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About this episode
#52 — Maybe you think there is too much to know about science without having to incorporate other fields. In fact, your own sub-sub-specialty is overwhelming enough! But this is the whole point. Why not draw on others who have already done all the heavy lifting, made all the mistakes, and overcame them? Why not use functional, proven methods and systems; but use them for your own elevated purposes?
Check out the books discussed in this episode below:
This is an automated transcript and may not be 100% accurate.
This is The Happy Scientist podcast. Each episode is designed to make you more focused, more productive, and more satisfied in the lab. You can find us online at Bitesizebio.com/happyscientist. Your hosts are Kenneth Vogt, founder of the executive coaching firm, Vera Claritas, and Dr. Nick Oswald, PhD, bioscientist and founder of Bitesize Bio.
Nick Oswald (00:38):
Hello, and welcome to another addition of The Happy Scientist podcast. This is the place to be. If you want to be a happier, healthier, and more productive scientist, I’m Nick Oswald the founder of Bitesizebio.com. And today we will be drawing on the wisdom of Mr. Kenneth Vogt, Bitesize Bio’s, Mr. Miyagi and founder of the executive mentoring company, Vera Claritas today. And in all of the other Happy Scientist podcast episodes, you get to benefit from Ken’s wisdom and chi to help you increase your performance, enjoyment and success in the lab. Today’s in episode is an interesting one. So we scientists tend to look, tend to get stuck in the idea that science can explain everything. When in reality, it is just one way to look at the world. So today we’ll be opening that up and exploring what science can learn other disciplines. Okay. Ken, take it away.
Kenneth Vogt (01:31):
All right. Well, I’m stirred by that introduction. The, she, in fact, I was thinking something, you just said that science tends to look to science for its answers, but I don’t even know if that’s true. I think scientists tend to look to their own branch of, for answers. You know, so, you know, the point is, is that if you could change your outlook on this and start looking in a, you know, to, to cast a wider net for where can you draw other ideas from, you’re gonna realize there is a, there is a rich world out there. There’s a lot of opportunity for things that will, that will improve your science. Now me, in some cases, it may actually improve the science itself, but in other cases, it’s gonna, it’s gonna improve the, the structure and the, you know, the infrastructure that it’s supporting your science.
Kenneth Vogt (02:30):
And, you know, you can’t, you can’t ignore that either. It’s, that’s also important. And if you’re, if, if you become aware of other things that have already been done and are already working that have a proven track record, I mean, that’s about a scientific approaches. There is you, these are, these are hypotheses that have been formulated and tested and proven, well, why not implement them in the scientific realm as well. And, and get the benefit from that. And I, I wanna start off in, in what I think is probably the easiest place to look, cause it’s a place you’re already familiar with because you had to spend a lot of time there before you got to the lab and that’s academia. And in fact, academia has had a lot of influence on science. It has a lot of influence on the structure of science and in fact, many scientists are still working in academic institutions, you know, it’s, that’s where the labs are. So so that being the case and I, I, I, I gave Nick about 30 seconds warning that I was gonna really drag him into this one. He’s Nick spent more time in academia than I have. So I, I wanna, I wanna open up this idea of what, what is going on in academia that could be instructive for science. So anything come to mind for you, Nick?
Nick Oswald (03:58):
There’s a question of, okay. Well I didn’t spend that much time in academia, so I did my, I did an undergrad and then I did a PhD and then I was out of academia.
Kenneth Vogt (04:10):
You realize everybody doesn’t have a PhD?
