Objectivity vs Subjectivity


It is very easy for those of us with some kind of STEM background to appreciate objectivity. In the sciences and mathematics, subjectivity, generally, has no place. Things need to be objective, if we are to get at the truth of the natural world. Thus, many times in discussions subjective details are left out and seen as unimportant. However, subjective experiences are part of being human. Thus, I would argue that people should not see subjective experiences as irrelevant or unimportant in all areas of life.

Now, this is not to say we need to add subjective thinking into the STEM fields. That would be an extreme mistake. However, what I am saying is that humans are not robots, and there is a time and place for understanding people’s subjective experience and not simply pushing those experiences aside.

To say that a conservative’s subjective views on abortion doesn’t matter, would be a grave mistake. The conservative might know people that regretted having an abortion. Certainly, there could be objective studies showing how most women tend to feel about their abortions, whether it be positive or negative. This is where people in the conversation tend to want to point out studies and use other scientific tools, as this conservative doesn’t have a large sample size of women who  had abortions. However, how the conservative feels certainly does matter and so does the women who regretted having the abortion. Their feelings and experiences do matter whether or not they speak with the strength of a study.

In this case, the conversation is about social standards, morality, and the effects abortions have on women. Even if most women don’t regret abortion, it is certainly worth noting that some women do. Additionally, what is a good social standard and what our morality should be should be up for debate, and while, objective science can help one cannot forget the subjective experiences of all the people effected by this debate. A philosophy that cannot be practiced in the real world is useless, even if some like the particular arguments of the philosophy.

Note: I’m not trying to answer the pro-life/pro-choice debate.

As always, let me know what you think!

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Personal Update: Looking Ahead to a Bright Future


I try not to fill my blog up with personal notes about myself; because, I doubt they are interesting. Still, a casual glance at my about page will show that I’m a university student. I study applied mathematics and computer programing. I’m also two classes shy of a philosophy minor and three classes away from a religious study minor. In any case, this is the last year of my college career, which is mind boggling!

But, why is it mind boggling? Well, for most people college is a difficult time, but for me I had added stresses. I have schizoaffective disorder among a couple other mental “problems.” I have been hospitalized six or seven times. (I lost track.) I was told many times by mental health professionals to give up and quit school. I was told it wasn’t healthy for me, but I am a very stubborn person. I guess.

My mathematics gave me purpose, and I just wasn’t willing to give it up so easily. It was my goal in life to graduate no matter what. I didn’t want to become someone who lived on government handouts their entire lives. (Now for some people that is necessary I’m not judging anyone, so please, don’t think that.) It just wasn’t for me.

Up until recently, I loved math and I hated it, but it wasn’t, really, the math I hated. It was the seemingly unending cycle of exams, quizzes, homework, and projects. The stress really agitated my mental condition for quite some time, but now, I am approaching the finish line. I am ready to soar!

I have confidence that I will land a nice STEM job and take care of my fiancé. I won’t make the best money, but it will be more than I make now. The sense of achievement is overwhelming.

Math saved my life!

Not everyone with my conditions are so lucky, but perseverance and self care are key. It’s important to not want to give up, but it is also important not to kill yourself over your goals.

If anyone has any questions or comments feel free to post them!

Is Mathematics the Language of Science? I’m Annoyed.


So, why am I annoyed? Some scientists are using parts of mathematics that lend themselves to describing the natural world, and then throwing the rest out. Then, they call it “the language of science.” I find that annoying; because the idea is both misinformed and very popular. Now, I study mostly applied mathematics, and I take quiet a few science courses. However, I have a healthy appreciation of proofs and theories in pure mathematics. I don’t ignore half of mathematics. Mathematics has much more to it than just being a tool for scientists. It is true that sometimes pure mathematics can turn into applied mathematics, but this is not always the case. Mathematics is its own subject for a very good reason, and there is a lot more to it than just what is used in science.

To be sure, mathematics can certainly be used as a powerful descriptor of the natural world, but that is not all it is. Mathematics is a very unique human activity, and it cannot be summed up as just a language . Mathematics is a special and unique mode of thinking. It can be very logical, but intuition comes into play frequently. It is also creative even artistic. The jury is still out on exactly what mathematics is, and why it happens that some of it happens to be very useful in describing the natural world. However, let’s not cut out huge chunks out of it in order to make it the language of science.