Thursday, September 29, 2005

philosophy

so, i'm a scientist. i'll admit it.

being a scientist is a strange thing because it doesn't just denote that i "do" science for a living; it contains a connotation that i am this person who loves science and reason and knowledge and exploration.

and i do.

but science is this weird thing. and doing science is even stranger. science is NOT this pretty picture that many people have where you adhere to the scientific method and everything works out perfectly. it is not a noble endeavor--it is, in fact, filled with more treachery and self serving ambition than i have seen in many other places. but despite all that, it is, in the end, a linear pursuit. going from one place and seeking another. seeking (or crafting) a place of knowledge, an answer, a truth. so being a scientist usually involves a rather linear, inflexible, logic oriented person.

but doing science. well, that's another story altogether. doing science has got to be one of the most circular, roundabout, ignorant things in the world.

which is why i'm amazed that any scientist actually has the patience to DO science!

2 Comments:

At 10:38 AM GMT-5, Blogger dlamming said...

I'm consistently amazed that we've made as much progress (in the scientific/technological sense, anyway) as we have. Everything we do is basically just stumbling around in the dark, and virtually every significant discovery is an accident - as an example, we can realise that only in the last few years have any "rationally designed" drugs actually worked. In terms of inventions, very little has been done that does not imitate nature in some way.

Which really makes you think about what the 60k grad students currently enrolled in the biological sciences in the USA are really doing in the pursuit of truth and knowledge. :)

 
At 2:04 PM GMT-5, Blogger gtfhwzk said...

I always wanted to be a mad scientist. Are there jobs in mad science these days?

Also, you might enjoy T.S Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions if you haven't already read it. I read it as part of a contemporary philosophy class and it really blew my mind.

Of course, I read it as an outsider in the world of science. You would probably have a much richer enjoyment of it being on the inside.

 

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