Tuesday, July 3, 2012

BioSci symposium notes

Found while cleaning my home office, a sheet of paper with the following:

BioSci Student Symposium notes:

(1) Does the reference to authority authenticate your work in a way that a good and conceptually strong idea doesn’t? (I think maybe so. ??Suggest a first slide with the idea/ref to authority and your test of authority’s assertion?) (What does this observation tell us about the structure of our science? Whatever the answer, it is unflattering, but ultimately perhaps something we need to take into account.)

(2) Is parasitism too complex for the average biologist to understand? For the average scientist? I think we should always be aware of this possibility and account for it in our presentations.

(3) In this same vein, are simple problems expressed within paradigmatic frameworks most easily understood by scientists?


JJ_Parasitophiliac said...

1) So what was going on in this presentation? I'm curious about the reference to authority and how it was used to authenticate someone's study.

2)I don't think that the concept of parasitism is too complex for anyone because it makes sense in a lot of ways. That being said, I think the mechanisms of parasitism can perplex even the most well-versed specialists at times. Therefore, during a presentation it is better to cover all of your bases than to assume that others already know what you know. (Is that what was going on with this presentation?)

3) I think that simple problems expressed within the framework of scientific paradigms are typically easy to follow. But sometimes those paradigms need to be challenged...and that can make even simple problems seem complicated.

Those are my opinions without actually knowing what specifically we are talking about. It's got me curious though! Do you remember what these notes were referring to from the presentation(s)?

JJ said...

The "reference to authority" bit was probably a comment about basing your research on a problem discovered by someone else and thought to be important by certain folks in the group, as opposed to choosing a research problem based on what you learned from and about nature by doing some preliminary work. The complexity comment likely came from listening to non-parasitologists reduce all parasitological phenomena to questions of how much the host was harmed and how that [perceived] harm was of evolutionary significance. The last comment was a mixture of advice and sarcasm (parasitological problems aat the time seemed too difficult for some of my colleagues to understand).