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Blog 24

Chapter seven, “Creative Conflict,” of Dr. Pennock’s book discusses the differing view points and stances on science between different groups, specifically science and religious groups. When talking about these view points, he puts them in context of different eras such as when both groups display dogmatism. He brings up the fallacy that both ends often used of using one’s authority or power to proclaim what is true, instead of letting the truth speak for itself. This again brings up the importance of the virtues of humility to the evidence and skepticism towards authority, not just for the scientific community but also the religious community. This shows that some of the scientific virtues are usable in other fields and are therefore fluid in a sense. This fluidity and shared characteristics may help bridge the gap between these two groups and allow for civil discord instead of authoritative notions and violent efforts, something that Dr. Pennock also mentioned is a …

Blog 23

The handout the Dr. Pennock passed out was the transcript of an interview between a person and a scientist. Within the transcript, the interviewer asked the scientist varying questions regarding the scientist’s opinion on things such as the necessity of certain scientific virtues, why he ranked them as he did, the affects vices have on science, and the affects of outside entities such as groups that provide funding. The scientist’s rankings and reasonings behind those rankings were logical and well thought out, especially when it involved his own personal experiences. One of his opinions though on a scientific virtue I thought was quite realistic and well addressed was his ranking of the importance of objectivity in science. He stated that he used to think that objectivity was the most important thing in science until he realized how near impossible it is to be completely objective. Not only does he recognize that we as humans can never be perfect in this area but also…

Blog 22

Chapter eight, “Scientific Vices,” of Dr. Pennock’s book is about the importance of a scientist keeping their virtues in balance and not have it in too much or too little of excess in order to not have them become vices. He also discusses what certain virtues becoming vices looks like and the results of having these vices have on the scientific community or on one’s research. The main virtue of Dr. Pennock’s focus is curiosity since it is the pivotal virtue of all other scientific virtues. He shows the destructive effects of when curiosity becomes a vice instead, both mentally for the scientist and on science as a whole. The section that caught my attention the most was “the vice of excess curiosity.” Although the entire reference to Oppenheimer and his reflection on the Gita seemed miss placed in a section about curiosity becoming a vice, it still describes the point that focusing only on one virtue or allowing fulfilling scientific duty to swallow one’s life prevents…

Blog 21

In part five of the book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” Adventures of a Curious Character, some of the most significant and interesting events during Feynman’s time as a physicist after the war were discussed. The first story that Feynman tells about his trip to Japan after the war shows quite a few of his scientific virtues and how they translated into social situations. His desire for unity and diversity in science was shown through his efforts to learn about the Japanese culture and to work with Japan despite everything that happened during the war. After getting to Japan, Feynman wanted to stay at a Japanese hotel instead of an American one and had to spend almost an hour in total to try and convince the host to let him stay at one, which shows his persistence. When he got to the Japanese style hotel, his intellectual courage to face failure helped him to want to try speaking the Japanese phrases he learned and experience some of the social customs, even thou…

Blog 20

The book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” Adventures of a Curious Character pieces together Dr. Richard Feynman’s life as told by him through interview. The first three parts of the chapter describe his early life, his years at Princeton, and his experience during World War II with the military and the atomic bomb research. There were quite a few parts that made up each section but the part that drew my attention the most was “String Beans.” In it Feynman describes his time working at his aunt’s hotel doing various kinds of little jobs. With each one he would try to innovate how the job was done to make it more efficient. One can see that this is a similar up bringing to that of Darwin, starting in something no where near the realm of science or invention that in the end pushed them to that realm. With each invention though, Feynman was met with opposition. Since no one else understood or liked his innovations, he would have to take them apart. This only taught Fey…

Blog 19

As I was thinking about which topics to write the research paper on, I first narrowed it down to what style I want to write the paper in. I decided that I either want to write the paper about a scientist and how his virtues made them a successful scientist or how some virtues are applied in a less discussed area of science. Therefore, one of the topics that I am considering is Isaac Newton and how his virtues of intellectual humility, courage, perseverance, skepticism, and objectivity allowed him to become the exemplary scientist he was. The other is Nikola Tesla and how his virtues helped him to stick with science and inventing despite people mocking him. If I were to go with writing about specific virtues in a field, I would want to talk about how either skepticism and objectivity or intellectual humility and courage are applicable to the field of genetics or microbiology. Personally, I will likely lean towards talking about one of the scientists more but I would be …

Blog 18

Part two of the biography Albert Einstein: Ideas and Opinions described Einstein’s views of politics, government, and pacifism. All of the excerpts about Einstein’s views of these areas are very insightful and important to consider, the one that stood out to me the most and seemed as the best summation of his other accounts of pacifism was the section “The pacifist problem.” In it Einstein talks about people should not rely solely on the government to solve all sorts of problems and deny that the problem involves them in anyway. He goes on to state that it is a person’s job and right to stand up for their morals conscientious objection alongside other organizations with the same ideals, even if that means standing against one’s government. Darwin and McClintock demonstrated this kind of conscientious objection when both stood up for their research and fought for the truths of their discoveries to be made known despite the backlash they had to face from it. In this day …