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Asynchronous Welcome!

Welcome. Hi. Let’s start again. My name is Andréa, I use she/her pronouns, and thank you for your patience while I got this first module up and running. 

What we’re about to do here is radical, and I’m always fearful that the City will find out and pull the plug. This semester we’re going against the institution. 

This course will be a model for what is possible when care and love for students is centered instead of the directives from a non-living (usually harmful) academic entity. This Writing for Engineering course will explore topics within the field of engineering that center Black, Disabled, and queer voices. We will challenge the concept of neutrality in science, read from a graphic textbook, and practice writing through blog responses. If you’re enrolled, you get an A. Grades are surveillance systems set up to police students with no proof of positively impacting learning outcomes (article attached if you want to challenge other professors’ policies).

We are listed as a hybrid course, but we will be meeting asynchronously for the rest of the semester. It is violent for the administration to ask us to risk our bodies on transit and in classrooms just so they can make a bottom line. They ignored the change.org 25k + petition from students asking for online courses to be reinstated. We owe them nothing. We are more important than directives from the ivory tower. The ivory tower exists because it extracts money and resources from us so let’s flip this power dynamic on its head. The institution needs us, we don’t need the institution. 

On the homepage of the course site, I tried to explain how this course will run, so poke around and most questions about what will be asked of you this semester, should be revealed. If you have other questions, please send me a Slack DM, I respond there the fastest.

A little more about me: I’m Disabled, a professor and a PhD student at the Graduate Center, have two little little kids, and work a full time job in the coffee industry to pay the bills. I’m an abolitionist and I’m very excited to see how you all rebuild this world into something beautiful.

For this first week, tell me about yourself. Who are you? How did you end up at CCNY? Do you need me to help you start an uprising in any of your other classes? It can even be a 30 second video if you want, I’d love to see you face. You can send this to me as a DM on Slack.

Lastly, please read these first three sections (links: one, two, three) of Science Under the Scope. It’s a graphic text, so it should take about 15 mins to read. And answer this question in the comments section of this post: when were you taught that science was objective and after reading this first section, what do you think?

12 Comments

  1. The earliest I can remember science being presented as objective was when my class was being taught the scientific method in elementary school, where students were expected to know the supposedly correct order of steps to conduct a scientific experiment. Every science fair, the order of the method and the written parts (Abstract, Hypothesis, Materials, Procedure, etc.) was to be maintained to make it to the science fair showcase. After reading this first section, I’ve realized that how much this ‘organized structure’ feeds into the concept of objectivity. As I enter into lab research, things like random sampling and repeated trials does seem to play a role more frequently. But I see how setting up scientific discovery that way removes any space for scientists to incorporate parts of their own identity in their work. Additionally, the non-neutral parts of science Sophie Wang brought up in the mining analogy started to bring into perspective how that objectifies and isolates what we study from ourselves as a reader/ the one inquiring about said topic. I look forward to reading how she breaks down these aspects ever further.

  2. I was first taught that science was objective when I was in high school. Me, who was dumb, believed that I was from the garbage can or born from the sky. My mom and dad told me that they picked me up from the garbage can. After studying for living environment, in high school, I learned that science is not like the myths in the book. I also learned that in the past people used the power of religion to make science as believes. For example, in the past, the church used beliefs to control the people. Like telling everyone that the rain is a gift from god without any explanations. Sometimes, popularity can also make science worse, like spreading fake news that vaccine will cause autism in babies. The original trend came from a doctor who got paid with a lot of money to stop people from taking a specific vaccine.

  3. Reading the three sections of “Science Under the Scope” helped me understand the basics of objectivity and how science revolves in our everyday life. When realizing objectivity or also known as the fact debunks many of the things I learned when I was younger. For example, around kindergarten a friend told me that astronauts fly into space without suits. For some reason I believed him and did not question the logic in that. This then further explains the need for objectivity and not letting our emotions and eagerness get into our way of thinking. If humans didn’t let myths and fantasy get in our way of trying to learn about the world and way of life, we would be ahead of time a lot quicker than we already are in some parts of the world. Emotions and eagerness also are one of the main reasons for the cause of violence around the world and why we can’t achieve many of the things we are capable of.

  4. The earliest I can remember science being presented as objective was when my class was being taught the scientific method in elementary school, where students were expected to know the supposedly correct order of steps to conduct a scientific experiment. Every science fair, the order of the method and the written parts (Abstract, Hypothesis, Materials, Procedure, etc.) was to be maintained to make it to the science fair showcase. After reading this first section, I’ve realized that how much this ‘organized structure’ feeds into the concept of objectivity. As I enter into lab research, things like random sampling and repeated trials does seem to play a role more frequently. But I see how setting up scientific discovery that way removes any space for scientists to incorporate parts of their own identity in their work. Additionally, the non-neutral parts of science Sophie Wang brought up in the mining analogy started to bring into perspective how that objectifies and isolates what we study from ourselves as a reader/ the one inquiring about said topic. I look forward to reading how she breaks down these aspects ever further.

