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Mertonian Norms

The ideas that Robert Merton introduced allowed for more collaboration within the field of science. CUDOS  was a set of “norms” that promoted a higher level of thinking within the science community.  As we saw in our example in class, there were examples in history that would’ve benefitted from certain CUDOS norms.  As beneficial as the Mertonian norms seem, I would like to talk about the potential detriments that these ideas may cause.

First, although communalism may promote collaboration and ideas of teamwork, it also reduces incentive. Why would one scientist want to go above and beyond to find a scientific breakthrough when he can merely rely on other to further his work? There is no personal drive to be the best as all findings will be rewarded to the group of people and not individuals. Universalism is a concept that would allow for a more inclusive space. Letting anyone contribute to science would provide more literature, but the quality of work would be in question. How could you take a young scientist’s word if he is not established in his field yet. It allows for more contributions but there must be some sort of qualifications before someone can publish their work. Again, disinterestedness is an idea that reduces incentive. In order to be successful, I believe that you need to have a genuine interest in whatever you study. Finally, organized skepticism is one of the norms that I believe is hardest to poke holes in. I agree with the idea of peer review, it helps at all levels, The only negative that I foresee is people who are established in science might become upset with others criticizing their work and findings that they worked so hard to produce.

Women in STEM

A common misconception about sexism in the field of science is that it must be explicit. Many are quick to argue that hardly anybody literally tells women that they can’t become doctors, or they can’t go into engineering, so there must be inherent equality for everyone in these fields. What they fail to realize, however, is the toxic environment surrounding women in STEM fields and the ridiculous standards that they are upheld to compared to their male counterparts. Women in science are quick to become the scapegoats for error and their intentions often misdiagnosed. While we have come a long way as a society, from literally disallowing women to enter these fields to kind of tolerating it, to very recent movements encouraging it, there clearly is still an inherent lack of equal treatment among men and women.

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Women in Science

Historically science has been a field dominated by males. There is no simple explanation to this phenomenon, but the way human society has worked is that men are encouraged to pursue science while women are guided to focus on other areas of academia. On countless occasions women have made significant contributions to science, and although this trend is changing, it remains a male dominated field.  Continue reading

Gender Barriers in Science

From its inception, science has been an inherently masculine field. God created the earth, “Mother Earth”, and since then,  we have challenged  Mother Earth and defaced it.  In the science community, men have consistently tried to “solve” earth’s theories. Through Amy Bix’s slide we see that women have been pushed away from science, we see that women were allowed on the grounds of technical schools just to fulfill the needs of the men who were studying engineering. Marketing schemes were predicated off of the belief that women did not have the same ability as men to grasp engineering topics. The field has become increasingly accepting as time has passed, now there are not as many barriers to enter for women. It is still not an even playing field, even if men don’t admit it, I believe that powerful men in science will ask more clarifying questions to women than they would to a man.

Ending sexism in science–in any field is not something that can be done with the snap of a finger. It has to end on an individual to individual basis. Every person is brought up differently and has their own feelings towards gender equality. I think the best way to end institutional sexism is to have a powerful voice leading the fight. A man in the science field, someone who is well established and respected has to usurp a role of leadership and convey to his fellow colleagues that this inequality must end.

The idea of sexism baffles me, I don’t understand how anyone can immediately discredit someone’s work based off of their gender. Bill Belichick of the Patriots is notorious for signing players who have had off the field issues and is often criticized for taking these players (Josh Gordon). But he does this because they can play, and people want to play for him because he’s the best coach in the league. The same can be said about the field of science. It doesn’t matter if a woman, a Hispanic, even a child writes a study–if their findings are significant they should be respected. Take politics and gender barriers out of the equation and respect their hard work.

Women in STEM Draft

A common misconception about sexism in the field of science is that it must be explicit. Many are quick to argue that hardly anybody literally tells women that they can’t become doctors, or they can’t go into engineering, so there must be inherent equality for everyone in these fields. What they fail to realize, however, is the toxic environment surrounding women in STEM fields and the ridiculous standards that they are upheld to compared to their male counterparts. Women in science are quick to become the scapegoats for error and their intentions often misdiagnosed. While we have come a long way as a society, from literally disallowing women to enter these fields to kind of tolerating it, to very recent movements encouraging it, there clearly is still an inherent lack of equal treatment among men and women.

Continue reading

Global Wars and the Medical Field

Blood drives nowadays are a casual event where you can walk in, have a nurse draw your blood in a couple of seconds, and leave with a cookie in hand, satisfied that you’ve just contributed vital “red gold” that could potentially save someone’s life. It’s a simple procedure that requires little dedication and requires no actual interaction between the donor and the receiver of the blood, a far cry from the blood transfusions of the early twentieth century. Continue reading

Separating Science and Religion

There have been times in the history of science where scientists where hesitant to come forward with their findings. After Albert Einstein helped create the Atom bomb that effectively decided WWII, he was quoted saying that he wish he had never had a hand in causing that much destruction. Although this was a massive breakthrough in science, it was overshadowed by the ethical dilemma that it had caused. It opened the gates for other scientists to emulate this weapon of mass destruction and potentially allow it to enter the hands of the wrong group or country. Charles Darwin went through a similar experience with his work regarding evolution. In the excerpt from a Darwin documentary that we watched in class, Darwin had a similar moment of regret when talking with his colleagues. He realized that he was going against the Christian belief that God created man in his image. In order to continue to advance scientific theories, people have to be daring. Comfort zones must be forgotten, criticism comes with the responsibility, and if you cannot handle that, pass the responsibility to someone else who could. Darwin pushing forward with his theory was yet another example of why Christianity and Science should be separated.

It is surprising that Darwin was the first man who had the intellectual curiosity to think about the patterns of humanity. It’s easy to say that other scientists must have had similar ideas regarding natural selection before Darwin because his theory makes so much sense. Different birds have different beaks to adapt to their environment, yes, this makes perfect sense. But, it’s easy to say that now because I have been exposed to this idea and accept it as fact– maybe the stern faith in God’s word deterred other scientists from even exploring this realm. The overwhelming majority of the UK at this time were devout Catholics. In addition to this, the heads of the Catholic Church had a more prominent role than they currently. Releasing a doctrine denouncing the word of God could have been something that put Charles Darwin out of a job. This is not something that a scientist who is quite literally trying to explain the human race should have to deal with. There’s enough time devoted to research and testing, never mind the added stress from worrying about public opinion.

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