Nick Oswald (04:13):
Well, okay. I mean, compared to some people listening to this, I’ve spent a lot more time academia, so they will know a lot more about academia than I do my so going, what episode do you discuss the spiral dynamic stuff? It must somewhere in episode one to nine
Kenneth Vogt (04:31):
That’s that’s in episodes four, five and six
Nick Oswald (04:34):
Episodes, four, five and six. Okay. So you know, have a look back at that, but academia is very much blue or you probably know that anyway. It’s very structured. It’s very much about creating for me anyway. My, you know, looking at it from the kind of outside in it’s about creating structures or of, or silos of knowledge around personalities in a way the personalities being principal investigators, you know, the star scientists and then, you know, the, the next layer up being institutions. So you know, what you can learn from that versus or I don’t know about what you can learn from it, but it’s, it’s a different mindset, isn’t it? All, these are in a way there are just different mindsets. Whereas in, in business, in industry you could never get away with, or it’d be much more difficult to justify chipping away at something to, just for the sake of creating knowledge.
Nick Oswald (05:40):
You, you, that wasn’t generating an application for example, or wouldn’t have any didn’t look like it was gonna generate an application that you could make profit out of in academia. It’s the other way around you? Can you, you, you, you literally pour hours and brain power and equipment and manpower and, and all that stuff, person power into into creating silos of knowledge to see how they connect up and then what can come from them application wise. And then that normally, you know, goes out into industry. So that’s, I don’t know if that’s what you, you meant, but that, that’s the way I see the mindset being and the, the distinction being it’s about academia as about generating knowledge for the sake of knowledge.
Kenneth Vogt (06:28):
And as you’ve mentioned, you know, they, they are blue and, and by the way, if you don’t know what we’re talking about, when we say they’re blue, listen to episodes four through six, please, it will all become clear.
Nick Oswald (06:39):
Basically. It just means it’s very structured and it’s about, yeah, it’s about blobs.
Kenneth Vogt (06:46):
Yeah. But that structure is beneficial, that that structure has, has its upside. And, and so sometimes you can, you can realize if you look back at how things are organized, they there, that it could give you clues as to how you might wanna organize your lab or how you might wanna organize your procedures. So, you know, so there’s advantages to having that kind of, that kind of structure that’s, that’s reliable and, and regulated and, and replicatable so
Nick Oswald (07:17):
Well, I mean, way to look at it is if you are in industry, I know that, you know, and you’re tending to go for the project, especially if you’re a smaller company or you’re tending to go for the things that will make money, you know, because you’re, that’s, that’s the survival, but I know of companies who allowed things to happen on the side and, you know know examples of this from outside of you know, not in science, other areas of business, where you allowed people to just tinker for the sake of tinkering and then stuff came out, really good stuff came out of it. So that’s, maybe
Kenneth Vogt (07:51):
Google’s famous for
Nick Oswald (07:52):
That. Exactly. So that’s maybe one lesson from academia to bear in mind, regardless of which area of science you’re in is that it doesn’t all have to be driving towards the goal, allowing a bit of play at the side can often help, especially if you want to be a groundbreaker, you know, you don’t just want to churn out the money sort of thing. Yeah.
Kenneth Vogt (08:13):
Now, now that being said, there’s a lot to be learned from business also. Yes, that is applicable. And in business, in many cases it’s more orange rather than, than blue. And when we say orange, we mean that they’re, they’re about ambition. They’re about achievement. They’re about getting something done, you know, which is a little different than say discovery and discovery is about finding things. But achievement means I don’t, I don’t care whether you’re or not. I just gotta make sure that something is accomplished by the end of the day. And, and that mindset isn’t necessarily bad. And in fact, it can drive discovery and, and, and on top of that, it can, it can just drive practical solutions, cuz you know, a lot of the stuff that that Bitesize Bio is talking about is call it basic science. You know, it’s the fundamentals.
Kenneth Vogt (09:07):
The applications come often well beyond fundamentals though. And, and that is where money comes, you know, and money to as money does matter, according to Randy Newman it’s money that matters. But sometimes we, you might look at this and go, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna corrupt my, my lab with that kind of thinking. It’s like, well isn’t necessarily corrupt. I mean, yet I, I will grant you, it could be corrupt, but doesn’t have to be cause there are plenty of businesses out there that are just as altruistic as plenty of labs out there. And in fact there’s plenty of labs out there that are less altruistic than some businesses. So, you know, money doesn’t automatically corrupt things. You know, the, the, the misstatement that is the root of all evil. That’s not what it said. It’s at the love of money is the root of all evil. So there’s a, you know, it’s different.
