Is science sometimes in danger of getting tunnel vision? Recently published ebook author, Ian Miller, looks at other possible theories arising from data that we think we understand. Can looking problems in a different light give scientists a different perspective?

Science In Literature – A Quiz Question

Yes, this is definitely off the formal topic, but I am curious to see what comes up. Most people have heard of the C. P. Snow inspired debate relating to the arts versus science, with which, as an aside, I disagree. I have a number of scientist friends who actively participate in some form of "art", usually music, and most scientists at least read something other than scientific papers and news items. On the other hand, I am not so sure that non-scientists understand the concepts of science, which I believe is bad because some decisions are coming that will strongly affect our future, and they will depend on science to get a good outcome. I am not suggesting that everybody study science, but I think it would be helpful if they understood enough of the underlying methodology to be able to tell the difference between a reasoned argument and snake oil. The resolution of reasoned arguments can be left to experts, but the ordinary person has to be able to tell which statements are reasoned and which are not if democracy is to work. If you are going to demand the right to vote, you have the obligation to vote in a reasoned fashion.
 
In this context, you might note that Plato was strongly against democracy. In "The Republic" he posed this question: if you are in a boat at sea with very limited supplies, do you want a vote or do you want a navigator?
 
Anyway, on the basis that if you believe something you should do something about it, I have self-published a couple of futuristic novels involving the concept of science in literature to get people thinking, and to support these I have started a second blog (https://ianmillerblog.wordpress.com) and I am starting with the theme science in literature. I have also posted a quiz question, which readers here might like to try their luck with. The question: can you think of a famous story involving a cloaking device that underpins a plot involving abuse of power, pride, wishing for what you should not have, and the curse of chattering women? If so, let me know and award yourself an imaginary chocolate fish. The one I am thinking of is extremely well-known, although probably very few have actually read it, which is something of a pity.
 
The second question is, can chemists come up with an answer sooner than those associated with books?
Posted by Ian Miller on Sep 14, 2012 4:54 AM Europe/London

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