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Frankness = scientist?

  1. Jun 28, 2009 #1
    So I was letting my mind wander freely for a moment and I thought about something. Amongst all of my friends I am the most frank. I always say whats on my mind, and I'm not afraid to tell someone the truth, even if it might hurt.

    I attribute this to being in science. It's just our way of noting observations and facts. "The ball is blue", "The sun is bright", "My genitals are excited".

    Most of my other friends are outside the realm of science. My 2 best friends for example are in business and finance. They're usually fairly reserved when it comes to observations.

    Both my parents for example are in science. My mom does cancer research, and my dad is a clinical chemist. Anytime we go out somewhere to eat or whatnot, immediately either of them will not be afraid to pop up with something like "This food is cold, the waiter is an idiot" etc. as the case may be.

    What do you guys think? Is being frank a characteristic of being a scientist?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2009 #2


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    No, being a jerk... i mean frank person is definitely not confined to the world of scientists. I know plenty of people who are very frank that aren't inclined towards the sciences.
  4. Jun 28, 2009 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    If true, it might explain why many people think scientists lack social skills.
  5. Jun 28, 2009 #4
    Maybe you're frank because your parents are frank
  6. Jun 28, 2009 #5


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    Well to be frank, I think you're just anti-scientist.

    just joking!:biggrin:
  7. Jun 28, 2009 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    To tell you the truth, I am known for saying what I think and letting the chips fall where they may. :biggrin: At one point I even had a bunch of rednecks threatening to kill me for defending environmentalism. Eventually I had to involve the department of justice.

    Moral of the story: If you are going to be blunt, be ready to pay the price for it. Not everyone appreciates honesty.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  8. Jun 28, 2009 #7
    It is perhaps related to the way in which people think and this manner of thinking tends to steer people towards certain fields and occupations.
  9. Jun 28, 2009 #8


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    I see it differently. I see it as how much someone wants their opinion to be known... in a sense, how self-centered they are. I think there's a big difference between observing things and saying what one observes.
  10. Jun 28, 2009 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    It depends on how one values the information. Some things are worth speaking up about.

    -Albert Einstein

    Also, you are assuming that we are discussing a matter of opinion. What I can't tolerate is when people are stating falsehoods about important subjects, as facts.
  11. Jun 28, 2009 #10


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    I actually only associate 'frankness' with opinions. Can you really be frank about something that is a fact? "To be frank, U238's abundance is 0.2%". To me, and I suppose others can feel differently, you can't say someones being frank with a fact. To me, starting a statement with "to be frank" is the same as "to be honest" and it feels like you're going to state an opinion. Then again that's just how I see it.

    As for ol' Einstein, actions do not equal words and even if want to say that speaking can be put into that context of "actions", which I could agree with, there's a difference between "great evils" and saying, for example, your friend's new girlfriend is a pain in the ***.
  12. Jun 28, 2009 #11


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    I wouldn't call n=1 a representative sample.

    As a scientist you always have many conditions to take into account. The ball is not blue, the ball absorbs a spectrum of colors that lead us to perceive it as blue (it might be perceived as a different color by the color-blind). If anything it makes me more cautious of making straightforward statements.
  13. Jun 28, 2009 #12
    It amuses me greatly that most people think that they're blunt, where what they really are is just plain rude. There's a difference to saying the truth and say, running your mouth off like an imbecile. I've seen this among so many people who think their rudeness-cum-'bluntness' makes them incredibly witty and independent-minded people and it just makes them look like baboons.

    "Those pants don't flatter your figure and make you look more on the chubby side" is blunt.

    "Your *** looks really fat in those pants" is rude.

    Apparently this silly attitude is passed down through the generations? Be rude if you like, it's a free country after all, but try to pass off lack of manners off as being 'scientific'.
  14. Jun 28, 2009 #13
    "Don't flatter your figure" and "on the chubby side" are wordings that are meant to soften an otherwise harsh comment. So not particularly blunt. "A**" and "Fat" tend to be considered rude terms and are usually used specifically to be rude.

    "Your butt looks big in those pants" would probably more likely be described as blunt, aswell as rude by some.
  15. Jun 28, 2009 #14
    To be blunt to me is to just come out with a statement, as opposed to skirting round the issue.

