Month: February 2019

Blog 9

Comparison: Pinker and Lehrer

The view on the word reductionism is widely disputed because of its derogatory meaning.  Jonah Lehrer, an American author, said, “…the logic of reductionism implies that our self-consciousness is really an elaborate illusion, an epiphenomenon generated by some electrical shudder in the frontal cortex. There is not ghost in the machine; there is only the vibration of the machinery” (3). Reductionism, in Lehrer’s view, is only looking at the pieces of a concept or idea and never the whole picture. The real truth can be lost because the whole picture is not being addressed. However, Steven Pinker, an American cognitive psychologist, disputes the use of reductionism to describe how scientists explain concepts. In his article, “Science Is Not Your Enemy”, he states, ” demonizers of scientism often confuse intelligibility with a sin called reductionism. But to explain a complex happening in terms of deeper principles is not to discard its richness” (4).  In order to explain complex ideas from the science world it is imperative to know the basics and all the parts that make a system work. This can help everyday people understand foreign ideas because they know how the parts work together in order to make the whole.  Therefore, the opinion on the word reductionism depends on the person you speak to. One may use it in a negative way to show that the bigger picture is lost or it can be use to create a better understand of a difficult concept.


Comparison: Pinker and Self-to-text

Science is used to explain and discover new ideas about our world.  Ideas of science and religion have come into contact and there is a discrepancy between them. Each have their own beliefs on how the world came about and what our purpose is within it but some believe this a boundary that science should not cross into. Steven Pinker, an American cognitive psychologist stated, “Though everyone endorses science when it can cure disease, monitor the environment,  or bash political opponents, the intrusion of science into the territories of the humanities has been deeply resented. Just as reviled is the application of scientific reasoning to religion: many writers without a trace of a belief in God maintain that there is something unseemly about scientists weighing in on the biggest questions” (pg.2). The biggest questions in our society include who we are , where we came from, and what is the purpose of us being here. When science attempts to answer one of these questions, for example, proposing the Big Bang Theory as a way to explain how the Universe was created, is seen as overstepping its boundaries in the eyes of religion. Most religious individuals believe there is only one way we became a Universe and that is by God. If science attempts to step into this world people of religion turn their back on the idea of another possibility on the origin of life. A friend of mine has some religious roots within her family and the conversation of how life began was a topic of conversation. Anytime I would attempt to bring up a theory of science about how this world came to be, she would dispute and couldn’t wrap her head around the idea that something, other than God, could have created this world. Science should be accepted by all as a way to explain our world’s biggest questions and it should not be shunned against based on the sole reason of it being different than our own personal opinions.



Blog 8

Jonah Lehrer’s goal was to try and persuade the heavy science thinkers of the world to believe in the importance of art with science and discovery. He uses examples with famous scientists or painters who used  both methods in order to create master pieces or discover a new way of viewing a complex idea. Metaphors are a type of language, which is also a kind of art, which can be used to explain complex ideas to the general public. This is useful because not everyone in society has the background knowledge that a scientist would so concepts need to be explained using metaphors so the audience can relate it and understand the concept properly.

I was able to understand the examples Lehrer used and what the specific scientist or artist did in order to achieve their goal. However, I found some parts of his article confusing and I wasn’t able to wrap my head around how art would help in some situations. He mentions how it is better to understand concepts if they are broken down into smaller pieces in order to understand the fundamentals and then try to look at the bigger picture. He says this will help science deeply understand these concepts. But where does art fit in? How does art allow us to break down scientific theories or new ideas to understand them better? I’m not sure where art can help in this situation and Lehrer does not clearly explain what art can do to better our understanding. He mentions the artist Monet and said that his paintings appealed to use because he “had a practical understanding of color perception.” However, how does this crossover into the science world and how does art allow us to look at the fundamentals first?


  • Reductionism: explaining a complex phenomenon by using the fundamental or most simple phenomenon within the bigger phenomenon
  • Epiphenomenon: secondary effect/byproduct arising from a particular process
  • Holistic perspective: alternative approach to a situation that involves the whole issue at hand not just one part (such as in medicine, look at the person as a whole not just the specific illness)


Blog 7

My annotation skills have been progressing. I feel as if I am making more connections to myself and other areas rather than mostly summarizing the text. 

This story was originally published on the World-Post, which is an online blog in January of 2014. Yo-Yo Ma’s credentials were greatly displayed in the biography about the author. His awards and accolades were mentioned in order to inform the reader about how he was more than qualified to discuss the topic at hand.

The reason for me reading this text is to understand why art is so important in our society today. Yo-Yo Ma was trying to convince the audience that art should be integrated into school systems more than it is currently. Art has many aspects that can help any individual in their life as a whole and make them a more well-rounded person.

The use of art can teach balanced thinking, empathy, and creativity which is useful in any future career.  By putting art into a curriculum (STEAM instead of STEM) a student is more likely to learn different skills than if they solely focused on the “reasoning” portion of a problem rather than how it makes them or others feel. Yo-Yo Ma also mentions how it may help kids want to go to school because they can express themselves and think creatively. So, they are more likely to want to go to school and will not view it as a “requirement”.