Nick Oswald (10:05):
Hmm. That’s interesting because as the more I look at this, the more, this is just it’s about, it’s easy to judge the mindsets of other are areas when you’re not in them, you know, other disciplines when you’re not in them, but this is just about, it’s almost about different viewpoints on the same problem. If you like, you know you, you even just that thing about talking about a business being altruistic or a business not being altruistic a lot of that will depend on whether they’re in survival mode or not, which is right. Can be a function of where they are in their in their growth, you know, in their, their development. You know, a startup is very unlikely to be Al trust it, cause they’re trying to put all of the power into growing the business, all the money, the power that they have, have to grow the business, whereas a business that’s huge then has more, more scope to be altruistic. But you can’t, it’s it’s easy to judge businesses that are not altruistic. And you know, when you are like put the cat amongst the pigeons, if you’re, you know, for you, you’re sitting in, in an academic lab, which has a, a bunch of funding that secures it for the next five years and you can, you know, trying to make a model a model comparison is not really valid cause it’s too completely different situations.
Kenneth Vogt (11:36):
Exactly. And in some businesses they’re, you know, they’re their basic tenant. Isn’t a moral argument. Well, like for instance, let’s, let’s talk about, let’s mention the petroleum industry. A lot of people just hate the petroleum industry. But the fact is, is that petroleum is, was an absolutely critical component for the industrial revolution and everything that exists today. If it hadn’t been for petroleum, we wouldn’t have the science we have today. So it’s, don’t necessarily all leave, you know? I mean, can it be used wrong? Of course, can it, can it be tone deaf about certain things? Yes, it could be, but it doesn’t have to be. And by the way, that’s instructive too. When we see, when we see failings in other disciplines, there’s lessons there, you don’t have to learn in your discipline. You can, you can, you can take that lesson of a go. Wow. Let’s not go down that road.
Nick Oswald (12:36):
Kenneth Vogt (12:38):
Nick Oswald (12:39):
I’m looking at this list that you have here and it’s looking a bit daunting. We’ve start with some easy ones already.
Kenneth Vogt (12:44):
Well, I, well, I, I still wanna break down business a bit cause kind of a subset of business is finance. Now finance is something you’re certainly familiar with in the scientific the world cause man, you know, getting money to do what you do is, is a huge part of the job. Unfortunately I say unfortunately, but it’s just, but it is what it is, you know? And but how, how do, how do businesses finance themselves and how do they treat finance and how do they manage finance? You know, that that stuff is just as applicable to your operation. You know, you run a, you know, you may run or you may be part of an organization that has a financial structure to it. That is just as critical as any other business or any of the nonprofit or any school, you know? So it still has to be taken into consideration and you can’t say, well, you know, we’re above that.
Kenneth Vogt (13:43):
We don’t, we don’t mess with that. You can’t ignore it. It has to be part of what you do. And in having a scientific mind, it’s ma you may well find, you can do it as well or better than, than someone else. You know, you know, one of the things that that I do is when, you know, I do executive coaching for companies and I’ve worked with a variety of different kinds of companies. And often what’s the case is the person who comes to me for assistance is very good at what they do. I mean really good outstandingly, good at it, but they never run a business before. It’s a, so it’s a, it’s a new skillset for them. You know, it doesn’t mean it’s a skillset beyond their capability. It’s not, it’s not rocket science to run a business, but then again, it’s not kindergarten either, you know?
