A Colby Community Web Site

Tag: Science

Divided Innovation

While CP Snow’s observations about the lines dividing the “two cultures” in academia absolutely exist, I do not think that they are rooted in the areas he identifies. He see’s himself to walk both sides of the line, a false portrayal of unbiasedness which is immediately undermined by the qualities he describes of the two sides. Every personality type has pros and cons, which he presents with balance in regards to the scientists. However when looking through the biased lens of one of these personality types, which he clearly is, one can only see the negatives. His analysis of how literary intellectuals are, and how scientists perceive them, are both almost exclusively negative even if they are presented as positives. His generalizations focus on personality issues that are most of the time products of insecurities rooted in the exact same conditions in life, for better or worse, that gave this personality type the “active mind” that did not allow them the liberty to focus on the rigorous and often monotonous study of the maths and sciences without distraction. However, if someone always has issues and questions on the forefront of their mind, the creative-problem solving skills developed over time are exactly the ones potentially valuable to scientific progress.

As it was taught to me, science is just a method of making discoveries, either for the purpose of knowledge or innovation. Scientists are people that are intellectually well equipped to carry out this method in specific subject areas. However, ideas must guide all hypotheses in the first place. Isn’t this naturally a qualitative, creatively based pursuit? There is clearly a social divide between the personality types that spawn from these areas of study, but I don’t think the lack of respect comes from the humanities side. Whereas a government major may have a broad, memorized understanding of the inner-working of a nation’s government as it is, they still respect and encourage those who want to study the theory behind these government systems. This is because there is an understanding that this theory is what guides new policy, and can defend the old when supported by numbers. The fact that there is this mutual respect in government courses completely refutes the argument that the literary intellectuals are the ones leading this cultural divide.

I have never met a humanities major that looked down on science majors, outside of feeling as if they are closed minded due to the lack of respect and patronization they themselves received. There is no denying science is a time consuming and demanding area of study. Conversely I have met very few Math or Science majors who respect the way that humanities majors think, both in academics and life. Some have gone as far to directly call them out in the civil discourse and in public social discussion. Unlike Government majors, scientists typically don’t even go so far to entertain the proposed hypothesis of humanities majors if there is not sufficient evidence, which there rarely is for progressive ideas because that’s exactly what a hypothesis is supposed to be. This is because there is no respect for the course of study and if you cant put it in proper scientific terms apparently ones empirical or philosophical evidence bears no weight.

A healthy relationship would be for Philosophy to hypothesize science, science to verify philosophy, and government to implement these verified theories. I feel as if a literary-based education of scientific history and principles, which I hope to receive from STS, is the perfect area to bridge this gap for a more productive relationship between these two sides. With this considered, I find it disheartening that I am the only Humanities major in 2 periods of Intro to STS. While I understand the intimidation, if humanity subjects are ever to take a role in progress, more majors should become versed in areas of science.

 

 

The Educational Divide Between Science and Literature

C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures discusses the cultural divison between the field of science and the humanities. He begins with a historical assessment of the respective fields of study and their degree of influence throughout time. From there, he goes on to explain how science is the more applicable to our current society and that it will continue to gain prevalence in the future. As a liberal arts student I am predisposed to oppose this argument, however when I think about it honestly, I have to admit that the study of information, data, and analysis will proceed to play an increasingly relevant role in our daily lives.

I believe that in the coming decades, the fields of science and technology will continue to become a necessary element of our every day routines. The decline of hard-copy, handwritten material is a major indicator of this. With electronic substitutes for everything springing up everywhere we look, it is clear that a thorough understanding and acceptance of science is absolutely inevitable. Almost every position for current college graduates looking to enter the workforce requires a high level of comfort with a wide array of computer systems, data manipulation, and numerical analysis. I expect this trend to continue and accelerate along with the abundant increases in technology and science.

However, I do presume that while it is still quite a while down the road, the humanitarian studies will begin to adapt and become integrated with technological sciences. Areas like law, publishing, and literature in general will begin to become intertwined with new programs and systems and allow them to regain a prominent role in our society. Programs will arise in which certain logical and qualitative resources can be analyzed and produced. The advances in science and technology will allow certain decisions that were once determined by human logic, to be simulated by data analysts and scientists. Soon articles once crafted by humans to break news, stories, and provide outlook on current events will by synthesized by programs that are able to analyze the information and churn out literature for consumers.

This is not to say that the creative ability of humans will cease to remain relevant, I simply believe that in the near future many traditionally human crafts will be met by technological automation. Much like many fields have recently been forced to adapt and redefine their role in an era of internet and technology, the field of humanities will surely begin to do so. It is difficult to predict the way in which this pivot will result, but it is simply matter of time before the natural process of evolution causes this realm of intellect to remodel itself.

I fundamentally agree that a thorough understanding of literature and science is essential in order to develop a complete and well-rounded education. The current reign of technology in our generation may make it seem as though the former is becoming obsolete, but I expect that within our lifetime we will witness a return of liberal arts prominence.

Women in Science

Women in science

 

Women have stereotypes in many cultures that have historically been taken as negative traits to keep them out of many fields, however I feel that even if many of these stereotyped gender roles have lead to biological differences over time, I think that these differences in thinking would add value to the modern work force rather than retract from it. In “The Classical Debate” the author notes “Women were viewed as essentially evil creatures. This perception can be traced back to the writings of the eighth-century poet Hesiod, who provided us with the story of Pandora and her box. In his poem Works and Days he described human misfortunes as beginning from a woman’s curiosity: Pandora opens the box she has been told not to open and lets out “pains and evil” (cited in Anderson and Zinsser 2000, 1: 49) I find this similar to the story of adam and eve which leads the prejudice against women as evil in Christian culture. However it is the “woman’s curiosity” that would make women most valuable to scientific pursuits.

