POINT: You’re All Scientists! / COUNTERPOINT: Don’t Fucking Lie To These People

By , in Opinion slider Student Voices on .

Point

You’re All Scientists!

By: Professor Deborah DeBousse, UCLA Biology

Come on now, class. Think back about your past few days. What did you notice? Did you ask any questions? Solve any problems?

I see you all have your hands raised, and guess what?

You’re all scientists. Each and every one of you!

That’s what scientists do. We observe things. We ask questions. We wonder “why?” and collect data. We find solutions. We search for meaning.

I bet you didn’t think it was that easy to be a scientist. I bet you thought you needed a degree or some special training. I bet you thought you needed to be peer-reviewed and receive accreditation! I bet you didn’t even know you were doing science all the time. But every time you bake cookies and measure out ingredients, you’re a chemist. When you weigh things? A physicist. Eating vegetables? That makes you a botanist. And every time you breathe, every time you wonder, you guessed it–you’re a biologist!

I see it in your faces. You’re not all south campus majors–some of you are probably thinking to yourselves, “Professor DeBousse, surely you don’t mean me.” But I do! I do mean you! Everyone has the capacity to be a scientist. Even your most basic daily routines involve science in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine. This class will teach you more than science–it will teach you how much science you do already.

Counterpoint

Don’t Fucking Lie To These People

By: Sandra Carkatt, Biology B.S. Candidate

Don’t fucking lie to these people. Scientists? All of them? I saw one of them write down dinosaur as the newest species of fish. Don’t you fucking dare lie to them.

I’ll give you some credit. Science is cool. Science is for everyone! (Unless you’re going to just fuck it up.)

They’re not all scientists. I wasn’t doing chemistry the last time I baked cookies. Asking my friend “Is that a typo?” because I noticed B-Caf spelled “Corn Shrimp” as “Corn Shremp” doesn’t make me a scientist. When you force feed us facts and trivial information about frogs, you’re not teaching us science. You’re helping us win quiz games on our phones. When you tell us to measure horse skulls and teeth to observe morphological changes, you’re just asking me to do what ZooBooks taught me when I was four.

I’m a scientist because I study. Because I do research in labs, and I collect data. Weighing myself at the gym is not a study of physics – if anything, it’s a psychological insight into body image and self esteem. Telling people they’re doing science is convincing them that they know the facts and have the knowledge, when in reality doing science is realizing that we don’t know much at all!

The human race is in a constant pursuit of knowledge, and it’s a beautiful fucking thing called science. Telling these kids that they know it all about frogs is ruining it. So stop lying to these kids. They’re not all scientists.