Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for January, 2007

Here’s another basic concept for the list: what does it mean for a claim to be falsifiable, and why does falsifiability matter so much to scientists and philosophers of science?

There’s been some blogospheric blowout (see here, here, and here for just a taste) about a recent PETA ad that many viewers find gratuitously sexist. To me, the ad and the reaction to it are most interesting because they raise a larger issue about how we promote our values and how we choose our allies.…

Basic concepts: arguments.

As my first contribution to the growing list of basic terms and concepts, I’m going to explain a few things no one asked about when I opened the request line. But, these are ideas that are crucial building blocks for things people actually did ask about, like falsifiability and critical thinking, so there will be…

Since classes for our Spring semester started just last Wednesday, my approach to the university this morning (from freeway exit to parking garage) involved a huge line of cars, creeping very slowly. It also involved campus police directing the movement of long lines of cars at what is, in normal circumstances, a four-way stop. It…

I took the quiz to find out which science fiction writer I am, and this is the result:

Since the internets are abuzz with discussion about truth, I decided to get some input from the smartest members of my household. Dr. Free-Ride: Wakey wakey! Younger offspring: (groggily) I don’t want to get out of bed yet. Dr. Free-Ride: That’s fine. Can I ask you some questions? Younger offspring: (simultaneously nodding and burrowing further…

Abi at nanopolitan nudged me to have a look at Nature‘s recent article on what has become of targets of recent scientific fraud investigations. He notes that, interspersed with a whole bunch of poster boys for how not to do science, there are at least a couple folks who were cleared of wrongdoing (or whose…

ACS LiveWire is hosting a “blogversation” (don’t shoot me, I didn’t coin it!) about nanoscience and nanotechnology. Here are the panelists:

Larry Moran posts a response to my response to his earlier post on the advisability of putting ethical discussions into science classes. Careful fellow that he is, he’s decided to stick to a single issue per posting, so he starts with “the relationship between science and technology and where ‘ethics’ fits in”. Larry opines: Part…

If you ever wonder why state employees are so marvelously equipped to believe six impossible things before breakfast, this story from Inside Higher Education will provide some context: Who would have thought that doing too well on a test could get you in trouble? Certainly not Tony Williams. After passing a new online test on…