This week’s post was meant to be a treatise on libraries role in students’ journey to information and reading habits – and we will get to that. We were overwhelmed by well-intentioned people referring us to this article: The Mistrust of Science By Atul Gawande June 10, 2016. It is a part-scathing and part-hopeful piece on the role of science communication today. One of the important tenets in this article is the indication that ‘neuroscience and computerization’ are linking the fields of science and humanities in a new and important way.
Few working scientists can give a ground-up explanation of the phenomenon they study; they rely on information and techniques borrowed from other scientists. Knowledge and the virtues of the scientific orientation live far more in the community than the individual. When we talk of a “scientific community,” we are pointing to something critical: that advanced science is a social enterprise, characterized by an intricate division of cognitive labor. Individual scientists, no less than the quacks, can be famously bull-headed, overly enamored of pet theories, dismissive of new evidence, and heedless of their fallibility. (Hence Max Planck’s observation that science advances one funeral at a time.) But as a community endeavor, it is beautifully self-correcting.
Beautifully organized, however, it is not. Seen up close, the scientific community—with its muddled peer-review process, badly written journal articles, subtly contemptuous letters to the editor, overtly contemptuous subreddit threads, and pompous pronouncements of the academy— looks like a rickety vehicle for getting to truth. Yet the hive mind swarms ever forward. It now advances knowledge in almost every realm of existence—even the humanities, where neuroscience and computerization are shaping understanding of everything from free will to how art and literature have evolved over time. Continue reading “Digital Scholarship: How & What? We Read!”