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Edward Jenner - Edward Jenner the Fallacy of Incredulity...

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Edward Jenner & the Fallacy of Incredulity Leea Felton, Sec.005 Mosaic Humanities Seminar II-Fall 2011 Professor J. Benin
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One might look at the science used today, and take present accomplishments for granted, but it is crucial to note the advancement, and progress we as a people have made. One notable area of concern is vaccinations, and preventative techniques for diseases, which has been studied even in the century before ours. Edward Jenner, a profound scientist, and a pioneer for the vaccination technique, did a substantial amount of research and observations to develop his theory in the late 1700’s. Jenner’s contributions to science are so vast that it is hard to fathom a world without his findings, yet the chance of him not proceeding with his experiments was significant. Using Richard Dawkins term “argument from personal incredulity” I plan to show that Jenner’s lack of this mentality rendered his success. This argument Dawkins mentions is one in which a person tries to build a case from a certain proposition, on the basis of their inability to accept, or explain something (2think.org). Had Edward Jenner at anytime believed his observations were “to obvious” to believe, and decided to concoct a story to explain the cow pox, there would be, little knowledge on smallpox, no scientific method to base research on, and most importantly no smallpox vaccine still worthy of use today. Edward Jenner begins his findings with a letter written to Berkeley Gloucestershire, in which he comments that “In the Age of present scientific investigation it is remarkable that a disease of so peculiar a nature as the cow pox which has appeared in this and some neighboring countries for years, should so long have escaped particular attention. (Jenner, 12)” It is clear from this statement that the disease has already showed itself in several areas, without thorough investigation. Luckily for science Jenner decides to take the appropriate approach to this problem. Instead of creating his own false ideas, of what could be occurring, he did research,
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