalin it with a theory. Could we consider science exactly for what it is; the medium through which we have an understanding of the world, or can it also be as abstract as a painting. Could we be fooled by the result that we thing a reproducible? We live in a complex world, and it would be foolish to think that scientist are be able to discover and understand how it functions as a whole. Still today, there are many things which still remain a mystery to science and that is what it means to be alive in this world, the mystery, the things we don't get to know their intricacy but which keep us guseeing and admiring there every little mysteries.


about science
Name: theodore p
Date: //2004-12-06 12:59:33 :
Link to this Comment: 11884

Science is a way of acquiring knowledge. To do science, one must follow a specific standard method. The main purpose of this method is the testing of hypotheses and the ability to make predictions. The overall goal of science is to better understand nature and the universe. Scientific observation stems from a natural curiosity about our world. Scientific thought represents an inquisition into our physical environment and the many varieties of interactions therein. From here burgeon the various schools of science (i.e. biology, physics, etc.)
Science in itself is good, because it is natural. It helps us to relate natural phenomena to our everyday lives. Still, when manipulated outside of ethics, it can become dangerous or harmful.


science is it good or bad?
Name: Meret Koeh
Date: //2004-12-06 13:49:53 :
Link to this Comment: 11885

Everything has its good and bad sides. The question is: when, how and why to stop?!


science is good
Name:
Date: //2004-12-08 14:21:55 :
Link to this Comment: 11910

I believe that science is good. I don't think many people question the act of science itself, the general public questions what scientist do with the knowledge they receive.


Science as Exploration
Name: Paul H. Wu
Date: //2004-12-08 20:04:44 :
Link to this Comment: 11916

Science is only limited by the imagination. The brain is endlessly creative and the sky is the limit. We do science every day and we've been doing it ever since we knew how to walk. It is this process of exploration that we live for. Science is the process of exploration and skepticism is what makes it progress.


Government as Mad Scientist
Name: Tanya
Date: //2004-12-11 17:23:30 :
Link to this Comment: 11957

Science can be liberating for those who practice and acquire a certain amount of knowledge from it...but it can be used as a tool for oppression such as the implementation of reproductive science to sterilize women from minority communities (research the campaign to sterilize Hispanic women I believe in the 80's). It seems that scientists don't often realize that their studies are of serious social significance and contain the ability to raise the consciousness of various peoples (think on what we've learn about race as a myth, if people had that knowledge that could contribute to the fight against racism!). We have to hold both the government and scientists accountable to the products of their research for they may be harmful and disastrous to humanity (ahem...Human Genome Project...do we really want neo-conservatives who are plaguing our political system to have all the information about human beings, our entire ingredients for millions of years...). Oh my non-science majors, we have such a struggle before us.



Name: Tingting
Date: //2004-12-12 15:31:05 :
Link to this Comment: 11958

Science is amazing, since it's a way of finding out about all of us, humans and other species. All of us are amazing, just like our brains. There is always a lot more ahead for us to find out. But we have to be cauciou about application of science and to keep moral in mind.



Name: Irina Akul
Date: //2004-12-14 09:05:56 :
Link to this Comment: 11971

Just like many in my class, I feel conflicted over how to classify science - as something "good" or "bad"? Is it a constructive reflection of the curiosity that is so natural to us as humans - creatures of the brain? Or is it a tool of our demise, which a few of us argue.

Science is limitless, because it is the study of life... however we all tend to agree that since we, as a society choose to limit ourselves with laws and regulations, there must be some boundaries on science as well. A lot of people want to refer to these boundaries as "ethics"... but who's ethics are these? Who has the authority to draw that razor-thin line on such controversial subjects as the Human Genome project? The public, which is largely uneducated of the purposes of the works? The public that hides behind religion or authority, so as that they do not have to make the decisions themselves? Often our "elected" authority, isn't any better informed of the issues at hand then the next guy...

sorry, didn't mean to go off tangent.

These two lectures on the brain were fascinating. As pretty much everyone, I knew that everything we experience in life is through our brain, but I never went into depth of actually thinking about how we see and sense things. The technical process… its incredible, because now, I am a mystery to myself. As a human being, capable of thought… I always felt that one thing I can count on, and can hold real for myself is me. My body and my mind wouldn’t betray me I always thought. And this lecture made me doubt that. Things as simple as seeing, now are a wonder to me… because I see what I perceive… not what’s necessarily there at times… blah.
Must go ponder on this further.


appreciation and ...
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: //2004-12-16 09:38:57 :
Link to this Comment: 11978

Thanks all for thoughts/comments here and in our two days together last week. "Must go ponder this further" is high praise. And I in turn was excited/challenged in lots of ways by working with you..

Do very much think that some serious (and imaginative) pondering is warranted, both about the products of science (which do indeed now include reasons to be skeptical about onself at any given time) and about science itself. And do think it is particularly important that everybody be involved in that pondering, whether they are themselves "professional" scientists or not. "The public that hides behind religion or authority, so they do not have to make the decisions themselves" is a big problem, in lots of realms including science.

"Oh my non-science majors, we have such a struggle before us. Yes, but "Science can be liberating ....", perhaps for everyone? At least for everyone who recognizes/can enjoy "It is this process of exploration that we live for. Science is the process of exploration and skepticism is what makes it progress"?

"Knowledge is power and with the knowledge that science provides us we become more powerful. With this power we can truly change the world for the better if we ever had the will." And the daring, and the skepticism?

Looking forward to a future that has you all helping to make sense of the place of science in it, and helping others to do so as well.