A Colby Community Web Site

Author: Katie Tuohy (Page 1 of 2)

Climate Change and the Two Cultures

C.P. Snow’s identified philosophical divide between scientists and what he terms “literary humanists” has been the basis for many methods of education. The attempts to bridge the gap have included new ways of teaching, a “third culture,” and even Snow himself. Recently, a new potential bridge between the cultures has surfaced: a common goal. There is no question that climate change has effects that apply to everyone inhabiting Earth. Science has shown for decades that humans will suffer dire consequences if we do not implement sustainable practices and decrease our overall carbon footprint. Now, the question is not whether climate change exists, but how to combat the effects of a rising global temperature. So, how does climate change bridge the gap between cultures in terms of mutual collaboration? In what ways do scientists tend to approach the problem, and does that differ from their humanist counterparts? At the surface, the simplest and most logical answer would be that scientists and engineers utilize their backgrounds and respective fields to develop sustainable technologies. On the other hand, literary humanists may exercise their positions and educations to write policy, produce news, and educate the masses. Their writing craft makes it easy to relate scientific data to the general public and inspire change through persuasive pieces. While these approaches differ fundamentally, overlap between the two occurs surprisingly often, which reflects the necessary collaboration between the two cultures in facing the problem of climate change. Continue reading

The Science Community

There are often disparities in the way given structures or ideas should be and the way that they are actually implemented or carried out. Mertonian principles of science- communism, universalism, disinterestedness, and organized skepticism- succinctly outline the way that science should function. However, there are countless examples of people who prioritize their own fame and reputation over the good of the greater scientific community. Thus, while Mertonian principles successfully characterize the way science should be, they do not portray the way the field exists in reality. Continue reading

Feminism in Science

In the conclusion of her article “From ‘Engineeresses’ to ‘Girl Engineers’ to ‘Good Engineers,’” Amy Bix points out a surprising inconsistency in the tendency of women engineers to consider themselves feminists. Though many “embraced the philosophy of feminism,
others actively rejected the label” (43).  I find this contradiction odd due to their position as women in what was a traditionally masculine field. Despite their own perceptions of themselves, these women who discard the term “feminist” from their identity still function as feminist role model for younger generations of girls. Continue reading

Nuclear Weaponry and Nationalism

The manufacturing and introduction of nuclear power to global wars instigated a series of detrimental effects that lasted long after the end of World War II. The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a direct effect of the toxic nationalism that triggered production of the weaponry initially, but the cultural divides and polarization of economic and political ideologies that expanded as the Cold War ensued was another underlying effect that we can still trace in today’s society. Continue reading

Research Proposal- Climate Change and the Two Cultures

C.P. Snow’s identified philosophical divide between scientists and what he terms “literary humanists” has been the basis for many methods of education. The attempts to bridge the gap have included new ways of teaching, a “third culture,” and even Snow himself. However, I propose that recently a new potential bridge between the cultures has emerged: a common problem. Because the effects of climate change apply to everyone inhabiting the Earth, the two cultures have been and continue to be forced to collaborate in order to make any progress towards universal use of sustainable technology and practices. Continue reading

Science as a Structure

The leaders of science throughout history have come from affluent backgrounds in Western cultures. This trend is not a coincidence, but rather supports the notion that science exists as a societal and cultural structure. It is a school of thought and practices that are held in high regard by a specific group of people in a geographic area. Continue reading

Societal Acceptance of Science

One of the great struggles in humanity is the difficulty with which we can adapt personal beliefs or ideas to include new information.  Proposed changes in mindset are often perceived as an attack on the person or institution themselves, rather than a simple presentation of fact or alternative point of view. The struggle that Darwin experienced while attempting to reconcile his ideas about evolution with the preconceived societal notion that God is solely responsible for creation conveys how difficult it is for humans to adapt to new perspectives or ways of thinking. Continue reading

Fire and Frankenstein

Frankenstein is at its core a representation of the duality of scientific progress. Mary Shelley’s warning that the pursuit of knowledge loses it’s honor and becomes dangerous when pushed to the extreme manifests itself through the symbolism of fire. The ability of fire to provide warmth from a distance and the converse effect of burning when one gets too close appears multiple times in the book, and even relates to the alternative title of the book, The Modern Prometheus. Continue reading

Empirical Evidence in the Scientific Revolution

Though Karl Popper’s differentiation between science and pseudo-science was written during the 20th century, his argument is rooted in the patterns of the scientific process during the Scientific Revolution. While simple observation and contemplation were considered reliable methods of science prior to the revolution, empirical evidence and a general atmosphere of skepticism dominated the theories of the Scientific Revolution. It is this shift in process that strengthens the credibility and impact of the discoveries made in the natural sciences during the revolution. Continue reading

« Older posts

© 2024 ST112 A Fall 2018

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