Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Science and Philosophy

In modern physics, much of the research being done is on extreme conditions. The result is more and more strange and hard to believe theories. One of the hardest to understand is the theory of Quantum Mechanics. What is the role of the scientist to look into the implications of science? My question is does a scientific theory need a philosophy explaining the science, or should science be seperate from philosophy. Mainly the idea of the quantum wave function, since the wave function has to be collapsed but currently there is no theory of why quantum wave functions are collapsed.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ethics in Awakenings

Hey all! So in a last ditch effort to post on ethics, I decided to talk about ethics in the movie Awakenings, which we're currently watching in class. I thought the conversation between Dr. Sayer and the previous neuropsychologist who had worked with these patients was really interesting, especially when the first psychologist said that they cannot be thinking, because that would destroy his sense of morality *ie, he wouldn't be able to live with that knowledge, which then informed his ethics in how he treated those patients; he made it ethically permissable to avoid treating them at all. Another ethical dilemma raised is the dosage of l-dopa that he gave to the patient; this far exceeded what his supervising doctor allowed, and what he legally had permission from the mother to give, but because he morally felt compelled, thinking it would help, he administered it anways. It will be interesting to see how this plays out through the film, and what further ethical issues are raised, along with seeing how others will treat him *ie- will he be punished?* when he acts on morality, rather than ethics.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fermat's Last Problem

Hey, this is actually Michael. I can’t post on my own account, so I am posting on Kyle's.
I don’t know how many classes other than Malone’s watched the movie about the proving of Fermat’s Last Problem, but I wanted to post on it anyways. I just thought it was interesting that the people in the movie were just so much more immersed and knowledgeable in mathematics, that it went over all of our heads, and the we thought it was funny the way they talked about and interacted with math. We had no idea what they were talking about for most of the time, and the mathematicians talked about the math as simple and elegant, when the class had no idea what was going on. So this leads me to my question: How does each area of knowledge create its own culture?

Monday, February 19, 2007


Should the data gathered from the Nazi Death Camp Experiments be allowed to be used?

I say yes.
1. Data has no ethics in and of itself. Apples are red has no moral implications, no matter how many apples you threw at people to convice them that they are red. The data gathered from the experiments, although from undeniably evil means, are amoral and cannot be held to any moral standards as it is just a peice of information.
2. Although some of the data may be skewed, there is no way we can get other data to prove that it is skewed. This is the basis of all scientific theories. They can never be true, they can only be disproven. As soon as the data from the experiments is disproven then it can be discounted. Currently it is the best data we have, so we need to deal with it.
3. It does not set a precedent. All that we say by using the data is that we need data. There is no condoning of the Nazis in using their data anymore than touring their death camps is equivalent to reopening them.
4. The data has already saved lives.

Argue away!

Monday, February 12, 2007

South African Plays

In theatre class lately, we have been talking about African theatre, and one of our units was on South Africa. I found it interesting that after apartheid was ended, there was a dryspell of theatric material. It seems as though every playwright in South Africa had been writing out against apartheid, and now that it was over, they had a lack of material to write with. I guess my question is this: How much can an piece of art: be it a painting, a book, or a play, affect a culture's ideas and understandings?

Monday, February 05, 2007


So in the "Censorship and its Progeny" packet we just read it talked about a controversial art show in Anchorage Alaska. It focused on Dread Scott's piece "What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag?". In this piece there is a U.S. flag lying on the floor and a comment book on the shelf above it. But to leave a comment as to What is the proper way to display a U.S. flag? a person must step on the flag. My question to you is would you walk on the flag, and what comment would you write in the comment book? I know what I would write.
I would say: To me the flag symbolizes the United States (that part is obvious). But to me it is the 50 stars in the corner of blue that truly represent the concept. By having the stars close like that it represents the closeness of the United States. However, because of this I have preminitions about having the flag high on a mast. Although I understand that this is displaying the symbol of America proudly for everyone to see, to me it makes the united states seem unattainable. Like it is something we strive for but never quite reach. As if it is in our dreams, but can never quite come true. One example for this view is the division between red and blue states. It is always a contest to see how many red and blue. Thus we are never fully united. By putting the flag on the ground it brings the dream of being fully united much closer to me, and everyone. For that reason as I write this comment I am standing right on the stars so that I can feel connected to everyone in every state through the stars.
So although this is a really long entry I would love to hear what everyone else would do and say.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Is there a fundamental difference between the male and female brain?

Can we claim that, in general, men are inherently better at math and science, or is the disparity between numbers of men and women in scientific fields due only to cultural bias?
If it's only because of cultural bias, then why did that bias develop in the first place?

I think this issue is interesting, and I can think of several good arguments for both sides. However, I've noticed that those arguments are based mostly on emotion-- the main premise behind most of the points is that the arguer wants their point of persuasion to be true. For example, I would really like to think that men and women are intellectually equal in all areas. I based my decision on what I wanted to be true, and only found supporting evidence afterwards. When responding, try to see if you're doing the same thing.