Module 1: WrittenAssignment What isyour relationship with science, and what has influenced that?Science is a very big part of who I am.
I amenthused by gaining knowledge in many disciplines. When I was very young it wasnaming as many flags as I could or solving the Rubik’s cube. I appreciate thetruths and patterns of the world. My first love in science was for mathematics.I admired how you can have one question with only one answer.
I esteem theapplications of mathematics in the real world, which extended my interests intophysics. I continued my studies of the natural sciences into university where Idid a year of health sciences. After only ever studying formal and naturalsciences, I moved myself into the social sciences half way through 2017. I havebecome fascinated with the history and patterns of mankind.
Although this movewas audacious at the time, I have found the precise field for me. Science is a useful tool ineveryday life. I am currently studying actuarial science and economics. A common theme in these two subjects is riskand choice; how we can use science to help make decisions. I believe rationaldecision-making should be a vital component of high value decisions. Despitethis, there are problems where judgement and individuality are also importantcomponents of finding a solution.
Science cannot answer all of our questionsand with my studies I will be more prepared to come up with a rational answer.Uniqueness should be celebrated amongst a society and everyone’s voice shouldreflect what they think is most important. I believe that the applications ofscience have its own limitations in society. What isyour relationship with society, and how does that influence the way you see theworld?It is veryrecent that I have started to feel like a member of New Zealand’s society. Ispent 9 years of my childhood in China and Belgium and felt very detached fromNew Zealand culture. Even though I called myself kiwi, when I returned to NewZealand at age 18, I didn’t understand the politics or the culture of my owncountry.
Over the past three years, especially with the recent election, I havereally learnt a lot about the society I am part of. I am still unsure about myspecific place in New Zealand’s future. My aspirations have evolved around mypassion for making a difference.
I have an interest in the public sector andfor non-fiction writing. I see society as human cooperation. I believethat individuals have a responsibility to contribute to their community. Thecollection of all humanity makes up the world.
Mirroring an individual in asociety, I believe that every society has a responsibility to contribute to theworld and their surrounding environment. Much like the eco-system, everyone andeverything is interconnected. To me society is much more complicated thanscience. While society can be studied through social science, it remainsunpredictable. There is the human factor involved, the individual opinions andmorals that make the whole system less black and white. While science is thefoundation for progression, the rate is controlled by society. I believe thatworking with society is the best method to work on many of our contemporaryissues.
How doesthe way you see the world influence the way you think about contemporary issuesin science?I try my absolute best to ensure that what Ithink about contemporary issues in science comes from fact alone. I tend tolisten to conversation between politicians, journalists, friends and familybefore forming my own opinion. I am convinced by science more than anythingelse. When hearing others thoughts I listen critically to their justificationsto better shape my own opinions. Before I share what I think about contemporaryissues in science, I like to have strong evidence to support my thoughts. Inaddition to facts, my values in the world are factored into my viewpoints.
Myvalues come from what issues in the world I find most important for the worldand also for me personally. I will favour the outcome that has the mostbenefits for my values. Consideringthe points above, for each of the four topics that we’ll be studying in thiscourse answer these questions:· What do you already know about thistopic/issue?· What has informed these thoughts?· Where would you go if you wanted toknow more about then (and weren’t taking this course)? Genes andsociety (including ideas about gene therapy, medical research, animal research,GMOs, reproductive technology, animal testing.)I did a year of health science at OtagoUniversity in 2016. We learnt a lot about medical research, gene therapy,animal research and reproductive technology. We looked at how to map out genesand why this is useful. We looked at medical research a lot and theadvancements we are currently making.
I support the increase in the quality oflife for everybody. Despite this, I found myself highlighting some issues asmore important than others, such as antibacterial resistance and HIV/AIDS. I amaware of the finite amount of doctors and resources and wonder if we are makingthe most of what we have. Are we going too far with medical research? What istoo far? To answer these questions I would find articles, lectures/talks, orbooks on the subjects preferably by scientists. PredatorFree New Zealand (including ideas around predators, biodiversity and pestcontrol)I know very little on this subject. Iunderstand that our eco-system is controlled with equilibrium. A slight changein the environment can have large consequences. I am aware of pests such asrats, possums and rabbits being introduced to our environment and this havingan affect on our native birds and plants.
My father works for the Ministry ofPrimary Industries. This helped me understand the importance of protecting ournative environment. If I wanted to know more I would look for some books on howNew Zealand’s environment has changed, and the implications of this. ClimateChange (including ideas around climate science, increasing carbon dioxide, globalwarming, policy response, technology response, adaptation responsesClimate change is an extremely important issueto me. I first learnt of this issue in physics. We looked at the science behindhow carbon dioxide is disturbing earths state of equilibrium.
The increase innatural disasters around us all is something I cannot ignore. I have alsowatched the first episode of “Bill Nye Saves the World” where he talks a lotabout climate change. He explains the science to prove that this is not a hoax.
I found the panel of scientists very interesting as they debated the best stepsfor society to make. The issue with climate change is not the lack of knowledgeor technology to fight it, but the social barriers. If I wanted to find outmore information on the topic, I would look at debates from Politicians andscientists.
Neuroscienceand the Law (including what we can learn about people from brain scanning, andhow that information is used in law and society) Inhealth science we learnt the basic anatomy and physiology of the nervoussystem. There is still so much about the brain that remains a mystery,specifically about personality. I would be interested to see how neurosciencecan be used to progress our knowledge on mental health. I know nothing on howthis information is currently being used and how it would benefit the law andsociety. I would start by looking up more about what neuroscience isresearching currently, possibly on university websites. I would then look intoarticles or ted talks on how this relates to the law and society.