Kenneth Vogt (14:33):
So so it’s worth getting good at parts of business that are touching you. Now, this may not be true for everyone who’s listening right now. Maybe, you know, maybe you’re, you know, you’re in a new position in a lab, you don’t touch the financial part of this at all. It’s never, it’s not part of your world. Okay, that’s fine. But for many of you, it does touch you. And for many of you, if it isn’t touching you now it’s gonna touch you. So it’s not a bad idea to have some familiarity with these things. And it’s not hard to get knowledge of these on, on these, these topics, thank goodness for the internet. And you know, there, there’s so much free information, you know, that that can get you up to speed pretty quickly. So, so enough of the mundane stuff you’re familiar with, how about psychology?
Kenneth Vogt (15:26):
How would psychology be beneficial in science? And I think a lot of scientists would look at that and say, not it not beneficial. It is detrimental to get your head stuck in these willynilly notions. And you know, it’s some people you will even argue that psychology is barely a science itself that it’s too soft, but the fact is it’s had a big influence on, you know, modern society and certainly, well, our a at least Western society, but possibly not just Western society, there’s a, there’s a lot of call them important psychologists that, that come from the other side. And, and to my mind, there’s two types of psychology that one could could know about one that is professional psychology and popular psychology. You know, professional psychology is gonna be, you know, the people that are actually educated and degreed and, and we’re talking about deep thinkers that that are well known even to the public, you know, we’ve, we’ve all heard of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, you know, that they’ve been, I in that regard and what they’ve had to say is extremely influential and a lot of people have built on their work.
Kenneth Vogt (16:42):
And a lot of the work that they did will impact how you work. I mean, it talks about how you work. It talks about why you’re driven to do the work you do. It talks about why you have certain blind spots. And many of the episodes that we’ve done in the past are, are reminiscent to some of those concepts that, and, and many of you have commented about how it’s been helpful to you and useful to you. So won’t blow it off automatically. It’s it’s there. And if you, you know, if you took some psychology classes in the course of getting your education and that, that struck a chord with you, take a look at that again, through the lens of how will this help me in the lab? What is, what will this tell me about what my motivations are and what other people’s motivations around me are?
Kenneth Vogt (17:35):
Now, if we, we flip over to the pop psychology side and that term pop psychology, as opposed to popular psychology, it’s meant to be degrading. It’s like, ah, yeah, this is, this is phony. Psychology is the argument. But the fact is, is there’s a lot of sound foundational tools in pop, popular psychology that are useful, you know, and again, we’ve talked about some of those things in past episodes and, and their whole books written on just single concepts, you know, meant to be accessible, meant to be applicable in, in your life and in your world. Well, my, the argument I’m making now is, well, look, let’s make sure you apply them in the lab. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s like, you know, we’ve, we’ve done episodes on, on habits, for instance, that’s one, one thing that comes to mind here. Now we’ve probably talked about time, management too. You know, these are, these are part of that popular, psychological discussion out there that apply that, that actually matter.
Nick Oswald (18:39):
There’s a core psychology. Again, I, I, I probably talk about this every second episode, but there’s a, there’s a core psychology at the heart of science, which is non-attachment to the result. And, and, you know, you get that a bit of psychology wrong in yourself or in your lab where you’re chasing results. And certainly it’s not science anymore. So there’s how fundamental psychology is to science.
Kenneth Vogt (19:01):
There you go. All right. So, so the next area that I, I was thinking about was I, right, society has a lot of impact on what you could do in science. And, and I break the, the idea of society down into a couple different things, but the, the broad point of this is that that what is going on around us in our culture impacts our science. And we’ve seen cultural impacts on science being be horrifying in the past. And, you know, there’s been, you know, human experimentation and, and you know, people, people being, you know, science guinea pigs without even their knowledge and, you know, so, so some terrible things have happened based on lessons from society, but there are other things about society that are, that are very, very positive things that, that have been truly beneficial. And, and we don’t wanna miss those lessons.