I believe that women’s curious trains of thought have likely sparked many scientific discoveries throughout history with their spouses or another relation in the scientific community. I think Pythagoren theory makes the most sense of the philosophies presented. “The importance of harmony, balance, and reason was a crucial aspect of Pythagorean philosophy, and the nature of the human soul was a central concern. According to Pythagoras, the soul had three parts: intelligence, reason, and passion. Diogenes Laertius, writing in the third century a.d., informs us that Pythagoras stated: “Reason is immortal, all else is mortal” (Diogenes Laertius 1941, 2: 347). Pythagorean theory believes that at the base both men and women have equal capacity for “intelligence, reason and passion” as Men. Being that these are the most crucial factors for productivity it would follow that Men and Women have equal potential value to the American workforce. However I think it is also acceptable to take gender into consideration when determining the positions where women would reach their highest value potential. If in the Pythagorean principal of opposites men and women are to have many different character traits and mental dispositions, having equal numbers of men and women in academic fields like science would serve to provide the balance and harmony valued in this philosophy. It would also increase the intellectual diversity and increase the value of everyone in the process as their ideas are developed by being challenged and put to test. As

Thomas R. Martin asserted, “The inclusion of women in the ruling class of Plato’s utopian city-state represented a startling departure from the actual practice of his times. Indeed, never before in Western history had anyone proposed—even in fantasy—that work be allocated in human society without regard to gender” (Martin 1996, 181). Whether justified or not I think that it would make sense that the roles that women have been subjected to throughout history would have some impact on the evolutionary development of the female gender in whole, this is not to say that these skills can not be applied to the modern workforce.

Aristotle defines these distinctions clearly.

In all cases, excepting the bear and leopard, the female is less spirited than the male…. With all other animals, the female is softer in disposition, is more mischievous, less simple, more impulsive, and more attentive to the nurture of the young; the male, on the other hand, is more spirited, more savage, more simple and less cunning. The traces of these characteristics are more or less visible everywhere, but they are especially visible where character is more developed, and most of all in man. The fact is, the nature of man is the most rounded off and complete, and consequently in man the qualities above referred to are found most clearly. 

While some of Aristotle’s analysis may have merit, he see’s many otherwise positive qualities in only a negative light. According to Aristotle, both male and female possessed a soul with the ability to reason; however, in the female the irrational power dominated. This is the opposite of the male. Furthermore, although the woman, unlike the slave, has a “deliberative faculty,” it is “without authority” (1260a 14; Aristotle 1984, 2: 14). Woman’s described qualities seems to make them the perfect kind of innovative and creative thinkers that break outside of the normal way of thinking and dream.

 

 

 

 

Time to Welcome Women

Lawyers and feminist have attempted to fix the problem, and social scientist have studied it, but women continuously remain outnumbered in the science and technology fields. Since before the Scientific Revolution women have been unfairly turned away from these jobs. Science and technology have been continuously male-dominated, and It is crucial to establish a stronger female presence in both fields.     Continue reading

The Rise of Women in Science & Technology

Aristotle’s claim that men are complete, perfect beings, while women are simply incomplete males is an inherently wrong claim that has regrettably permeated the field of science and technology to this very day. The recent scandals in Silicon Valley with companies like Uber and Google have highlighted this issue. Despite many companies today working hard to promote a message of inclusion, equal opportunity, and open mindedness, many of these companies are no different than the sexists of the past. I do believe that there are fundamental differences between men and women, but I can firmly state that these differences are limited to the physical attributes.

I am a male and I am absolutely horrible at math and science. Since elementary I have struggled with numbers, data, and analysis. However, I have always been strongly drawn towards the humanities, it is something that basically just clicked with me from an early age. In class on Wednesday we discussed how teachers in elementary school tend to push boys towards math and science subjects and for that reason men are typically stronger in those areas. That talk struck a chord with me. I can not begin to express how much I hate dealing with numbers. I have loved my time at Colby because for once in my life I have had the opportunity to pursue my true passion, politics. As a government major, I am taking classes that are genuinely interesting to me and applicable to my interests. I have also met women here who are so skilled and strong in mathematical subjects. I believe that the supposed male disposition to math and science is a complete fabrication. While the statistics may point to more men excelling in these fields may disagree with me, I am of the opinion that humans have the ability to determine their own interests and it is much more of a “nurture” factor than “nature”.

I contend that males are pressured into certain career paths due to the societal construct that men are expected to be the breadwinners in typical American households. Careers in finance, business, and technology are typically high paying and for that reason men are drawn to careers in those fields. This is an issue that I have struggled with while considering a career in the political realm, I have felt pressured to find a career that will allow me to provide a stable financial background for my family. As the role of women continues to evolve, I believe that this tragic construct will continue to diminish.

For the longest time women have been expected to run the “home”, care for children, and take jobs that allow them to play a major role at home. This is finally changing, women are now able to prioritize their careers and pursue careers in high-paying sectors. This development will certainly show that women are taking to new careers in the business and science industries and the male monopoly will begin to diminish. I could not be more excited by this development and I am excited by what the future holds for the role of women in the workplace.

© 2023 ST112 A2018

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