Complacency in the Medical-Industrial Complex

Long gone are the days of scientists only locked up in labs, secluded from everything but their microscopes and calculators. Now, more than ever, scientists find themselves writing reports and grant proposals, managing jobs, sitting on committees, and delivering lectures.

No One Scientist Should Have All That Power

Science says so, so it must be true. (Source)
Whether or not we have been aware of it, we put a lot of faith into people who study science. It doesn't matter if I'm writing for my university newspaper or meeting other students at a party. Whenever I tell people about my scientific interests, many people are impressed (as they should be). But the praise should stop there. The value of studying science is that you become knowledgable about science (along with other values similar to empathy, language, and rational thought), but it doesn't make anyone qualified to speak about other fields. Despite this, we've taken too much about science for granted. Too much of the public has come to authoritatively trust science as a objectively true source of knowledge to the point where scientists are deemed more moral, trustworthy, valuable, and overall better people on these faulty assumptions.

Cross-examining Neuroscience

Moreso than most fields of science, neuroscience has very much a humane element in that what neuroscience says about the mind plays a central role in what makes us human. Our understanding of the brain spans strategies from naïve reductionism to cogito ergo sum. Are we computers or animals? Do our thoughts control us or do we control them? How does the reasoning of one person differ from another? But, in all the places these questions have shaken our self-understanding, the courtroom invites the greatest minds to bring justice from ethics, law, science, and everything else. How does neuroscience fare in the legal system?

Protecting the Privacy of Mental Health Data

Read this article in the Indiana Daily Student here....

When speaking about the rights of an individual to his/her personal information, it's easy to overlook the "personal" nature of mental health data. And, within the rhetoric of mental health, we spend a lot of time expressing the behavior, feelings and thoughts of those who suffer from mental illness, but we forget about the a deeper issue: who should know about it?

The War in Science in the War

A billboard at Oak Ridge Facility in Tennessee warns people to keep silent about anything they see or hear there. Oak Ridge was a town built in 1942 to house workers and the laboratory that developed the Manhattan Project – the secret second world war program that built the atomic bomb. 
Whether we like it or not, science has been a key player in our political affairs. The acronym STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) arose partly out of national security concerns such as World War II, the War on Cancer, and the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik. But how has science really played out through the wars?

Read this article in the Indiana Daily Student here...

Making Sense of Statistics

"Figures often beguile me," he wrote, "particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." - Mark Twain
Very few of us truly understand numbers. Some simply aren't good at math, others haven't had the best learning methods, and there are people without the appropriate information. Regardless, we have a moral imperative to learn how to make sense of quantitative information when it affects our lives in the way it does. News channels, politicians, and professionals from all fields clutter speeches and proposals with percentages, figures, theories, and anything else built of numbers. As a result, mathematics has gained ulterior political motives through agendas, poor analysis skills, and a lack of humanism in our interpretation of statistics. More than ever, these are the times when we fear what "studies say" or "science reports" about the things we do, the way we eat, the clothes we wear, the prevalence of sexual assault on campus, or the presence of guns in our garages.

A Theory of Everything, for Everyone

Read this article in the Indiana Daily Student here....

Hilbert's tomb
Since a theory of everything would unite all the forces of matter, it would be elegant in how much information could be explained so simply. The math and physics behind theory would all have a function with everything else, and there would be nothing below it. As MIT Physics Professor Frank Wilczek put it, “You can recognize truth by its beauty and simplicity.” [3] But, during the 19th century, while physiologist Emil du-Bois Raymond proclaimed "ignoramus et ignorabimus" (or "we do not know and we will not know"), mathematician David Hilbert would write "For the mathematician there is no Ignorabimus, and, in my opinion, not at all for natural science either. ... The true reason why [no one] has succeeded in finding an unsolvable problem is, in my opinion, that there is no unsolvable problem. In contrast to the foolish Ignorabimus, our credo avers: We must know, We shall know.'"