Kenneth Vogt (20:06):
We wanna bring into science, you know, like just looking at society from the standpoint of history, you know, what can we learn from history? It’ll teach us about how to approach science. You know, science used to be say basically part of the church, you’re like, wow, science in church. Aren’t those things practically, practically natural enemies, like, well, no, not really. And there was a reason why that was there, you know, back in the day, the, the only people who were educated were, were the priests, you know, and I mean, you can go back way back. And that was that, that was literally the only education in society was, was the priesthood. So, and I’m not, by the way, I’m not arguing for that being the way it should be now, I’m just, but I am pointing out that there’s, there has been a connection there and don’t lose the benefit of connections of how, what historically science has meant in the past.
Kenneth Vogt (21:08):
It used to be that being a scientist, wasn’t a separate thing. You were, you were always also a scientist. You were never exclusively a scientist, but we’ve gotten pretty darn compartmentalized these days. And, and so there’s not as much caring with other areas of, of knowledge, for instance, other, other parts of society. So the opportunity is there. Now, another one I thought was interesting when we think about society is politics. And, and of course there’s been a lot of controversy around politics affecting scientific decisions lately, but there’s a lot of, of positive things about politics, too. Politics have driven how certain sciences developed, you know, think about the, think about landing on the moon for instance, oh, it’s also driven. Well, what’s important, like finding finding a vaccine for polio, you know, it, it became an all, all in feature and politics matter, cause politics added it added focus, it added conversation you know, in the population, it added possibilities of funding.
Kenneth Vogt (22:27):
You know, there was all kinds of all kinds of parts to this, you know? And so we wanna look to all, how can we at least make this be beneficial and, and too, you know, you can look at this from, yeah, how do we stop this from causing harm? Cause the, the fact is is that all the controversy about, about, you know, COVID science being politicized pointed out some weaknesses in science too, you know? So it it’s, it’s worth looking at and saying, okay, what do we learn from this? What, how can we make this better? And how do we fill the holes that were, were uncovered because it got too political, you know, so yeah, I’m not taking the side on, on this. I don’t even know what the sides are anymore, but but I can say that it’s pretty obvious that there’s been an impact and it, and it hurt the reputation of science to a certain degree. And among, you know, the general population started to have some doubts about science. Well, that’s, that’s something needs to be shored up.
Nick Oswald (23:31):
Yeah. I think that the one good thing here is that or, or one like how can I put this one kind of lesson here from, from the, the, the recent struggles with this is that science has driven I mean a lot, especially in biology, but all other areas of science as well, really you’re, you’re, you’re fundamentally for, for gaining knowledge, but also though the, the direction of that that effort is generally aimed, mostly aimed at being altruistic. You know, it’s almost aimed at solving problems for society to make quality of life better for everyone. And you, there was a, there was a, a very acute need for that during COVID for, you know, to solve a problem. And, you know, so there’s a play, there’s a play between society and politics, politics being the, ultimately the expression of what the people want, really.
Nick Oswald (24:31):
So people wanted a a cure for COVID or a, you know, something to at least blunt the effect of COVID to help us cope with COVID. And so that gets taken into into politics and, and then politics is a distortion for, for, you know, always gets distorted because they, you know, it’s about controlling narratives and stuff like that. However, the, the push did come from the people and science did respond. So the it’s almost like the, the lesson is that again, it’s about being a bit more detached. I think about it’s fine for politics to influence science, but the science has got to lead. The science is a very gentle, fragile instrument that you can cast out and find a direction. But as soon as you squash it with your own ambition or with, or your own bias or, or a political bias, or even a very strong public need, then, then the science becomes, you know, it gets overrun, it gets crushed. And and I, I think science had relatively well to stand up to that. And during COVID we still managed to get out something that was you know, coherent and did help in the end. But there are certainly lessons about for me, it’s a lot of it comes back to this stepping back and allowing signs to be sciences depending, regardless of the motivations that are, that are pushing it.
