As a layman I will ask a naive question

Susan Jane Hogarth sjhogart at unity.ncsu.edu
Thu Sep 19 20:20:41 EST 1996


Mycos wrote:
{snip}
>... I have
> probems seeing how some of the disscussins I've seen  here and how it
> is economically valid given some of the more obvious pressing
> problems.For example , Why do some of you folk study to death, at
> great cost, An organism that has different "ploidy"
> characteristeristics.

Well, other people may offer you practical reasons why we do science; so
I'll offer you a more personal insight...

I do science for (I believe) the same reason artists paint pictures,
write music, and sculpt images. I want to try to understand the world
around me, and to communicate my vision of that world to others.
Sculptors want to understand how the shapes of the world fit together;
novelists want to understand how humans relate to each other; physicists
want to understand how invisible particles interact to create universes,
planets,and people. 

It's easy enough to justify science on economic grounds, but I don't
believe it's neccessary. Do you think scientists are holding a gun to
anyone's head for funding? The arts and sciences have produced most
things of beauty in our society - I'm just glad *enough* people realise
this.

As for wondering how science is "economically valid given some of the 
more obvious pressing problems", think of this: Disneyland, shopping
malls, art galleries, restaurants, air conditioning, *lawns*, are _all_
"uneccessary luxuries" - should we do away with those, too? Think of all
the things you own or enjoy which are "uneccessary luxuries" in the
great scheme of things. Perhaps some luxuries *are* neccessary....

Susan



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