  5. Since being introduced to the scientific method, approximately in Grade 1, I was always under the impression that science is objective. Whenever I thought of science, I pictured a phenomenon that involved taking measurements, making computations, and conducting experiments. However, I never thought of it being used as an outlet for self-expression and relatability. In fact, I found the “objectivity” of science somewhat enjoyable, because it meant that I didn’t have to do any introspection or bring personal matters into the classroom. In science it was never, “What do you think?,” or “How do you feel about this?”, but instead “What’s the answer?”. However, reading this graphic makes me realize that my perspective was mainly due to the way that “objectivity” is ingrained in science from the moment scientific education begins. This graphic inspires me to challenge the way I approach science in the future, especially if it means steering away from realms of comfortability. Having this perspective of science completely expands all of its possibilities and can deepen the way I view the world and inspires me to truly question everything around me, rather than avoiding inquiries that don’t outrightly appear as measurable, or scientific.

  6. I was first taught that science was objective way back in elementary school. Science has this structure where you shouldn’t add your own opinions. Even hypotheses, which are essentially an idea, are taught to be written objectively. I was also taught that results are a very important key objective part of science. Science Under the Scope mentions how it’s impossible to separate our biases from science. So we continue to pretend that science is neutral. I like how Sophie demonstrates this with a drawing of a person with a tiny sheep over her eyes trying to argue that she can see.

  7. Through the comic series, “Under the Scope” I realized the idea of objectivity that scientist theoretically preach is actually more complex in reality. As scientist, were suppose to live, eat, and sleep on this idea. However we can’t, just as she illustrated, snip away a part of ourselves. I also found it interesting how she illustrated the different types of typical objectiveness and how its all based on randomness. After all, we are human. Its interesting this idea and I’m curious to see the breakdown of the 5 ways to be objective.

  8. I was thought that science was objective since it has patterns or textual evidences that supports it’s purpose. But after reading this article , science is seen as the tool scientists use in order to build facts or theories that may catch people attention due to the evidences of the study or experience experimented

  9. The three pieces of “Science Under the Scope” helped me comprehend the fundamentals of objectivity. I never discovered science in a classroom or school, The funny thing is that I discovered it in my backyard when playing with some dirt. Since my parents liked to plant, I wonder how this soil makes a living organism like a plant grow. Intrigued by it I would read books on living organisms and the different animals and living things which grew my interest in science. Results are an essential aspect of science’s purpose. It’s hard to separate human prejudices from science, according to Science Under the Scope. As a result, we continue to believe that science is objective.

  10. I have a terrible memory of my elementary school days I’ll be honest, so my most recent memory of objectivity in science comes from my 7th-grade science class. I remember going over the scientific method which involved making an observation, asking a question about said observation, coming up with your own possible explanation (hypothesis), and so on. I was taught that you needed to remain objective in science for the validity of your conclusion. Ironically, looking at that statement “objectively,” you understand why. If you want an experiment to have a specific outcome, then you search your data for that conclusion, overlooking other possible conclusions. As a result of this, I believed that science needed to be objective, for if not, science itself could not be trusted. Is my understanding of how science should work causing bias in this response? Maybe. However, the important question is whether or not it is causing bias in science? For that, I believe it is not and so see objectivity in science as a necessity so the data we gather in science can speak for itself, not the individual conducting the experiment.

  11. The first time when I was taught that science was objective was when I was in middle school. I was taught how I will need to have different trials to find the accurate solution of the experiment we were doing. There wasn’t bias or emotions included but just the stepwise solution to objectify science. Moreover, In my physics class I was taught on how different religions have a myth on how the earth was formed. Their theories aren’t proven but just a belief they have throughout the generation. Not believing in scientific theory on how earth was created because their emotions, beliefs were not letting them. From all three sections I learned that science is all about the truth, perspectives of majority during experiments keeping aside scientist’s emotion and bias. If one of the scientist follow specific religion then he cannot use his belief as an objective.

  12. I was first taught that science was objective in the seventh grade. Back then they made a point to specifically say that because of the scientific method that science could only be objective because the scientific method didn’t allow for bias and prejudice and all that stuff. And they also made it known that the Set the scientific method was based on fact instead of opinion so we had to be objective. After reading the section I somewhat agree because I do believe that science can’t be objective because people aren’t objective. But I also disagree because I feel that if science is not based on one person if it is based on a group of people then it could be objective. Mostly I agree with everything she said because in the way it does make sense because people have different backgrounds and they come in to work with what they think is right and that might affect their work.

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Course Info

Professor: Andréa Stella (she/her/hers)

Email: astella@ccny.cuny.edu

Zoom: 4208050203

Slack:engl21007spring22.slack.com/

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