Kenneth Vogt (26:04):
Exactly. So, all right. Well, let, let me let you flip to another notion in society, you might not think of that could have lessons for, for the lab and that’s fiction in art, and let’s add music to that. Like, how would that be useful? Well, let me give you a, a simple example. There was a, there was a book written by somebody named Andy Weir called The Martian, and it was written just on a blog piece by piece. And people got really excited about it. And a lot of scientists got really excited about it, cause he was going out of his way to try to be as scientific as possible in what he wrote. Well, that turned into a movie with Matt Damon is the star and you know, and, and it was a, it was a fascinating book and that’s of course is creating or, you know, creating or has been part of the creation of this drive to go to Mars.
Kenneth Vogt (27:05):
You know, that’s a, that’s a, that’s a huge deal, you know, and, and so many different areas of science are impacted by that. Now it’s on top of that. I have to be reading another book by Andy Weir it’s called Hail Mary. That was, well, I won’t go into the whole story, but there’s a lot of biology in it. It’s a science fiction book. And you know, the, the Martian was renowned for being pretty, pretty scientifically accurate. And he, he went and he got a lot of a lot of help with that cuz the, the author himself was to not a scientist, but the, the main character in Hail Mary is a biologist, a biologist that was sent to outer space. So it’s, it’s pretty amazing. But the, but the, the, the point being is that it’s getting this into people’s heads and people are reading this and getting interested in the science and, and, you know, kids are reading this and getting interested in being scientist and, and it’s pointing to, to problems that may need to be solved. You know, we don’t, maybe we don’t have them today, but we’re going to have them. So, you know, fiction and art and music talk about problems or potential problems. And sometimes they’re just fantasies, but they’re fantasies that are, are, are credible fantasies. They, they could happen. And part of what science can do is to hit off problems. And so it’s, you know, it’s beautiful that there’s some that there are people out there positing these potential problems, cuz it just, it’s just creating something in the zeitgeist, something else for us to think.
Kenneth Vogt (28:49):
And then the, the last story, well
Nick Oswald (28:51):
The, well, what, what you take from that is, is, is imagination. Yeah. Is the fear of imagination in your own work as well. Right. You know, you, you cast out stuff you cast out ideas, wild ideas, and then suddenly you, it opens up your mind to to the possibilities.
Kenneth Vogt (29:10):
Right? And well, you know, truth is stranger than fiction too, as I bet you, many, many of you scientists can point out to that, you know, you you’ve had that experience where you’ve you’ve came across something go, wow, that’s just nuts. Nobody would believe this. If I didn’t have all this data to prove it, you know?
Nick Oswald (29:27):
Yeah. I, I mean, again, and I also go is back to the, the, the idea of allowing yourself to daydream, you know, like to just daydream about, you know, what are the, what are the possible directions here? What are the possible solutions? But the, I mean, as a scientist, you know, that lateral thinking and you know, things like that can, can really help you. And that’s just, you know, that is a, basically a facet of imagination. So yeah, I like that. That’s a, what can you learn from art? Imagine more, give yourself time to imagine don’t just get, get your head out of the, out of the, you know, the lab can and, and let your imagination run.
Kenneth Vogt (30:04):
Yeah. And, and if you, you know, so, you know, fiction and other fictional things can be a starter point for that. But those are all made up, but what about folk wisdom? You know, there, there are plenty of things out there that, that people have been operating on for a while and there’s something to it. And in many cases, it hasn’t been scientifically investigated. And of course, a lot of, lot of, lot of drugs have, have come out of that kind of investigation. You know, we have heart medications thanks to digitalis, you know cause somebody, somebody figured out a long time ago that, that plant had an impact on you. And you know, there are many plants that have impacts, you know, so, so much of our, so much of our medicine chest has been drawn from the rainforest, you know, because, and people have already figured this stuff out, you know, the ancient societies.
