Better Science: Specialization

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"If something is philosophically false, it is just as discredited as if it had been disproved in a lab. We often forget this."

My professor, a long-haired hippie type, paused. As usual, he had managed to cover himself in chalk. He had a habit of losing his balance if he held still too long. He let the statement float a moment more before moving on.

It makes sense why we forget fundamental truths about how the world works. We get focused in one area and begin to forget that there's other stuff out there. This fragmentation is the problem of specialization. We no longer see how things are connected.

But they are connected.

Connected Ideas

Let's take Science as an example. Science is not a single field of study, wholly disconnected from everything else. Consider just one obvious force influencing science today... Economics.

You can get money to further your study if you decide to study the "right things." These powerful financial incentives direct science down a particular path, thus muddying the pure waters of research.

I am unaware of the use of the scientific process in food production [GMOs, baby formula, FDA restricted items] or technology development [computers, cellphones, cars]. Far as I know--please, correct me if I'm wrong--these entity-driven advancements are influenced by businesses, not scientific review. Science is used as a tool to drive profits ...not find the truth of how these things can and do affect us, for both good and ill.

The birth industry's "best practices" has a long history of getting stuff wrong in favor of philosophical and economic influences.

In the interest of better science, we must look at our study of the natural world beyond the confines of a specialized field. We must consider our ideas in the broader context of knowledge, understanding and wisdom. At minimum, we must be willing to acknowledge the other factors influencing our views.

I think Mandy's quote from Dr. Ruth Beechick is an excellent reminder. We should strive to learn in a unified way. As we learn the many facets to something, we can being to think about applying that knowledge in a specialized situation.

What do you think of specialized knowledge and study?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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