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A cornerstone of science, specifically the scientific method, is objective thinking. Objective thinking has become a hallmark of popular individuals in the media aligned within the scientific community, and the rationale for this is not without merit. Objectivity possesses positive applications, free of subjective and confirmation bias not only to aiding in the widening scientific understandings on contemporary issues like vaccinations and climate change which can bring about positive social change and ecojustice, but encourage productive interactions amongst peers: Being able to remove bias and emotions can be productive tools to resolve disputes when considering relationships within our species. But to disregard bias and emotion as detrimental parts of being isn’t prudent. It isn’t an inclusive approach to the full human experience and individual perspectives found within each of us and, as Derek Hodson points out, that inclusive aspect to approaching science may be critical part of learning for all individuals.

Before, I spoke of the importance of what the nature of science is and I made reference to the point that I merely hold one perspective or approach to it among many out there. The reality is that there is an incredible amount of cultural diversity on Earth, so acknowledging that my perspective is merely one from over 7.4 billion humans, is a critical part of acknowledging and being inclusive to that diversity through the idea of cultural pluralism. This, by extension, may even apply to functions of government in countries that in order to be truly inclusive, perhaps they should practice secularism which connects back to that idea of applying objectivity in a mass of differing perspectives; different subjectivities, narratives, and explanation for the complexities of the universe.

The idea of pluralism seeks to account for all these differing perspectives. In Canada, we have many individuals from different cultures and backgrounds existing in a diverse array of communities. This includes rural areas like Ituna, Saskatchewan, to urban centers like downtown Toronto, Ontario. The environment in which individuals interact shapes their perspectives and while we may find a shared identity for connectivity in Canada, what of the varying perspectives in other places around the world?

What of the perspectives we are exposed to in media? Different forms of media provoke the curiosities of science and questioning about the world we inhabit.

  • News posts, sometimes not completely accurately, convey information about new studies about the effects of coffee. Coffee drinkers may be inclined to shift their behaviour (sometimes negatively) based on their interpretation of this information.
  • Science fiction provides us with creative and imaginative perspectives beyond what we know in this world, yet even those forms of media are influenced by the perspectives and experiences of the author – yet they may connect us through mutual interests.
  • Listening to and observing comedians that we find funny due to their perspectives on life may connect us as well, or serve to divide us. George Carlin has a rant about national pride, and being proud of where you’re born not being plausible because you have no control over it – you didn’t earn it.

Yet a shared perspective and experience can bring members of a country together positively through a shared identity.

Or negatively, depending on your perspective.

We can look at the contexts in which perspectives propagate by observing our local communities and observe the importance of place on identity. These communities possess boundaries consistent with systems theory that outputs ideas and regularly gets new inputs of ideas. With social media contributing to greater amounts of globalization and the spread of ideas, however, the boundaries of perspectives are less static and even perspectives become positive feedback loops – spreading exponentially through communities.

positive and negative feedback loops.png

Positive and Negative Feedback Loops via Penn State University

Where do the boundaries of perspectives stop, though? Are there perspectives that hold more value to society or are there perspectives that are universally wrong? In certain parts of the world, gender and sexual diversity beyond heterosexual norms is a crime, which would be considered constitutionally wrong in Canada. In passing this kind of judgment, how does that impact the interpretation of our perspective by others? Does that make us less inclusive if we condemn certain policies and perspectives held by certain peoples in the world? Some would argue that’s the benefit of objective thinking – in transcends the potential flaws of subjectivity and diverse perspectives – but it may fail to fully encapsulate human thought, innovation and experience. Should we only account for perspectives held by certain, “worthy” peoples on the planet? Or, as we can see the immense diversity of perspectives in humanity, should we be extending our considerations beyond humanity?

Logan Petlak

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