Kenneth Vogt (31:03):
And sometimes it’s, it’s not just about not just about medicine, it’s about about methods and approaches to life that have, you know, become, you know, colloquial sayings and things. Well, it’s worth looking at that and saying, well, how do I apply this? Or is there an application here for this? And, and I I’ve noticed that often in, in my consulting practice, I’ve, I’ve found that popular sayings or, you know, folk wisdom come in all the time. Cause you see their, here’s an, here’s a situation where it matters where it applies and that memory of that thing makes it an easy handle for somebody to grasp like, oh, I’ve heard that before, you know, “a stitch in time saves nine”, you know, why does that matter? Oh yeah. Oh yeah. If I, if I plan ahead, I do better. You know, if I, if I watch for mistakes in advance, I can hit ’em off.
Kenneth Vogt (32:06):
You know? So there’s plenty of opportunity there to make an application to how you operate your lab, how you operate your experiments, how you plan, how you structure things how you, how you implement safety protocols. I mean, there’s just, it goes deep and a lot of the stuff’s already built into you. We’ve all got up that cause you know, it just comes up from growing up in society and being in families, we have things we brought forward, but let’s use that, you know, that thing that grandma said, you know, maybe your grandma said it mine didn’t so if you don’t bring it to, if you don’t bring it to the lab, how’s it gonna get there? You know? So, you know, we have a certain obligation to take our life experience and bring it forward into the lab.
Kenneth Vogt (32:58):
So the, the last area was thinking about is philosophy. And I, and I know for a lot of folks that’s gonna be like, wow, that is like, anti-science, that is, that is the unprovable stuff. That is the stuff where the scientific method just there’s nowhere to use it. However, there are, there are parts of philosophy that are, are extremely important in science. And the first one that came to mind was ethics. You know, they’re, I mean, they’re now, now scientific ethicists, you know, where it’s, it’s a full discipline because there are things you can do in science. Now the argument is should you do them? And there are in times and things that were done that, that probably shouldn’t have been done or there are times when things should have been done. And there was a, a lack of will, there was a lack of drive to do it cause there was no scientific pressure to do it, but if there was ethical pressure to do something, then it would move full.
Kenneth Vogt (34:04):
So you, you don’t wanna leave ethics out. And I, I think, you know, for the most part you don’t, you probably don’t wanna leave them out. I mean there are cases obviously where ethics could get in the way. And like I think about there’s a situation where somebody had got a hold of CRISPR and thought we can edit out the genes for, or this, this couple that would lead, could lead to their child having asthma. And, and that experiment actually got done. And you know, there was actually a genetically modified baby as a result. And you look at that and go, well, that’s about a innocuous as it could be, but it does open up questions. And there are questions that ought to be asked because is there a line well, well, first off we need to know, is there a line?
Kenneth Vogt (34:54):
And second of all, then we need to know, well, if there is a line, where is that line? So, you know, ethics do matter in, in science and you might think, well, I just do basic research. I don’t think that’s gonna touch me. But yeah, it’s, it’s it it’s surprising how often it does matter how often it will show up. And the issue is, you know, how far in advance will we think about it? We think, well maybe there’s nothing wrong with this particular science, but if it’s only application it’s for something that we don’t want to touch, you know, well, you know, that that’s something to think about. And then the final area I, I wanna mention, I kind of mentioned this before, but religion like, oh, religion and science, they don’t have anything to do with each other with, or even they’re even at odds. In some cases, you know, some people have made it at odds, but that’s the fact is, is that religion and science have a long story history together and they have driven each other.
Nick Oswald (35:58):
Well, they’re both about the same thing.
Kenneth Vogt (36:00):
Nick Oswald (36:01):
What the hell is this all about? And how does it work?
Kenneth Vogt (36:05):
And, and two, you know, one answers questions that others, the other cane answer, you know, people look at at, at holy books, well, they’re not science books. They’re not meant to be science books and they’re full of still and allegory and, and some people have sometimes taken an issue with that. Well, this, this allegory isn’t scientifically accurate. Well, it’s an allegory, cut it. Some slack,
Nick Oswald (36:28):
You look at what those things are and it’s people’s attempt. And what, what, whether you think they are valid attempts or not, people’s attempts through the ages to capture something about what the hell this is. Right. You know, and
Kenneth Vogt (36:44):
They have the limitations of the times too. Exactly.
