Why do you do science?

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  • #26
chiro
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Whether mathematics is a science or not is debatable, but I do science for the following reasons:

1) Because I'm curious about the world
2) Because I want to understand what is said about the world and make an informed judgement that at least to me makes sense logically based on intuition as well as facts

Unfortunately one of the downsides with a lack of education is that people in this situation can not often make an informed judgement about what people say and thus be in the position of being "swindled" or lied to about something which may be in the interest of another party.

I don't think being educated makes you an absolute authority on anything no matter how "distinguished" or not you are, but it does allow you to be more confident in having a voice that challenges the current authority if that authority is purposely misleading others with fraudulent claims or bad science.

Its for the above reasons alone that I think education is a great asset to all walks of life so that the "shamans" (be them scientific or religious) don't herd the sheep.
 
  • #27
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I do science because I can see its beauty.

It is indeed a beautiful thing to be able to sort through life's daily issues in a rational manner.

That's why I do science.
 
  • #28
ZapperZ
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http://blogs.nature.com/catalyst/2011/01/10/why-do-we-do-science [Broken]

Zz.
 
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  • #29
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Curiosity is the main reason. I want to do science because I am curious. Plain and simple
 
  • #30
Hepth
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It is indeed a beautiful thing to be able to sort through life's daily issues in a rational manner.

That's why I do science.

I agree.
The study of science alters your point of reference for judging the importance of daily problems and stresses. Unfortunately it leads to some conflicts as I now have a hard time empathizing with those around me who let such small, insignificant(to me) things produce such a profound effect on their emotions. Sometimes I feel like a robot...
 
  • #31
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I've started to figure out that my drive to do science is essentially derived from the fact that I am at essence a nihilist. By this I mean that I can see no intrinsic meaning to my life -besides what I attach post-facto- and can see no thing that is a more fundamental level worth doing than to examine the origin of the universe and how it came to be that we arrived in our situation.

I see myself as having bearing no responsibility of the world I was born into and having no obligation to change it. Frankly, I don't see humanity going in any direction that I see worthwhile within my lifetime. The number and magnitude of our societal problems are simply too complex to resolved any time soon and it seems pretty clear that we are still in the midst of a civilization changing epoch and that it may continue for awhile, or be cut short by humans killing themselves. While I do have some ideas of how I wish civilization could/would work they are always viewed as extremely naive-and in someways are- but I cannot reconcile my idealism with our world.

The point is this viewpoint seems to contrast greatly with some other scientifically minded people I may meet that obtain their scientific drive from a need or want to better humanity. Somehow this makes me feel somewhat guilty but at the same time I view the sole purpose of science to distill objective truths about the universe from empirical observation without any value judgement.

What is the majority opinion in this regard in the scientific community? Obviously some areas of science are more geared towards benefiting humanity than others, are there some fields where the assertion or denial of this duty are explicitly stated as an important part of the field?

I share similar views with regards to existence. Or at least, I used to. As of right now, I've decided to re-assess my views and my life and come to another, or perhaps (who knows?), the same conclusion once I learn more about the world and its history, among other things.

I discussed this very topic with someone, roughly a month ago and that person argued that there is some form of good in men. Among the examples he cited, was the fight against slavery and how it took but a few men for it (slavery) to be abolished. He didn't say there was a defined point to existence but only that there was some kind of goal and that was to "go forward". His personal beliefs and views about the world en gros, somewhat mirrored 'secular humanism', which rejects any form of religious and supernatural dogmas and is about inherently doing 'the right thing', where 'right' is what is 'right' by your own standards. (something like that)

He talked for a good while and I have to say that this was one of the most interesting and somewhat enlightening conversations I had had in a long while but yeah, I do not feel ready, at least, not at this moment as I type, to make a decision concerning this, life in general.
He mentioned 'The Plague' ('La Peste') by Albert Camus and insisted that I read it. I don't really have much to say about this but I will, for sure, once I've done my research and have read the book.
 
  • #32
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I only do science because I'm genuinely interested in the mechanisms behind the phenomena I study. Of course, there are humanitarian benefits, but if I were to be honest, they're not what drives my curiosity.

I have similar views. I am in the sciences because I find the field I am studying fascinating and really do not care for money to be honest. I also find it a way to get away from the stresses of life and imagine various possibilities. The humanitarian aspect of it is just icing on a great cake.

I also like to travel and hope to travel to different parts of the world on, hopefully, every continent to discover more things. I wish all aspects of scientific fields had a bit more respect though.
 

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