Development of Knowledge 2016- Flacks
About this class
This course is designed to introduce students to the elements of critical thinking and the development of the field of cognitive science. Special attention will be given to language, animal cognition and artificial intelligence as each relates to descriptions of the mind.
In the first part of the course, we will study critical thinking and epistemology to assess what qualifies as “knowledge”. A critical reading of James Trefil’s Are We Unique? will then introduce students to a variety of disciplines relevant to the study of cognitive science including philosophy, linguistics, animal studies, neuroscience, anthropology, and psychology.
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I was really curious when I read your title and you increased my curiosity once I read your commentary about the article. Actually, this one didn’t disappoint me. I thought your comments were really completed and precise, which led me to the point that I wanted to know more about the Zika virus. I firstly thought that its situation was really ironic. Then I understood that it was attacking cells, and so for the virus it does not make any difference; the consequences about which cell it attacks only make a difference for us.
Therefore, I like the article that you are proposing, because it made me learn something new. Also, I found it very relevant to me, since I know many people that have or had cancer. Hence, I think that you had a good idea to share the article, because it touches a large amount of people. I think it is an effective way to give hope to those who need it.
By staying in the same subject, I found some articles that may interest you. The first one also comes from the New Scientist journal, but it has been published after your article. To make a short summary, it talks about a specific patient who has a chronic pancreatitis- an inflammation of the pancreas-, which is a factor risk of cancer. This type of disease causes a lot of suffering for the patients. We also know that the cancerous tumors spread out into the body by using our nerves. Including to that, our nerves make the tumor maturing. This process is well explained in the article. Thus, they found a way to stop the suffering and the growth of the tumor by "cutting" the nerves already touched. The effect is a longer and painless life for the patient.
The second article has been published by the Scientific American journal recently. It is about the recent approval of the FDA – Food and Drugs Administration – a new treatment against cancer. The treatment consists to displace the white blood cells to the tumors. The article informs us about the process, but also on all the pros and cons. What I also find interesting is that we can get inform about the folder of the treatment (the cost, when it is going to be available, etc.). I think it is great to stay aware of that type of information, since cancer is a disease that takes a lot of place in our society.
Hope you’ll enjoy!
I was very interested by your article. The discoveries the scientific community can make by observing other organisms, such as butterflies, could revolutionize science and the medical world.
Your commentary was useful and gave me the desire to read not only the article mentioned in your post, but also more about the subject. Reading about gene programmation in butterflies that influence the colour of their wings instantly made me wonder of a world where parents “program” their babies in order to reduce their risks of disease and even, perhaps, their physical appearance.
However, this thought process unconditionally raises a big ethical question. Would it be ethical to modify human genes, as we do with much of the food we consume? I did some research in order to learn more about the risks of genetical editing.
First, I got informed about the technique mentioned in your article, called CRISPR, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic repeats. This technique uses the process of DNA reparation in cells to add-in or remove specific genes. Using CRISPR is not only simple and efficient, but also inexpensive. It is accessible to practically any laboratory in the scientific world. Researchers have the goal to use this relatively new technology to modify genes in embryos in order to cure diseases and modify mutations. To read more about the subject, I recommend this article, from SAGE:
As one may presume, genome editing in embryos causes a lot of ethical debate. Until recently, only unviable embryos could be “genetically edited” for scientific research. However, in July 2017, the first viable embryos’ genome was edited, in Oregon, using CRISPR. This was done effectively, and few mistakes were made. However, once again, this created big ethical discussions worldwide. Many people are scared of what are called “designer babies,” referring to a world where parents would “design” their babies by modifying their genes until they become “perfect” to their eye. However, genetically edited embryos are not yet transplanted in placenta, and do not develop into grown humans. Many changes in regulations and laws must be done before this can happen. To read more about the subject, you could read this article from Business Insider, which describes the first genetically modified embryos and the risks behind genome editing: http://www.businessinsider.com/scientists-edit-dna-human-embryos-crispr-...
All in all, I really enjoyed reading your article. Although it only discusses the colour of butterflies’ wings, it links to a much bigger issue. The small discovery of a gene that dictates the colour and design of butterfly wings could have big impacts on the research on gene editing. Thank you for your article!
