essay 1 - Jared Hartzman Professor Reppy Science in the...

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Jared Hartzman 2/18/09 Professor Reppy Science in the American Polity Essay Topic Number 3 In his article from the New York Times, “Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy,” by Dennis Overbye, it is argued that the rightful place for science in our society is “On a Pedestal.” Overbye states that he believes that critics give science a difficult time because, “Science teaches facts, not values… It destroys myths and robs the universe of its magic and mystery” (Overbye, Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy). The reason science deserves to be placed upon a pedestal in our modern society is because it does indeed teach values, values such as honesty, doubt, respect for evidence, openness, accountability and tolerance and hunger for opposing viewpoints. These values are the same as those that make for a democracy. Democracy, above all else, values honesty, respect, openness, and debate between opposing points of view. It is because of this that Overbye believes that for science and democracy, one cannot survive without the other. There are several other articles that have been covered in this class that have some relevance to Overbye’s argument. These include Alvin Weinberg’s essay, “Science and Trans-science,” Daniel Kelves essay, “New Revolt Against Science,” and Ronald Doel’s, “The Military’s Influence on the Environmental Sciences in America after 1945.”
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Trans-scientific questions, according to Weinberg, are questions that can be stated in the language of science but cannot be answered by science. This is science that deals with questions that could conceivably be answered “according to strict scientific cannons,” if enough time and money were spent on them, but to do so would be impractical (Weinberg, pg 211). These types of questions often
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