  1. Tandem: Tandem means together. It is easy to think of a tandem bike because the seats are together on the bike working together as well.
  2. Bolster: support or strengthen. Bolster reminds me of a booster seat, because they sound the same, which supports a child in a car.
  3. Lewd: offensive
  4. Lascivious: offensive sexual desire

Blog 6

As I read Lamott’s piece on first drafts, I found myself really connecting with her process of writing. I usually start out with thinking my first draft is going to be amazing and I can’t fix anything because it should be perfect. I start writing and hate everything I write, backspace, and start again. I finally realize it is just a free draft and is not the end of the world if it is not written perfection. I basically “word-vomit” onto the page and then once I’ve finished a section or even the whole essay, I go back and read what I have and pick and choose what I want to keep or get rid of.  Overall, I know my first draft isn’t the greatest piece of writing and I still really dislike some things I have but it’s always good to have a starting point.


Revision Plan Strategy:

The overall strategy I have in mind for my free draft, is to make the content of my paper easier to understand by clarifying concepts, using better examples, or even doing general explanations of key concepts.

The steps I intend to use are:

  • write a paragraph under the introduction about how often military metaphors are used in the medical field
    • how they may be hard to notice but they have an impact
  • create a counter argument paragraph to show the positives of using these metaphors (how other people can interpret them)
  • figure out where I want to use the “dandelion and orchid” example since I used it twice
    • probably will take it out in the first body paragraph explaining interpretation
    • find another example to use there
  • clarify any portions of texts that are confusing to read through/hard for audience to follow
    • condense run on sentences
  • look for grammar mistakes and any other sentences missed the first time
    • read out loud

With these steps, I believe my paper will significantly improve because it will become easier to follow as an audience and the argument will more clear and give both sides as opposed to just one.

Blog 5

After peer reviewing my classmates pictures, I had a better understanding of the importance of global editing first before local edits. Global edits are more beneficial because they allow the writer to look at their paper as a whole and make adjustments to make the structure and organization better. If local edits were made in this initial writing stage, the writer would be spending too much time on parts they may not even keep. I believe doing global edits first will help make the paper the best it can be and then polishing with local edits will make it complete.  I feel like now I would prefer to have global edits to my paper made first rather than local so I can focus on the bigger picture of my paper and make it so my audience can understand what point I am trying to get across.

However, I still found myself wanting to make grammatical comments or changes to the papers because they stood out so much to me. Sometimes I would have a sentence that didn’t make sense when I read it through but I knew the writers shouldn’t focus on those aspects of their papers right now. A lot of the grammar mistakes were capital letters in places they shouldn’t be or citation mistakes which can all be fixed and adjusted in the final proof read of the paper rather in the preliminary edits.

Blog 4

Draft 1:

About 1,735,350 new cases of cancer arise every year (Cancer Statistics). Many of these individuals may hear the phrases “we can fight this” or “cancer is a battle.” These are metaphors that connect to the military and they can negatively impact the physical and mental well being of any sick individual, not just cancer patients, and because of this everyone, including medical professionals, should look at possible alternatives to these kinds of metaphors. Anybody in this world has dealt with an illness either of themselves or a loved one and the metaphors that professionals or even families use can impact how they view their illness. To view a illness as a battle or war can lead a person to believe that to deal with this illness it is going to be a violent time in their life and war has endless amounts of outcomes and this can frighten a patient because they do not know their own outcome so they could assume the worst. This can set a patient up for failure as they are about to take this journey into recovery. This interpretation should be very important for doctors and family to understand and know so they can accommodate for the patient’s feelings and restrict themselves from using similar metaphors. Metaphors can also be created by an individual in order to make an audience perceive it a certain way but that is not always accomplished and the different ideas of what the metaphor means can have a negative effect on the audience. Lastly, if one of these metaphors is said to an individual with an illness and their emotional state is not the best, their emotional response can greatly impact their health as well.


Draft 2:

About 1,735,350 new cases of cancer arise every year (Cancer Statistics). Many of these individuals may hear the phrases “you are a fighter and you can beat this” or “cancer is a battle.” These are metaphors that make a connection with the military and they can negatively impact the physical and mental well being of any sick individual, not just cancer patients. In fact, everyone in society, including medical professionals, should look at possible alternatives to these kinds of metaphors when they are speaking to someone who is ill. Anybody who is asked if they have been sick before or had a loved one who was seriously ill or even just had the common cold would say yes. So, they can relate to either having been the one to use one of these metaphors with a loved one or have personally been told one of them before. These metaphors can impact how patients view their illness and what their personal outcome may be. Therefore, military metaphors that are used with individuals who are ill, should be cautioned against because of the varying interpretations of these kinds of metaphors, the emotional responses individuals have towards the metaphors, and the way the metaphors are created can create expectations that can negatively impact a patient in treatment.

© 2023 Nicole's Site

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