Nick Oswald (36:46):
Kenneth Vogt (36:47):
So when you didn’t have a telescope and you’d never been outer space, there’s certain things you can’t see, but you know, the other side of it is, is religion is a about wonder in awe. And that wonder in awe has that is how science came to be. People were looking for a way to answer that. And science was born.
Nick Oswald (37:13):
It’s funny because a lot of scientists that I know use the, this, what we know about science to squash the wonder and awe, and whether you believe, whether you believe in, in, you know, a, a, you know, a, a higher being or, or however you want to talk about the fact is that this is weird. You know, I mean this whole thing. It’s like, why, why, how did this happen? You know? Sure. And, and why is it here? And even if, you know, you go with the, the extreme kind of you know, a thousand monkeys with a typewriter would eventually create you know, whatever the works of Shakespeare or whatever it is. Even if you go with that, it’s still pretty remarkable. That, you know, that how the, the series of events that led to that, you know, so you can still be an a that.
Kenneth Vogt (38:05):
Yeah. And by the way I’ll use scientists out there. There’s a good experiment. Go get your thousand monkeys. Let’s see if you can do that,
Nick Oswald (38:13):
Oh, you need a billion years or a few billion years or whatever, but I don’t know how he, how he frames it, but Dawkins does it like that, doesn’t he? But the, yeah, I, I think that the lesson you can take from it is to just have a, it is a bit like the opening up and have an imagination. It’s like, be it amazed, look at your watching cell division happening in a microscope, be amazed at the, what, what that is amazing, that is mind blowing. And if you minimize how mind blowing that is, you’re missing out.
Kenneth Vogt (38:43):
Exactly. So, so all, all this being said, look at all these areas that could be instructive to how science can be done. And, and I’m not saying this is an exhaustive list. You may have other things. I, I just, a few other things came to mind like, like sports or or television, you know, the internet, you know, what, what other, what other things are out there that have figured some that, where they figured some things out, and we could take those lessons, apply that in the lab and apply that in scientific research, in in, in the scientific community, there’s lots and lots of opportunities. So don’t cut yourself off. Don’t, don’t get all proud that, well, my area of life is the one that is most important and most matters, and it most effective and efficient cause you know, probably there are other areas of life that have a few bright spots. So, so bring ’em in
Nick Oswald (39:49):
That is a very useful perspective on perspectives. Well, thank you, Ken. So just to the, the, are you gonna include the book? The,
Nick Oswald (40:10):
Oh, the Martian is an incredible book. Yeah. I’m going, I, I haven’t read Hail Mary, so I’m gonna do that. So that’s why I was asking if you would put it in so I can do. Yeah. Right. So so you, you will find references to those or links out to those books. That Ken mentioned in the, on the our website, Bitesizebio.com/thehappyscientist, this being episode 52. Yes. 52. And you, you, so those will be in the show notes, the same place you can in that same place, you can find all of the previous episodes, including one to nine episodes, one to nine, the famous foundational principles from Mr. Miyagi himself. And
Kenneth Vogt (40:56):
Especially four to six. We talked about those today.
Nick Oswald (40:59):
Yeah. We in four to six, we talked about today when we talked about the blue orange things, which is that, ah, that’s an incredible it’s, it’s just a lens on the world, but it’s a really useful one. Anyway, so I would recommend you go back and, and take a look at those if you, or have a listen to those, if you haven’t already, and you can also join us at facebook.com/thehappyscientistclub all one word and ask us questions, say hello, and get additional content in there. We’d love to see you in there. So thank you Ken for another another great episode and thank you to all thank you to you for listening in, and we hope to see you on the next episode of The Happy Scientist.
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