In countries like the US, it seems like obesity is a common problem. While technology has allowed an easier way of life, a casualty would be on the health. Plus, because of schools, jobs, and families, people tend to do very little to no exercise thus, increasing the chances of gaining weight. Myself included. An article by Howard (2017) included a statement that exclaims that more than 30% of american adults are obese. The article also includes some of the possible problems. For example, obesity can cause diabetes, joint problems, etc. SNAP is not the only thing that is doing things to prevent obesity. Many of us, as children to adults, has a tendency to eat junk food and we tend to go to a store expecting to buy them. Of course, many of us are also way too lazy to do any kind of exercise. Which is why many scientists are trying to develop treatments for obesity. Some of them are a bit gruesome, but do note that they are in their preliminary phases. All in all, the article shows the severity of the current problem because of our tendencies with exercise.
Howard, B. (2017). The LATEST WORD on WEIGHT LOSS. Prevention, Vol. 69 (Issue 11), p.39. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Even though many aspects in a first world country would make it believe to be peaceful, it is surprising that crime rates can continue to increase in those countries. While it is surprising to see that conflicts on social media seems to be there as many would not act beyond the scope of the internet, as it is a way to hurt others without repercussions and some even put in effort and enjoys doing it. In addition, it is true that in the year 2016 there has been an increase of crime compared to the previous year (Reilly, 2016). Plus, another article seems to also accept the fact that. in 2015, there was a slight increase in the crime rates (MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN?, Nov. 2016)
Reilly, K. (2016). Violent Crime Rising in U.S. Cities Compared to 2015, Study Finds. Time, p.1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN?. (2016). Reason, vol. 48 (Issue 6), p.8. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
I think that you are all right, everyone can speak or be defended equally. It is not because a tragedy happened around a specific religion that all religions should be consider differently. Our system has always been based on equality. However, I do agree with the fact that their possible illegal actions are not respectful and can send a message who is questionable. In fact, our country is supposed to be open and should be able to listen to everyone's justification.
This subject which unfortunately monopolizes a large majority of young women in South Asia denounces an enormous inequality in men and women in this corner of the world. Being a faithful feminist, I must be appalled by this problem. These girls are forced to have early behavior for their age. Indeed, they become wives and mothers at a very young age which obviously reduces their educational opportunities and have a job. The poverty of some place like India is a very influential factor in this social problem. For example, India is a victim of an highly social segregation, which means that there is an important gap between the rich and the poor. Girls who come from more disadvantaged families are more likely to be married younger than girls from richer backgrounds. South Asia is composed of several countries whose traditional values are very exploited, man being often the master of the house, which results very much from abut control of feminine sexuality and physical violence. Several families in this region of the world that the education of these girls is negligible for economic reasons. There are also social norms that value boys more than girls, which is why some parents do not fund their daughters' health and access to education, believing that marrying these girls is the only way opportunity. I find that this subject must continue to be denounced in order to improve the justice of our world.
Very interesting topic! What drew me to your post was the name, “From Indians to Redskins: is it time to stop using Native American names in sports?” Since I’m not a sports fan I had never really thought or even knew that there were sport team named and mascots that were “Native American themed” (for lack of a better word), but I’m glad that it has been brought to my attention. Appropriating and disrespecting Native American culture in North America has been a problem for some time, and it doesn’t just stop at sports names. Since Halloween just passed, I’m sure you saw all the costumes that were appropriating and sexualizing Native American culture, which is equally as disrespectful as having a sports team called “Redskins”. All of these things help keep the Native American stereotypes alive, which we have been discussing in my class. In my class, we talked about Disney movies, and how some of them perpetuate stereotypes. For example, in Aladdin, the opening line to the first song is “Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face, it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.” Racism in pop culture (as well as sports culture) is detrimental to a society because it desensitizes people to it, and makes people think it’s okay. In your post you say, “Another reason this issue seems to get overlooked or dismissed is that sometimes these teams get backing from certain tribes because unlike the Redskins, they use specific tribe names that would not really be considered racist.” It’s this kind of implicit racism that gets overlooked, and almost gives people “permission” to behave this way because it’s “not that bad”. Since there are over 2,000 sports teams in America with Native American themed names, it will take some time to change the way our society perceives what is and isn’t racist, or at the very least, what is just plain disrespectful.
Hi! I had never heard about this protein before reading your post and I found this really interesting. I think that this could potential help in the medical field. The only thing that is making me have a doubt about this research is the size of the group of rats that were put to this scenario. It makes a difference whether 10 mice or 100 of them were tested, because if for example 500 of them were placed under social stress and that most of them, but not all had an increase in SIRT1 protein, hasty generalization might have even taken place. I believe that the size is not mentioned either in the original article, so it is not because you emitted this information. I might have misunderstood and would be happy for you to correct if I did. Apart from that, I loved reading about his topic and you worded and explained everything very well.
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