    Like politicians, you ask them a question, they don't give a direct answer they aimlessly wander around it and you haven't got a clue what thier on about.
    "Did you spend 1 million pounds on a fountain"
    "Well we used public money to improve the ....."
    To be blunt would be:
    "Did you spend 1 million pounds on a fountain"

    Although it is generally considered to involve a 'rude' statement as in the above 'butt' examples. To be blunt is just to get straight to the point, it's just most of the time it's when someone asks a question which could have an offensive/hurtful answer. You generally respond with "I'll be frank" or "to be blunt" and just come out with what your actually thinking as opposed to giving some bullsh*t answer which doesn't quite get to the point.

    I like people to be frank with me, and I try to be as frank as possible to people when I speak to them.
    "can we build it"
    "how much is it going to cost"
    However I make sure I don't say anything to rude, speaking without thinking if you like. If the food in a restaurant is cold, by all means speak up about it, but don't shout the waiter is crap, that's what a tip is for :biggrin: (in the UK a tip is optional, don't know about the states and their 'service charges').
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  16. Jun 28, 2009 #15
    Its optional. Some few places automatically add a 'gratuity' charge to your check, most often they only do this if you have a particularly large group of people.
    There are people out there though that feel servers are entitled to tips and any one who does not pay it (even if the service is not so good) is a tightwad.
  17. Jun 28, 2009 #16
    Frankness = scientist?

    Perhaps not.
    Why was it necesary to write that article in signature then?

    Ronald K. Chesser and Robert J. Baker, 2006, Growing Up with Chernobyl,
    American Scientist, Volume 94 pp 524-529

    No longer free on the net but http://www.crdf.org/usr_doc/Legacy_of_Chornobyl_--_Executive_Summary.pdf [Broken]

    So what then is the truth? The result of research, or that want the boss wants to hear? Or that what the publics demands to be the truth? Or whatever it is that generates research budget.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  18. Jun 28, 2009 #17
    Well this post just went right over my head.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  19. Jun 28, 2009 #18
    I believe he is intimating that scientists have been known to skirt around the truth and not be particularly frank or direct.
  20. Jun 28, 2009 #19
    Thanks. I would agree then, some of the most 'frank' people I've known are engineers, and some of the worse bull s****** are psychologists who don't half babble on.
  21. Jun 28, 2009 #20
    It is not things, but opinions about things that have absolutely no existence, which have so deranged mankind!

    -Friedrich Nietzsche
  22. Jun 28, 2009 #21
    And we're back at square one, right over my head. I kind of see a link to the OP, but, nah it's gone again. What does this have to do with being frank with someone?
  23. Jun 28, 2009 #22
    I used to think that expressing my jerk-like opinions was valid because I like to be logical, scientific, etc. Afterall, it seemed better than the alternative of supressing my true feelings with white lies and euphimisms. Later I came to see that there is a third alternative, which is to not express my jerk-like opinions (and try not to have them in the first place) because they are meaningless i.e. opinions about things which have no existence, like Nietzsche said.

    It's the difference between merely supressing my opinions because I'm weak, and becoming stronger so that the need to express meaningless opinions is seen as weak and unnecessary.
  24. Jun 28, 2009 #23
    I'm pretty sure the 'butt' in the above examples exists. :biggrin:

    Everyone has an opinion on everything they see, it's not something you can stop no matter how much you may deny it, it still exists. Why are jerk-like opinions scientific and logical?
  25. Jun 28, 2009 #24
    I disagree, using meditation and philosophy we can train our minds to ignore irrelevant data. Also it is well known in psychology that the human brain is an expert at forgetting and dismissing data that it considers to be irrelevant.

    I don't think they are, science and logic alone do not distinguish jerk opinions from non-jerk opinions. This is used by some people as a defence for their jerk opinions.
  26. Jun 28, 2009 #25
    When you see something, you immediately form an opinion. You can ignore that opinion (meeting a person for example) and re-evaluate it once you know the subject better.
    I don't see why the latter part is relevant. So what? We forget a lot. And? Nothing to do with opinions or being frank.

    I refer you to your own statement: "I used to think that expressing my jerk-like opinions was valid because I like to be logical, scientific, etc."
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